Delhi High Court In Review
Delhi High Court In Review
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The Delhi High Court in Review: January, 2020 [Part II]

Amit George

With its vast and varied case-docket, the High Court of Delhi has occasion to pronounce verdicts on diverse subjects and myriad areas of law. This two-part monthly column attempts to offer a brief over-view of the important pronouncements of the High Court of Delhi over the period of the relevant month in review. While an attempt has been made to ensure the widest possible coverage of the various judgments rendered, comprehensive analysis and critique of the individual judgments is eschewed for the sake of brevity.

In continuation of the judgments discussed in Part I of the column, below are the further judgments from the Delhi High Court for the month of January, segregated as per practice areas.

Intellectual Property Rights

In Fox Star Studios (Division of Star India Private Limited) v. Aparna Bhat [1], the Court held that when a person had admittedly contributed to the script of a film by providing relevant expert inputs, then he/she had an inherent right to be acknowledged for the same and an interim mandatory injunction directing the carrying of such an acknowledgment is justified inasmuch as mere damages would not be an adequate substitute for the same.

In Amazon Seller Service Private Limited v. Amway India Enterprises Private Limited [2], while observing that the Direct Selling Guidelines (‘DSG’) are recommendatory in nature and do not amount to enforceable law, the Court reiterated that once the goods in question had been lawfully acquired through purchase in the marketplace, the further sale of the said goods in the market would not amount to infringement of the proprietor’s trademark.

In Sun Pharma Laboratories Limited v. INTAS Pharmaceuticals Limited, [3] while rejecting a case of deceptive similarity between two pharmaceutical products, the Court observed that the fact that the drugs in question could not be self-administered by patients and could only be administered under the supervision of a super-specialist medical professionals would obviate the possibility of confusion or deception.

In Imagine Marketing Private Limited. v. Exotic Mile [4], the Court held that once a clear case of dishonest adaption of the mark, logo and tagline had been established then the mere fact that the offending party had been engaging in the said act for a reasonable amount of time or had spent huge amounts in advertising and marketing would not tilt the balance of convenience in its favor. The Court further reiterated that inasmuch as the offending party was the owner of the deceptively similar registered trademark, no action for the infringement would lie qua the same. However, an action for infringement of copyright and dilution of the mark would still sustain and entitle the plaintiff to an injunction.

In Astrazeneca AB v. Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited [5], the Court observed that when a pharmaceutical product was demonstrated to have enhanced efficacy in the form of higher potency, metabolic stability and demonstrated bio-availability then it would not amount to a mere ‘product medicine’ or run afoul of section 3(d) of the Patents Act, 1970 (‘Patents Act’), and consequently be entitled to grant of a patent.

While rejecting an application filed under Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’), praying for stay of the suit seeking permanent injunction against infringement of a patent during the pendency of an earlier suit filed in a different state wherein generic declarations were sought regarding the justifiability of manufacture of the pharmaceutical product by the defendant, the Court in Bristol-Myers Squibb Holdings Ireland Unlimited Company v. NATCO Pharma [6], held that inasmuch as the Patents Act was a complete code in itself and therefore the Court competent to decide the specific areas of controversy as regards the dispute between the parties would be the Court hearing the infringement suit and not the Court adjudicating on the declaratory suit.

In Giant Rocket Media & Entertainment Private Limited. v. Priyanka Ghatak [7], the Court expressed the prima-facie view that an investigating officer dealing with a particular crime and its prosecution has no copyright in the charge sheet filed and / or the investigation undertaken, and if he/she were to reproduce the contents thereof at a subsequent point and time in print or other media, no copyright could be claimed.

While rejecting an application seeking return of the plaint on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction, the Court in Lyft, Inc. v. Goer Techno Infra Private Limited [8], reiterated that in a quia timet action, against apprehended infringement of a trademark, the jurisdiction of the Court could be attracted in the case of a strong and credible apprehension that the defendant will soon seek to carry on the infringing activity within the jurisdiction of the Court.

After exhaustive review of the applicable principles, the Court in Bristol Myer Squibb Holding Ireland Unlimited Company v. BDR Pharmaceuticals International Private Limited [9], distilled the basic principles to test whether prior art makes an invention obvious and surmised that where the art in question demonstrates a concept of teaching away from the inventive step, the said prior art document cannot be used to demonstrate that the invention is obvious and thus not liable to be patented.

While rejecting a challenge to a notification prohibiting manufacture of a fixed-dose-combination (‘FDC’) drug, the Court in Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited v. Drugs Controller General of India [10], held that merely because the two constituent drugs of the relevant FDC were otherwise approved or that the same also formed part of other approved FDCs, would not be a justification for permitting the prohibited FDC in view of the failure of the Petitioner to be able to otherwise demonstrate its therapeutic justification, efficacy and safety.

Labour and Service

In National Highways Authority of India v. National Commission for Women [11], the Court reiterated that even a contractual employee would be entitled to the benefits of the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961.

In V2 Retail Limited v. Vijay Singh [12], the Court held that a pure finding of fact by the Labour Court to the effect that a resignation of a workman was not voluntary in nature, could not be sought to be reagitated in writ proceedings.

In University of Delhi v. G. P. Mittal [13], the Court held that when an employee had not been allowed to discharge his duties despite the willingness to do so and admitted absence of any pending disciplinary enquiry or action against him on account of a vague plea that appropriate orders from the competent authority where awaited after he returned from unauthorized absence, the wages for the said period when he was not allowed to discharge duties could not be withheld.

In Naresh Kumar v. Presiding Officer Labour Court [14], the Court observed that keeping in view of the underpinnings of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (‘ID Act’) which were primarily geared towards empowering the workmen, the Court should be sympathetic while considering the case of a workman who claimed that his non-appearance before the Labour Court resulting in summary dismissal of his claim was not deliberate in nature.

In New Delhi Municipal Council v. Vijay Kumar Sharma [15], the Court held that merely because the workmen in question was agitating for regularisation in a higher post and which request was declined, it could not be said that he/she could not be granted regularisation on a lower post to which he she was otherwise entitled.

In D.T.C. v. Samay Singh Ex. Conductor [16], the Court observed that when upon given an independent opportunity to lead evidence to prove the misconduct of a workman, notwithstanding the inquiry report having been found to be perverse by the Labour Court, the mere examination of the inquiry officer without any other corroborating evidence would be insufficient to prove the factum of misconduct.

In D.T.C. v. Krishna Bahal [17], the Court observed that when an employee’s misconduct is not proved, then there was no question of the employee’s past negligence being utilized to hold him/her guilty, or for the imposition of any punishment.

In Central Secretariat Club v. Employees State Insurance Corporation [18], the Court held that a question as to whether a particular entity fell within the ambit of the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 (‘ESI Act’) is a matter which is required to be decided on the merits after the leading of evidence by the parties.

In Dr. Sangita v. Priyanka Bansal [19], the Court observed that once a candidate had appeared for a second recruitment examination after not having challenged a cancellation of the earlier examination, he/she could not subsequently be heard to challenge the very basis of the conduct of the second recruitment examination.

In Rajnish Sharma v. Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board [20], the Court reiterated that it would not be permissible in the exercise of judicial review to attempt to second-guess the educational qualifications prescribed for a post by a competent authority.

In Divisional Railway Manager East Coast Railway v. Hirdesh Kumar [21] the Court held that in a case where the disciplinary authority merely rubber-stamped the comments of the vigilance department on the inquiry officer’s report to come to a final conclusion, then the same would be liable to be set aside for total non-application of mind.

In Shiksha Dagar v. Union of India [22], the Court reiterated that non-exhaustion of administrative remedies before approaching the Central Administrative Tribunal (‘CAT’) would not result in ipso-facto rejection of the application and that the requirement under Section 20 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 can be given a go-by, particularly where there is grave urgency for approaching the CAT.

In Delhi Subordinate Services v. Surender Pal [23], the Court observed that in conducting a public examination process for the purpose of recruitment, it is not feasible to reschedule or postpone the examination on the ground of personal difficulties of the candidates such as bereavement in a family, illness etc. even though the grounds may be genuine, inasmuch as such as course of action would lead to complete chaos and compromise the process of recruitment itself.

In Raja Ram v. Union of India [24], the Court reiterated that denial of compassionate allowance could only be permitted in cases which fell in the extreme category of removal of service on account of acts of moral turpitude or dishonesty towards the employer, and that the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in Mohinder Dutt Sharma v. Union of India [25], would have to be followed.

In Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited v. Union of India [26], the Court upheld a condition introduced in the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 and held that the same was not ultra vires of the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 inasmuch as it only sought to further effectuate the mandate of Section 17 of the 1952 Act which provides for exemption to an establishment only if its own provident fund rules are not less favourable than what is available under the Act. The condition in question withdrew exemption from establishments which had reported losses for three consecutive financial years.

In Indian Oil Corporation .v Shivam Pandey [27], the Court held that once an employee had been inducted into service upon him/her having been successfully cleared the requisite medical examination pertaining to eye-sight, he/she could not thereafter be arbitrarily dismissed from service upon the employer purportedly detecting a reduction in the eyesight, and the employer would have to follow and adhere to the applicable rules and regulations, including issuance of show-cause and conducting of a formal inquiry, while taking any action against the employee. The Court further observed that in the case of Public Sector Undertakings, it was permissible to apply the doctrine of pari-materia to determine whether the requirements sought to be imposed on a particular employee were unreasonably onerous as compared to requirements existing in other Public Sector Undertakings.

In Renuka Sharma v. The Senior Divisional Manager, LIC of India [28], when the misconduct of a dismissed employee was otherwise clearly demonstrated, then the said employee could not stake any claim on the basis of negative equality by attempting to establish that others had been given a comparatively lenient treatment, without categorically demonstrating the complete equivalence in position.

In Management of Birla Textiles v. Ram Sawroop [29], the Court reiterated that there is no bar in law to an application under Section 33(2)(b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 as well as the proceedings pertaining to the industrial dispute raised by the workmen against the termination being decided simultaneously, and it was not mandatory that the latter proceeding should be decided first.

In Sonu Kumar, BPM v. Union of India [30], the Court observed that when the applicable rules specifically provided for an opportunity of being heard before any punitive action was taken, then the said requirement could not be brushed aside on the ground that there could be no possible response to the allegations.

In Jagdish Chander v. Delhi Transport Corporation [31], the Court reiterated that in case of wrongful termination of service, the normal rule is that reinstatement should be ordered with continuity of service and back wages.

In Union of India through General Manager v. Rohit Chand [32], the Court held that in matters of compassionate appointment, there could be no discrimination between the children born from of the first marriage, and those born from the second marriage.

In Union of India v Jagbiri Devi [33], the Court reiterated that once an employee had rendered services for a long period stretching into decades, then he/she could not be denied the pensionary benefits on the sole ground that the employment was of a quasi-permanent nature.

In Sanjeet Singh v. Union of India [34], the Court observed that even though it would not interfere with a specialized function like the fixation of pay scales, it could always exercise jurisdiction to remove typographical errors and incorrect nomenclature employed by a Pay Commission which would result in deprivation of legitimately entitled dues to otherwise deserving employees.

In Union of India v. P.C. Mishra [35], the Court observed that a fresh order merely replacing an erstwhile order for withholding of monthly pension and forfeiture of gratuity would not vest a right in the employee concerned to mount a fresh challenge thereagainst, once the challenge to the original order had admittedly been rejected and attained finality.

In Santosh v. Union of India [36], the Court held that an application for correction of the date of birth of an employee is not liable to be invariably rejected in all cases and that if the error in the date as originally mentioned is demonstrated to be bona-fide and inadvertent in nature, then a request for correction that is made well before the date of superannuation would be a relevant factor for permitting such a correction.

In Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi v. Indian Council of Agricultural Research [37], the Court observed that the requirement under the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 of getting advice from the Central Vigilance Commission at two stages i.e. before the issuance of charge-sheet, as also after inquiry but before imposition of penalty, is mandatory in nature and failure to follow the same would result in vitiation of the penalty.

In Seema Koshal Bhatnagar v. Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited [38], the Court held that a manifest violation of the principle of natural justice in a disciplinary inquiry as demonstrated by violation of rules of procedure, denial of opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and failure to provide relevant documents to the officer undergoing disciplinary proceedings would render the same liable to be quashed; and that when the contemporaneous letters written by the officer demonstrated categorically the allegation as to the prejudice being caused, mere failure to specifically plead prejudice in the body of the writ petition would not be of serious consequence.

In a similar vein, in S.K. Gupta v. Union of India [39], the Court reiterated the critical importance of supplying the requisite relevant documents to an officer facing disciplinary action.

In Chandrika Prashad Tiwari v. Delhi Bhartiya Chikitsa Parishad [40], the Court noted that when an entity has been specifically created under a statute which provided control of the government over salary, allowances and other conditions of service of the employees of the said entity, then it could not be disputed that the said employees were to be treated fundamentally at par with the employees of the government.

Land Acquisition

In Rex (U&A) Remedies Private Limited v. GNCTD [41], the Court held that merely because the impugned notification qua certain other individuals had been quashed during the contemporaneous period would not ensure a right in a party whose petition was otherwise grossly barred by delay and laches to any equitable relief on the said ground.

In M/s Prabhu Land & Finance v. Union of India [42], the Court held that notwithstanding the delay in filing an appeal, when it was evident that the Supreme Court in a connected litigation had enhanced the award of compensation for the land acquired in the same village under the same award, then the party concerned would also be entitled to similar benefit; though it would be put to terms for the delay in ventilating its grievances including non-grant of interest for the period of delay.

Limitation

In Energy Infrastructure (India) Limited v. J. S. Malik [43], the Court held that the limitation period of one year for filing a suit for compensation for malicious prosecution would be computed from the date of termination of criminal proceedings in question and any opinion as to the purport of the final order by an extra-judicial authority would not extend the limitation.

In Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited, Ranchi v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Ranchi [44], the Court while refusing to condone the delay of several years in filing an appeal against an Assessment Order passed under Section 7A of the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (‘EPF Act’) and a consequential order under Section 14B of the EPF Act, observed that a lack of plausible reasons to explain such a large delay would be fatal.

In Bio Veda Action Research Private Limited v. K. N. Mohan Babu [45], the Court observed that when the conduct of the appellant demonstrated that the intention behind the filing of the grossly belated appeal was merely to somehow avoid payment without any intention to contest the case on merits, it would be a factor which would weigh with the Court in rejecting the application for condonation of delay.

In Sanjay Naghore v. Brij Mohan [46], the Court held that the mere fact that the party in question was not residing in Delhi would be no ground to condone huge delay for which no other explanation was offered.

In Vijay Kumar Gupta v. Pawan Gupta [47], the Court reiterated that inasmuch as a suit seeking declaration has to be filed from a period of three years from when the cause of action arose, in terms of Article 58 of the Limitation Act, 1963 (‘Limitation Act’), a plaintiff who was seeking declaration contrary to certain documents executed between the parties was required to institute the suit within three years of the execution of the said documents.

In Competition Commission of India v. Forech India Limited [48], while commenting adversely on the lackadaisical and careless approach of the appellant in filing the appeal with significant delay, the Court observed that a long-winding administrative process to receive approval for filing of an appeal is not a ground for condoning the delay.

In Rajasavi Estate and Developers v. Rajesh Sabarwal, [49] while reiterating that Section 70 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 could not be sought to be pressed into service by a person who relies on an express contract, the Court further observed that when a suit was filed not for recovery of money simpliciter but for consideration paid towards a sale transaction, then Article 113 of the Limitation Act would apply.

Matrimonial Disputes, Custody and Maintenance

In Meena v. Ishwarti [50], while reiterating that in terms of Section 14 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, the Court has wide discretion to admit evidence which may not strictly fall within the permissible parameters under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Court further observed that mere filing of photocopies of various documents could not result in ipso-facto rejection of the evidence led by a party.

In Ashish Dubey v. GNCTD [51], the Court deprecated disparaging comments made against the counsellor attached with the High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre and noted that in matters of custody, the counsellor’s report as regards the relationship and manner of ./i/nteraction between the children and the concerned parent could not be eschewed from consideration.

In Asha Karki v. Rajesh Karki [52], the Court observed that inasmuch as maintenance is normally required to be awarded from the date of filing of an application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974 (‘Cr.P.C.’), non-mention of reasons for limiting maintenance only from the date of the order would render the same liable to be interfered with.

In Harpeet Kaur v. Amarjeet Singh [53], the Court held that the factum of desertion by the wife would stand established when despite every effort being made by the husband to persuade the wife to return to the matrimonial home, including filing of an application for restitution of conjugal rights in this regard, the wife refused to resume cohabitation.

In Kiran Lohia v. State [54], the Court held that a writ of habeas corpus is indeed maintainable against a biological parent and that even a biological parent can, in certain circumstances, be charged with the offence of kidnapping, particularly in a case where the parent forcibly takes the child out of the country in violation of the order of a Court.

In Varsha Bhatia v. Himanshu Kumar Arya [55], the Court refused to believe the explanation of a husband, who was a qualified BBA graduate and of a very young age, that he had remained unemployed for several years, and directed payment of maintenance to the estranged wife.

Media Law, Censorship and Defamation

In Indu Dalmia v. Rajasekhar Naidu [56] the Court held that a suit for defamation premised upon publication of a First Information Report (‘FIR’) lodged with the police would not be maintainable inasmuch as not only was an FIR a legitimate recourse for a party following the due process of law, yet further an FIR by its very nature was a document in the public domain, with the police itself being required to publish it.

In Dr. S. C. Vats v. Shipra Singh [57], the Court observed that any restraint on publication or dissemination of information in relation to the criminal antecedents of a candidate could not be injuncted during the process of an election inasmuch as the same would deprive the electorate of a fair chance to make an informed choice as to the concerned candidate.

In E.G. Communications Private Limited v. Election commission of India [58], the Court observed that a temporary restriction, for a specified period after the model code of conduct has been come into force, on political advertisements on properties owned by Government / Public Sector Undertakings is not violative of the constitutional guarantee of free speech and the restrictions in question were reasonable and were geared towards ensuring free and fair elections.

Personal Law and Succession

In Rohit Sachdeva v. Dinesh Kumar Sachdeva [59] the Court observed in a suit for partition that if the relief claimed in the suit could be adjudicated upon without adjudicating the validity of a contested Will, then there was no need to mechanically proceed the suit into trial to determine the genuineness of the Will.

In Nilima Sinha v. Dilip Kumar Shrivastava [60], the Court observed that there would be no question of seeking partition of a property of which the exclusive title had been bequeathed to the plaintiff under a Will which had been accepted by all concerned, and the appropriate remedy was to claim possession on the basis of title. The Court further observed that a suit for partition would only lie if the plaintiff were to have an undivided share in the property.

In Vipin Kumar v. State [61], the Court observed that a Will can be proved only by an attesting witness and not by any other person including a beneficiary under the Will.

In Adarsh Pal Singh Randhawa v. Amrit Bolaria [62], the Court observed that if the validity of two contested Wills would anyway have to be looked into for the purpose of adjudication of a suit, then there was no requirement for the plaintiff who had filed the suit for partition to seek a specific declaration qua validity of the Will being propounded by him/her.

In Surender Kambhoj v. Virender Singh [63] the Court held that when sufficient basis as to the income of Hindu Joint Family (‘HUF’) was demonstrated and it was further categorically pleaded that a property had been purchased from the said income then even if the ownership stood in the name of one of the members, the suit couldn’t be thrown out at the threshold and the matter would have to be set down for trial. Similarly, in Sukruti Sugal v. Jahnavi Dugal [64] the Court observed that when there was a specific averment as regards the existence of a HUF, then even if the details were not well fleshed-out in the plaint, the suit itself could not be rejected at the threshold.

In Sardool Singh v. Surjeet Singh [65], the Court observed that the testimony of an attesting witness could not be discarded on the ground that the said person was an interested witness merely because the Will provided for the subject matter property to devolve upon the said witness upon the happening of a certain event, when the said eventuality admittedly never came to pass.

Rent Control

In Hans Raj v. Raghuvir Singh & Ors. [66], the Court observed that once a person takes the stand that he/she has become the owner of a property on the ground of adverse possession, then he/she could not subsequently take the alternative plea that a suit for eviction was not maintainable and that the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (‘DRC Act’) would apply. The Court surmised that a plea of adverse possession would be destructive of the rights under the DRC Act.

While construing Section 14(2) of the DRC Act, the Court in Rajeev Kumar v. Meena Sharma [67], observed that the said provision is intended for the benefit of tenants who behave in a bona-fide manner and could not be used as a shield by those tenants who were neither paying the admitted rent nor the occupation charges imposed as a condition by the Court for granting a stay of eviction.

In Rajiv Puri v. Jagdish Kumar [68], the Court observed that in a case where there was a large time gap between the filing of an application for leave to defend and the final adjudication of such an application, it was in the interests of justice that a short affidavit should be permitted to be filed by the tenant to bring on record the relevant subsequent facts which were material and germane to the adjudication of the controversy.

In Rohit Dhankard v. Sandhya Gupta [69], the Court observed that a party which claimed to be the actual owner of the part of the premises was a necessary party in an eviction petition inasmuch as any adjudication in the absence of the said party would have the possibility of irreparably prejudicing its rights.

In Union of India v. Sir Sobha Singh & Sons Private Limited [70], the Court held that Section 3 of the Government Grants Act, 1895 would not override the provisions of the DRC Act and it is intended to only affect the operation of the Transfer of Property Act,1882 (‘TOPA’).

In Bhupinder Singh v. S. Ravinder Singh [71], the Court observed that once it was undisputed that the tenant had been inducted by the father of the person seeking eviction, then it was not permissible for the tenant to seek to challenge the title of the said person.

In Sufi Hakim Hafiz Suleman v. Haseena Begum [72], the Court held that when there was a categorical allegation in the application for leave to defend about the landlord being in possession of a specified property which has not been disclosed by him in the pleadings, then a triable issue would arise in the matter.

In Mohd Yousuf v. Mohd Rehan Siddiqui [73], the Court reiterated that even if a residential property was let out for commercial purposes and was so being used, a petition under Section 14(1)(c) of the DRC Act for bona-fide need for residential use would be maintainable.

In a similar vein, in Saurabh Sudhir v. Mukesh Kumar [74], the Court observed that it was incumbent upon the landlord to make a clean breast of the details of the available space in the alternative property admittedly available with him / her.

In Sushil Kumar Khanna v. Sudesh Rani [75], the Court reiterated that in the admitted absence of an application for leave to defend having been filed, the action of the Rent Controller in summarily passing an eviction order could not be faulted.

In Dalip Kumar v. Pawan Kumar [76], the Court observed that the death of one of the family members, and whose need had also formed the basis for the filing of the eviction petition, would have to be kept in mind as a relevant factor while deciding the application for leave to defend.

In M/s Audio Visual v. Anjali Mehra [77], the Court observed that when a petition for eviction is instituted citing the bona-fide need of both residential and commercial usage of the premises, the mere fact that the daughters of the landlord had got married in the interregnum would not impugn upon the continuing need of the premises for commercial use.

In Usha v. Shish Pal Singh [78], the Court observed that an order rejecting an application filed by the tenant for leave to defend could not be premised purely on the advanced age of the landlord, and that the order would have to take into consideration the usual parameters such as availability of alternate accommodation etc.

In Basanti Devi v. Ram Birch [79], the Court deprecated the order passed by the Rent Controller which was completely bereft of any reasoning and only copy-pasted the respective cases pleaded by the parties without any discussion thereon.

In Gurinder Singh v. Jasjit Kaur [80], the Court reiterated that a mere sweeping statement that the tenanted premise in question was essential to satisfy the requirement of the landlord would not suffice in the absence of more detailed particulars

Right to Information

In Shamnad Basheer v. Union of India [81], the Court held that an order which was otherwise appealable under Section 19(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 could not be made the subject matter of a Public Interest Litigation.

Specific Relief and Property

In Cardiff Associates Private Limited v. Indraprastha Ice and Cold Storage Private Limited [82], the Court reiterated that in a suit under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act, the primary cause of action is forcible dispossession.

In Deepak Chopra v. Flakt (India) Private Limited [83], the Court held that the rent due towards the lock-in period in a lease deed cannot be claimed without there being a specific pleading as to the loss occasioned to the landlord on account of the tenant vacating the property prior to the expiry of the lock-in period.

In Al-Faheem Meatex Private Limited v. Mohd. Yunus [84], the Court observed that the dismissal of a suit for specific performance lodged by an agreement purchaser would not result in the seller being entitled to be put back in possession of the property in the very same proceeding, and that the seller would have to institute independent proceedings for the said relief.

In Rajendra Prasad Aggarwal v. Dr. Anil Kumar Narang [85], the Court reiterated that despite the 2018 Amendment to the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (‘Specific Relief Act’), a pleading in a plaint for specific performance as regards the readiness and willingness of the Plaintiff is essential to sustain a claim for specific performance under Section 16 thereof.

In Ram Prakash v. Raj Kumar [86], the Court reiterated that intermittent acts of entry upon the property in question would not amount to the ‘settled possession’ which is required to be demonstrated to secure the relief of recovery of possession under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act.

In Vinay Khanna v. Krishna Kumari Khanna [87], the Court reiterated that a parent cannot be presumed to be the trustee of a son who had attained majority and, therefore, any such transaction could not be said to fall within the exception to the prohibition under the Benami Transaction Act, 1988 (‘Benami Act’). The Court further observed that a party who had allegedly contributed certain amounts to the purchase of a property by another could not seek any right or title in the said property and was only entitled, at best, to recovery of the amounts so contributed.

In Ajit Kumar v. Anil Kumar Gupta [88], the Court observed that when a seller had deliberately withheld information regarding the prior mortgage on the property from the buyer and had taken a huge sum as earnest money while subsequently failing to provide possession of the premises, then it was a clear case of unjust enrichment and the buyer would be entitled to refund of the money at a reasonable rate of interest.

In Dharampal Satyapal Limited v. Sanmati Trading and Investing Limited [89], the Court reiterated that a suit seeking a decree of specific performance would not be maintainable if the accompanying declaratory relief with respect the termination of agreement being null and void was not sought.

In Biji Rajesh v. The Competent Authority [90], the Court reiterated and upheld the view that the removal of the internal walls in a building without modifying the façade in any manner or resulting in additional construction would only amount to ‘repair and renovation’ within the meaning of Section 20A of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and would not amount to a ‘fresh’ construction.

Stamp Act

While allowing a claim for refund of stamp duty, the Court in Vimal Kumar Saigal v. Office of Collector of Stamps [91], construed Sections 49 & 50 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and reiterated that the essence of the said provisions read with Article 265 of the Constitution of India was that an authority could not be permitted to retain the amount of stamp duty for the same transaction twice over. The Court further observed that when the stamp purchased for the execution of the previous deed was rendered useless on account of non-registration of the document due to inadvertence, and the subsequent deed has been properly stamped and registered, then there would be an entitlement to refund.

Tax, Excise and Customs

In Diamond Export v. Commissioner of Customs (Export) ICD, Tughlakabad [92], the Court reiterated that a writ petition seeking release of seized goods should ordinarily not be entertained where there is a statutory provision for provisional release subject to the conditions enshrined therein.

Tender and Blacklising

In Asha Ram Gupta v. The Commissioner (Food & Supplies Department) [93], the Court held that when a particular clause in a control-order granted discretion to a particular authority to relax the suspension or termination of an entity, then a directive which purports to take away the said discretion and compulsorily mandate termination or blacklisting would be unsustainable.

In NCC-BGR Consortium v. NTPC Limited [94], the Court observed that the general rule that when a matter is pending adjudication before an arbitral tribunal or other dispute resolution forum then pending the said determination an authority cannot seek to blacklist a private entity, would not apply when there were clear allegations of a criminal nature involving corruption and bribery.

In Jayanta Kumar Ghosh Outdoor Catering Private Limited v. Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), [95] the Court held that when it was evident that the tenderer has made a bona-fide error at the stage of uploading the supporting documents for the bid, then the punishment of blacklisting coupled with forfeiture of license fee and security deposit was shockingly disproportionate and could not be sustained.

In Well Protect Manpower Private Limited v. Delhi Development Authority [96], the Court reiterated that the financial capacity of a bidder to execute the work in question cannot be pegged or sought to be determined by the prices or the charges quoted by it on one particular aspect alone viz. profit margin, and a holistic benchmark has to be put in place for the said purpose.

In Karl Storz Endoscopy India Private Limited v. Union of India [97], the Court reiterated that when a detailed and cogent justification was given by the authorities concerned for permitting certain minor deviations from the tender conditions, then the Court would be hesitant to interfere with the award of the tender.

In Som Datt Landmark Hotels and Recreations Private Limited v. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited [98], the Court held that even if the simultaneous opening of the financial and the technical bids was not in terms of the tender conditions, in the absence of any prejudice having been suffered on account of the same by the aggrieved party, the tender process could not be interfered with.

In Rakshak Securitas Private Limited v. Union of India [99], the Court held that it was incumbent upon the prospective bidder to regularly visit the website of the entity which had floated the tender for the purpose of information, and it could not claim ignorance of any corrigendum that might have been uploaded on the same.

Dr. Amit George is an Advocate practicing before the High Court of Delhi. The author would like to place on record his appreciation for the assistance provided by Mr. Rishabh Dheer, Mr. Amol Acharya, Mr. Bharat Rayadurgam and Mr. Piyo Harold Jaimon, Advocates.

Amit George
Amit George

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