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Review of Judgments and orders passed by the High Court in July.
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 Ashwani Minda & Jay Ushin Limited v. U-shin Limited and Mineba Mitsumi Inc., the Court while reiterating that an application under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”) is maintainable even qua a foreign seated arbitration. further held that the same limitation as contained in Section 9(3) of the Arbitration Act i.e. of such a petition not being maintainable after the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal, would be applicable to a Section 9 petition in relation to foreign-seated international commercial arbitration as well.
In Hero Wind Energy Private Limited v. INOX Renewables Limited, the Court held that even though the principles of Order II Rule 2 of the CPC are not entirely alien to arbitration proceedings, however, in the case of large-scale transactions or projects there cannot be a rigid application of the said principles inasmuch as different disputes relating to different facets would result in separate references to arbitration and there could be no cavil with such an approach unless manifest prejudice would be demonstrated to have been caused to either parties. The Court further held that the words “Arbitral Tribunal” as appearing in Section 9(3) of the Arbitration Act have to be taken to mean the specific Arbitral Tribunal constituted to adjudicate the disputes which have already arisen between the parties and have been accordingly referred to arbitration, and therefore an Arbitral Tribunal which had been constituted in the past for disputes which had earlier arisen between the parties could not be the “Arbitral Tribunal” within the meaning of Section 9(3) of the Arbitration Act, even if the composition of the members was the same.
In ONGC Petro Additions Limited v. FERNS Construction Company Inc., the Court held that the provisions of Section 29A (1) of the Arbitration Act, as introduced by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019, would have retrospective application.
In Pankaj Arora v. AVV Hospitality LLP, the Court held that there was no such mandatory rule that an Arbitral Tribunal is required to decide a jurisdictional objection under Section 16 of the Arbitration Act at the very threshold.
In Aarka Sports Management v. Kalsi Buildcon Private Limited, the Court while reiterating that jurisdiction could not be vested merely by agreement between the parties on a Court which otherwise did not have the same, noted that the only exception to this rule was the designation of a seat, and in the absence of the same, the territorial jurisdiction of the Court to decide an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act would be construed by the principles enshrined under Sections 16 to 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”).
However, in Hamdard Laboratories (India) v. Sterling Electro Enterprises, the Court held that an exclusive jurisdiction clause conferring jurisdiction upon the Courts of a particular location to decide disputes relating to arbitration arising out of the agreement in question would amount to making the said location the seat of the arbitration, and accordingly the Court would get jurisdiction on this basis alone even if the parameters for determining jurisdiction under the CPC were not met.
In GMR Pochanpalli Expressway Limited v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court reiterated that when two Arbitral Tribunals had interpreted identical contractual clauses in a contrasting manner, then the Court was required to examine the issue on the merits while considering an application under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act.
In Indian Potash Limited v. Prem Sakhi Fertilizer Limited, the Court reiterated that, in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Perkins Eastman Architects DPC vs. HSCC (India) Limited (AIR 2020 SC 59), the unilateral appointment of an arbitrator by one of the parties was impermissible even if the arbitration clause so provided.
In Jayaneer Infra Power & Multiventures Private Limited v. Hero Fincorp Limited, the Court while reiterating that in a petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act, the Court is only required to arrive at a prima-facie view as regard the rights and entitlements of the parties further held that in order to balance the equities between the parties, an injunction against a hasty decision of the respondent to sell shares in a depressed market reeling from the impact of COVID-19 could validly be sought by the petitioner.
In Rail Vikas Nigam Limited v. Simplex Infrastructure Limited, the Court held that the ceiling limit of Rs. 30,00,000/- under Schedule IV of the Arbitration Act is not inclusive of the base fee of Rs. 19,87,500/-, and is only intended to operate as a cap on, and to apply to, the additional fee chargeable, i.e. 0.5% of the claim amount which is over and above the slab of Rs. 20 crores under the Schedule.
In K.L. Enterprises LLP v. Bajaj Finance Limited, the Court reiterated that while adjudicating a petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act, defaults which had occurred prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic could not be overlooked or condoned by subsequent events.
In Neeru Jain v. Jasmine Buildmart Private Limited, the Court held that when the proceedings have commenced prior to the Court passing an order granting interim relief to a party under Section 9(1) of the Arbitration Act, then the provisions of Section 9(2) would have no application.
In Dharamvir Khosla v. Asian Hotels (North) Limited, the Court observed that even post the 2015 amendment to the Section 8 of the arbitration Act, the Court on an application under Section 8 of the Act can look into the fact whether the reference to arbitration is barred expressly or by implication, by statutory fiat. The Court further held that while adjudicating on an application under Section 8 of the Act, the Court is required to go into the issue whether the dispute between the parties is an arbitrable dispute or not and whether the dispute is an excepted matter or relates to specific or special remedies.
In Indian Oil Corporation Limited v. FEPL Engineering (P) Limited, the Court while reiterating that the requirement of a pre-deposit in terms of Section 19 of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 is mandatory, further held that an Arbitral Award would be treated as a money decree for the purpose of execution and challenge.
In Nirmal Singh V. Horizon Crest India Real Estate, while the Court held that the scope of an application under Section 33(1) of the Arbitration Act, and which is intended to provide for correction of errors, could not be extended to seek review of the award, and once the said application is found to be not maintainable, then the extended period of limitation for filing the Section 34 petition on account of the pendency of the said application would not be available to the petitioner.
BANKING AND FINANCE
In Jindal Steel & Power Limited v. Reserve Bank of India, while interpreting the applicable Reserve Bank of India Regulations in relation to direct investment in a joint venture or a wholly owned subsidiary, particularly Clause 9 thereof, the Court held that the discretion and application of mind required to be exercised therein was to be exercised by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) itself and that function could not be delegated to any other entity such as the Enforcement Directorate.
In Dinesh Bahadur Singh v. Bank of Maharashtra and Ishwar Chand Goel v. Shree Ambica International Food Private Limited, the Court reiterated that a failure to communicate the order of the First Committee to the Petitioner who was sought to be labelled as a wilful defaulter coupled with a completely unreasoned order passed by the Review Committee would result in complete violation of the principles of natural justice and would be contrary to the judgment of the Supreme Court in State Bank of India v. Jah Developers Private Limited and Others [(2019 (6) SCC 787].
In FMC Corporation v. NATCO Pharma Limited, the Court held that Section 10 & Order VII Rule 10 of the CPC operate in different fields and accordingly contemplate and envisage distinct eventualities and consequences and, therefore, could not be read together. It was further observed that a Court hearing an application under Section 10 of the CPC is not prohibited from considering an application for interim relief inasmuch as the provision is only concerned with obviating parallel trials on the same issues by two different forums.
In Naresh Kumar v. Delhi Development Authority, the Court held that upon being confronted with a demarcation report filed in evidence, the party seeking to contest the same not only has the right to extensively cross-examine the relevant witness seeking to depose to the same but also has the right to lead independent evidence in order to attempt to rebut the report.
In Chetan Dayal v. Aruna Malhotra, the Court observed that when the amendment in question was necessitated on account of subsequent events that had taken place after the institution of the suit, and amendment was also prayed for at a stage when the trial and recording of evidence have not yet commenced, then there was no infirmity in permitting the amendment as prayed for.
In Prasar Bharati v. Starcon India Limited, the Court held that an interlocutory order passed in proceedings for execution of an Arbitral Award under Section 36 of the Arbitration Act would not be amenable to an Appeal under Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (“Commercial Courts Act”) inasmuch as the said Order would neither fall within the parameters of an appealable Order under Section 37 of the Arbitration Act nor under Order XLIII of the CPC.
In FMC Corporation v. NATCO Pharma Limited, the Court held that the regime for amendment of pleadings as reflected in Order VI Rule 17 of the CPC was applicable in the same scope and purport to commercial suits as well, and an application for amendment could not be subjected to any higher standard merely because the suit fell within the scope of the Commercial Courts Act.
In Dev J. Roy v. Union of India, the Court held that it was not a mandatory pre-requisite nor violative of judicial hierarchy or judicial discipline that the incumbent in a particular post which was essentially concerned with exercise of appellate or similar power should necessarily be senior to the person who passed the order under challenge, and that if such seniority was not maintained, then that by itself would not make the appointment vulnerable to a challenge under Article 14 of the Constitution. The Court further observed that as long as the finality and the solemnity of the appellate order was maintained and the same was binding on all concerned, then there could be no cavil with such an arrangement irrespective of issues of seniority.
In Neha Devi v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated that in appropriate cases where the continuation of the pregnancy would result in harm to the health of the mother as also the foetus was demonstrably suffering from severe medical issues which put into question the viability of life going forward then it was permissible for the Court to grant permission to terminate the pregnancy beyond the gestation period of 20 weeks as contemplated under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
In Shailendra Kumar Singh v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court rejected a challenge to a government policy providing water and electricity at subsidised rates to certain sections of the population by observing that the Court cannot exercise powers for the replacement of state policy merely because a different policy may seem more suitable and that a challenge can only succeed if patent unconstitutionality, illegality or malafides were demonstrated on the record.
In Miss Nisha v. Union of India, the Court, in the context of the 103rd Constitutional amendment, held that Constitutional amendments are to be implemented forthwith and their implementation cannot held to be hostage to the whims and fancies of the executive.
In Amar Singh Gautam v. G. Block Residents Welfare Association, the Court held that even though Railways and other civic authorities may not be said to have a specific statutory duty to prevent ingress of persons upon railway tracks, however, they have a general duty of care to try and prevent people from endangering themselves.
In Rakesh Sharma v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that the contracts of personal service could not be sought to be enforced through a writ remedy.
In Vikash Kumar v. NTPC Limited, the Court held that in exercise of writ jurisdiction, it would not interfere with a policy decision putting in place a certain country-specific import limit when the limit was arrived at after due application of mind in terms of the policy, and that merely because the price of the commodity which was sought to be imported was very high in the Indian market would not in itself be a ground to render the determination of the limit as being arbitrary or unreasonable.
In Kailas v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court observed that a concerned authority was entitled to test the actual experience of a candidate as opposed to mere paper knowledge of rules and regulations and a holistic reading of a rule to this effect could not be said to hit by the vice of arbitrariness.
In Prakash Asphaltings and Toll Highways India Ltd. v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court held that a writ petition would be maintainable when the grievance was in relation to a larger policy issue of the authority concerned even though the issue may also have an overlap with the controversy arising out of the contractual terms in the various agreements between the parties.
In Shaan Mohd. v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court held that once a person had an entitlement to be recompensed under a particular scheme, the argument that the budget was insufficient would not detain the Court and the Court has the necessary power to direct grant of ex-gratia compensation in exceptional circumstances.
In Manish Sharma v. Urmila Arora, the Court observed that when an impugned order reflected exercise of discretionary powers in favour of ensuring substantial justice, then the Court would be reluctant to interfere in the same in exercise of powers under Article 227 of the Constitution.
In Abhijeet Mishra v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that inasmuch as public interest litigation has been developed for the purpose of aiding persons who are unable to approach the Court on account of a disadvantageous socio-economic background and/or illiteracy and/or lack of understanding of law, therefore, under ordinary circumstances a public interest litigation for the welfare of lawyers would not lie.
In Alchemist Healthcare Ltd. v. Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Court observed that a contempt petition could never be permitted to be utilized as a tool to overawe public authorities and dissuade them from exercise of their statutory obligations.
In Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel Association (India) v. Arvind Singh, Chairman, Airports Authority of India, the Court held that the act of granting recognition to a particular association would not amount to a contempt when the order of which contempt was alleged had not proscribed the grant of such recognition but had merely observed that the same would be subject to the final decision in the writ petition.
In Cyquator Media Services Private Limited v. IDBI Trusteeship Services Limited, the Court held that as reflected in Section 176 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (“Contract Act”), the pawnee has the absolute discretion to sell the pledged goods. The Court further held that a Court cannot ignore specific provisions of law in its anxiety to account for the economic impact of its decisions. The Court further observed that it was not within its power to introduce a clause akin to a force-majeure clause into a contract entered into between the parties in the clear textual absence of the same.
In Beoworld Private Limited v. Bang & Olufsen Expansion, the Court held that while a contract which can be terminated or brought to an end at will in a unilateral fashion by a party against whom specific performance is sought would be a determinable contract, yet further, even a contract which could be terminated on account of the conduct of the party which is seeking specific performance would also amount to a determinable contract.
In Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. GNCTD, the Court directed that the statements under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) of children in need of care and protection and who are in child care institutions should be recorded by the concerned metropolitan magistrates over video-conferencing or by visiting the said institutions. The Court further directed that the necessary COVID-19 tests should also be conducted on the children who are residing in such institutions.
In Court On its own Motion v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated the importance of timely updating of data as regards availability of ventilators, beds etc. and the need for maintaining responsive helplines during the pandemic.
In Distress Management Collective v. Union of India, the Court rejected a challenge to a government policy extending crucial insurance coverage to health workers who were directly working with COVID-19 patients, while refusing the extension of the said policy to other health workers, inasmuch as it found that the same was based on a rational classification.
In Y.S. Dwivedi v. Directorate of Estate, while recognizing the fact that though the lockdown could be said to have de-jure eased with effect from 18th May, 2020 when considering the element of inter-state movement of persons between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh the de-facto easing of lockdown could only have said to be occurred on 1st July, 2020. The Court noted that though certain leeway could be granted to a government employee for vacating the residential premises on account of the COVID-19 situation, there could be no blanket direction permitting the employee to retain the accommodation till the situation normalises inasmuch as there could be no certainty whatsoever as to the period that this would entail.
In Ishwar @ Manju v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court deprecated the stand of the concerned authority that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic persons suffering from other serious ailments could not be provided with the benefit of the requisite medical procedures in a timely fashion, and directed that the petition in the said case be provided the medical procedure as required by him in a time-bound manner.
In Akhil Bhartiya Lodhi Adhivakta Sangh v. Union of India, the Court noted that the aspect as to whether the rule that only advocates-on-record could file matters before the Supreme Court was required to be relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic was a matter which fell within the exclusive domain of the Supreme Court, and that no direction could be passed by the Court in this regard.
In Seema Shukla v. New Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Court directed the authorities concerned to intimate the staff who were being requisitioned for COVID-19 duty that they had a right in terms of the extant policy to make a representation for exemption on the basis of special and extenuating circumstances.
In Dalbir Singh v. Satish Chand, the Court reiterated the directions issued by it in Deepti Khera v. Siddharth Khera (CM (M) 1637/2019) and Puneet Kumar v. Registrar General [W. P. (C) 2999/20200] which were intended to ensure that the pronouncement of orders and judgments would not be unduly delayed by trial courts, and held that the said directions would hold good even during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
In Baby Suhani Kapoor v. Rich Harvest Public School, the Court noted that students should not be deprived of online classes on account of non-payment of fee where the parents were in a demonstrably poor financial condition.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
In Sushmeet Kaur v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that the subjective satisfaction on the part of the detaining authority which ultimately resulted in passing of a detention order under Section 3(1) of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, can be said to be vitiated only if it can be demonstrated that material or vital documents which may have influenced the decision of the detaining authority were not placed before it by the sponsoring authority.
In Iqbal Singh v. State, the Court while distinguishing the judgment in Hira Singh and Anr. v. Union of India and Another (Crl. A. No.722/2017), held that the Supreme Court was concerned with illicit substances being sold in combination with neutral substances and that the said verdict would not apply to a case where a non-offending substance or preparation, as understood in common parlance and by persons well-versed in the trade, was mixed with miniscule quantities of an offending substance. The Court observed that a drug which is manufactured but does not fall within the scope of the definition of a ‘manufactured drug’ under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS ACT”) cannot be sought to be construed as a manufactured drug by artificially dissecting its ingredients and by considering them in isolation.
In Nitesh Amrutbhai Patel v. Narcotic Control Bureau, the Court struck a note of caution in relation to the acceptance of statements made before an officer under Section 53A of the NDPS Act and further observed that the provisions of Section 67 of the NDPS Act could not be utilised to completely circumvent the mandate of Section 53A(1)(a) of the NDPS Act. The Court observed that an incriminating statement under Section 67 of the NDPS Act is ultimately of weak evidentiary value and must be scrupulously tested before the same can be accepted.
In Mahender Kumar Sharda v. State, the Court observed that when the prosecution in question pertained to Sections 420 and 468 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC’’) and the allegations involved participation in opening of fraudulent bank accounts with the actual connivance of the officials of the bank, then the proceedings in question could not be sought to be quashed pursuant to a settlement between the parties inasmuch as the offences had wider societal ramifications. The Court, however, observed that at the final stage of trial the trial court may consider the settlement arrived at as a mitigating factor while pronouncing on the ultimate verdict. However, in Kush Bhasin v. State, the Court held that when the alleged offence complained of related purely to a commercial and financial relationship inter se the parties and do not involve widespread economic or societal ramifications, then the Court could exercise its power to quash the same under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.
In Deepali Aggarwal v. State of GNCT, the Court while reiterating that the power of the Court to direct transfer of investigation from one agency to the another must be exercised sparingly, further held that the said principle would apply equally to the wife of the deceased who had asked for transfer of the investigation as much as it would to the accused.
In Dr. Shivender Mohan Singh v. Directorate of Enforcement, the Court held that once the constitutional validity of the twin conditions laid down in Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (“PMLA”) had been struck down by the Supreme Court in Nikesh Tarachand Shah v. Union of India & Anr. [(2018) 11 SCC 1], then a subsequent amendment to Section 45 of the PMLA reiterating the very same provisions could not be said to be valid unless a subsequent decision of the Supreme court were to hold so. The Court accordingly held that the amended provisions could be of no effect and would be construed to be invalid.
In Rajesh Lal v. State, the Court rejected an application for bail inasmuch as it found that the death of the wife having occurred within a period of 7 years, the presumption in terms of Section 340B of the IPC read with Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (“Evidence Act”) was attracted and the preliminary material on record indicated the extremely strained ties between the husband and the in-laws.
In Intercorp Industries Limited v. Registrar of Companies, while reiterating that at the stage of summoning of an accused there must be requisite application of mind, the Court set aside a summoning order under Section 251 of the Cr.P.C. inter alia on the ground that the fact that the documents which were the very basis of filing of the complaint were admittedly not placed on record. The Court also adversely commented on the fact that the summoning order was passed on a stereotyped proforma containing blanks wherein the names of the petitioners, offending sections and next date of hearing were simply filed in by hand.
In Rohit v, State, the Court held that a mere delay in the examination of a sample by the Forensic Science Laboratory would not be fatal inasmuch as there was no allegations that the samples were putrefied or that they were not fit for examination. The Court observed that the witness who sought to prove the sample had deposed as to the efficacy of the process which had been followed right from the sealing of the sample to the eventual examination thereof, and that there was no question put to the witness which could shake the credibility of the process.
In Sharjeel Imam v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court held that the requirement of notice as contemplated in Section 43 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (“UAPA”) is only concerned with production of accused before the Court and does not contemplate the giving of a written notice giving reasons for seeking extension and thereby, requiring the accused to show cause against the grant of such extension.
In Ishrat Jahan v. State, the Court reiterated that when the Court had come to a categorical opinion to recommend extension of time for investigation in terms of Section 43(D) of the UAPA and the opinion was predicated upon material documents such as submissions, perusal of a case diary, report of the public prosecutor etc. and there was a consideration of all the relevant circumstances then the order could not be faulted with.
In Kavi Arora v. Sate and Sunil N Godhwani v. State, while rejecting bail to the applicant inasmuch as the allegations were in respect of massive misappropriation of public money, the Court reiterated that the filing of a chargesheet does not amount to a material change in circumstances inasmuch as it does not reflect any lessening of allegations by the prosecution and on the contrary only establishes material on record against the accused persons.
In State of NCT of Delhi v. Deepak Dabas, the Court while quashing and cancelling an order of interim bail granted to the accused observed that the impugned order had not examined the individual allegations in the various distinct FIRs which were the subject matter of controversy and had on the contrary proceeded to pass an omnibus order without any reference to the particular aspects of each individual case.
In Unwan Amrohi v. State, the Court observed that inasmuch as the menace of fake Indian currency notes had acquired serious proportions and was adversely impacting the economic fabric of the country, bail could not be granted to an accused when admittedly a huge amount of such currency, printing equipment, arms and other materials were admittedly confiscated from the accused during the course of the investigation.
In Ali Akbar v. State, the Court held that the failure to try the accomplice of the accused along with him would not result in an infirmity with the case setup by the prosecution inasmuch as this inability was sufficiently explained by the fact that the accomplice of the accused could not be apprehended and on account of him being missing, the chargesheet was only filed against the accused.
In Rajender v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court upheld the order of conviction under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC inasmuch as the forensic evidence, including the Forensic Science Laboratory report and DNA analysis, overwhelmingly established the commission of the offence by the accused.
In Basant Vallabh v. State, the Court held that it could not grant a direction in the nature of mandamus for the release of a petitioner on parole in a case where appeal of the petitioner against the conviction was pending before the Supreme Court and, therefore, it could not act in a manner which might not whittle away the appellate powers of the Court which was seized of the controversy.
In Raiess Khan v. State, the Court held that when delay in registration of the FIR and the subsequent investigation was sufficiently explained, then the same could not result in any inherent right on the part of the accused to seek bail.
In Sumit @ Kala v. State, the Court rejected an application for bail inter-alia on the ground that the role of the accused in the incident complained of was of a primary nature and no parity could be drawn with the case of the co-accused who had not actually participated in physically assaulting the deceased but were, on the other hand, mere onlookers.
In Manju Devi v. State, the Court reiterated that in matters involving dowry death under Section 304B, the Court should be slow to grant interim bail when the matter was still under investigation and the mere absence of any complaints by the deceased even though she was a lawyer and, therefore, ostensibly aware of her legal rights, would not enure to the benefit of the petitioner.
In Rajender @ Raju v. State, the Court observed that the act of touching of the thighs of a child victim after removing his/her clothes demonstrates evident sexual intent and would amount to sexual assault within the meaning of Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
In Sanjay Kumar Valmiki v. State, the Court while interpreting the Delhi Prisons Act and Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 rules noted that if a prisoner/convict is not entitled to any remission for a particular period or for the remainder of his/her life, then he/she would not be entitled to furlough. The Court further observed that proscription would not completely obliterate the overall reformative approach which was in place in the legal system inasmuch the remedy of parole could still be sought to be availed of.
In Dr. Navroz Mehta v. Union of India, the Court upheld the validity of a rule which rendered a candidate who had already secured admission in a particular course as being ineligible for admission in any course which he/she may subsequently be selected for in the same academic year.
In Dr. Vivek Kumar v. National Board of Examination, the Court interpreted a regulation which proscribed admission in a course when the candidate in question had already secured admission in the same course in another institution for the entire duration prescribed for the earlier course, as prohibiting the candidate from applying for the course even when the earlier course has been discontinued by the candidate for any reason.
In Anurag Kumar v. Union of India, the Court observed that the sequence in which institutes are placed in a counselling list cannot be said to cause any prejudice to a candidate who participates in the counselling and the candidate cannot insist that the counselling process is vitiated because the institutes were not listed in an alphabetical manner particularly when there was no allegation of concealment of the availability of seats in any institute or course.
In Duddugunta Vishnu Priya v. Directorate of Health Services, the Court held that a student should not be made to suffer for a bona-fide error committed while filling an application form, particularly when granting relief to the said student would not lead to prejudice to any other candidates inasmuch as the relief being granted to the student was merely to grant the entitlement that the student was eligible for on account of the rank earned.
In Mahua Bindal v. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, the Court reiterated that reservation for institutional preference in post-graduate courses was permissible, provided that this category of reservation did not exceed 50% of the total number of open seats for the post-graduate courses in question.
In Kamla Nehru Mahila Mahavidyalaya v. Union of India, the Court while reiterating the important role played by the National Council for Teacher Education, warned against rash decisions of withdrawal of recognition in complete non-compliance of basic principles of natural justice, including withdrawing of recognition on grounds which were not even a part of the show-cause issued to the institution concerned.
In Dr. Akshita Khosla v. University of Delhi, the Court deprecated the failure of the University to issue degree certificates within a reasonable period and while noting the grave prejudice which would be caused as a result thereof, issued a slew of directions to remedy the situation.
In Dr. Vijender Kumar v. University of Delhi, the Court observed that when there was a clear case of confusion and miscommunication as regards the preponement of the last date for the submission of a thesis, then the Court would lean in favour of the student concerned and permit a suitable extension of time to do the needful.
In Shri Balaji Wash v. Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the Court set aside an order directly sealing of property and imposition of environmental compensation inasmuch as it found that the orders came to be passed without the issuance of a show-cause and without the granting of an opportunity of hearing.
In Dayal D. Shahdadpuri v. C.N.A. Exports Private Limited, the Court in the context of Section 44 of the Evidence Act, reiterated the distinction between erroneous exercise of jurisdiction and existence of jurisdiction and further observed that a decision which is erroneous in law or rendered in ignorance of some provision or rule could not equated with a situation where the Court lacked jurisdiction or was otherwise incompetent to deliver such a decision.
INSURANCE AND MOTOR VEHICLES ACT
In Pavan Sachdeva v. Office of the Insurance Ombudsman, the Court noted that a clause in an insurance policy requiring disclosure of material information cannot vest unbridled power in the insurance company to determine what this material information was. The Court also observed that such a clause could not mean and include all and sundry ailments ever suffered by an insured inasmuch as such an interpretation would be absurd and unworkable as a person was not reasonably expected to remember all ailments, treatments, medication etc. undertaken during his/her lifetime. The Court further observed that failure to mention any such inconsequential aspect could not be held to be a ground for the insurer to repudiate the contract at its discretion, and the insurer could only insist upon disclosure of a major ailment suffered by the assured reasonably prior to applying for the insurance policy.
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 Advocates Rishabh Dheer, Amol Acharya, Bharat Rayadurgam and Piyo Harold Jaimon.