Delhi High Court In Review
Delhi High Court In Review
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The Delhi High Court in Review: June, 2020 [Part I]

Review of Judgments and orders passed by the High Court in June.

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.

ARBITRATION

In Entertainment City Limited v. Aspek Media Private Limited, the Court held that even though if the fees charged by an arbitrator are in contravention of the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘Arbitration Act’), the arbitrator may be regarded as having become de jure ineligible to continue and his/her mandate would be determinable under section 14(1) of the Arbitration Act, however the grounds of challenge as made available by Section 12 of the Arbitration Act are limited to those contemplated by Section 12(3) of the Act alone. The Court further observed that arbitrators appointed by the Court in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act are, in the absence of a specific fixation of fees by the Court or by agreement between the parties, competent to determine their own fees.

In DSC Ventures v. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the Court held that in the case of the appointment of a substitute arbitrator under Section 15(2) of the Arbitration Act, the appointment of the substitute arbitrator would necessarily have to be preceded by a specific request from the counter-party seeking such a substituted appointment, and it is only upon a failure to act within the statutory period upon such notice having been served, can the counter-party be said to have lost its right to appoint an arbitrator.

In Nandini Bhatia v. Navil Ratish Kadwadkar, the Court reiterated that in view of Section 9(3) of the Arbitration Act, pursuant to the appointment of an arbitrator, a pre-existing petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act would no longer be maintainable before the Court, and the arbitrator would have to be moved in an application under Section 17 of the Arbitration Act.

In NHPC Limited v. BGS-SGS-SOMA-JV, while reiterating that Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 (‘Limitation Act’) would apply to a petition under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, the Court held that the entire period, right from the institution of the original proceedings to the termination of the appellate proceedings, ought to be excluded while computing the delay. The Court further observed that after giving the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, if the petition under fell within the condonable period of 30 days under Section 34(3) of the Arbitration Act, then the benefit of Section 34(3) of the Act would also be available to the petitioner.

In Starcon India Limited v. Prasar Bharti, the Court held that when in an arbitral award, a portion of an individual claim had been upheld and a portion, thereof, had been set-aside, then the portion which had not been interfered with could be sought to be enforced.

In Rashmi Cement Limited v. World Metals & Alloys (FZC), the Court held that inasmuch as the question regarding the applicability of a force majeure clause required a detailed examination of the facts and circumstances of each case, such an endeavour should ordinarily be left to the arbitral tribunal and should not be gone into by the Court hearing a petition for interim relief under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act.

In Janapriya Engineers Syndicate Private Limited v. Union of India, the Court held that it is only when an arbitral award had been prepared or was ready for delivery to the parties, could Section 39(2) of the Arbitration Act be sought to be invoked and not otherwise.

In Goodwill Non-Woven (P) Limited v. XCOAL Energy & Resources LLC., the Court held that in the case of an international arbitration, where the seat of arbitration was outside India, the invocation of Section 9 of the Arbitration Act to seek certain interim reliefs does not necessarily require a demonstration that any assets of the respondent were situated in India. The Court observed that the jurisdiction vested on an Indian Court under Section 2(2) of the Arbitration Act is, therefore, not a purely ‘asset-based’ jurisdiction.

In Technimont Private Limited v. ONGC Petro Additions Limited, the Court held that a party which had suffered defeat in an arbitration proceeding could not seek to over-ride the adjudication thereof by attempting to invoke the bank guarantees which were subject matter of the arbitration, after an arbitral award had been rendered. The Court, therefore, in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act, not only injuncted the respondent from encashing the bank guarantees, but also directed the return of the said bank guarantees to the successful party.

In Aakash Educational Services Limited. v. Sahib Sital Singh Bajwa, the Court refused to grant interim relief under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act insofar as it found that the injunction sought for was to enforce a covenant for restraint of trade, and which was squarely hit by Section 27 of the Contract Act, 1872.

In Vipsie Hospitalitys Private Limited v. WALIANET, the Court held that the when an application under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) was filed before the Court before which a petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act has been filed by one of the parties, it was open to the said Court to decline to enter into the merits of the controversy while directing that the aspect of genuineness of the documents would be adjudicated upon by the arbitral tribunal.

In Blue Coast Infrastructure Development Private Limited v. Blue Coast Hotels Limited, the Court reiterated that in exercise of powers under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act, a Court can issue directions even against a third party which was not a signatory to the arbitration agreement.

In Chintels India Limited v. Bhayana Builders Private Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited v. Planetcast Technologies Limited, the Court reiterated that even for condonation of delay beyond the three months period but within the condonable 30 day window provided under section 34(3) of the Arbitration Act, the concerned party was required to establish sufficient cause in this regard and the condonation of delay sought for could not be granted at the mere asking.

In Glencore International AG v. Hindustan Zinc Limited, the Court reiterated that in the case of an enforcement petition under Section 48 of Arbitration Act, the relevant factor to determine territorial jurisdiction would be the subject matter of the award as opposed to the subject matter of the arbitration/contract and in the case of a money award, this would be where the properties of the judgment debtor are situated.

In Indira Gandhi National Open University v. Sharat Das & Associates Private Limited, the Court while reiterating the settled law in relation to the strict scrutiny of petitions under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act held that filings lacking basic fundamentals such as an accompanying vakalatnama, affidavit/statement of truth etc. would result in a completely non-est filing. In Sharma Kalypso Private Limited v. Engineers India Limited, the Court, however, noted that when the petition was substantially compliant and filed within the period under Section 34(3) of Arbitration Act, then the delay in re-filing thereof can be condoned relatively liberally.

In NTPC Limited v. Sri Avantika Contractors (I) Limited, the Court observed that an interpretation given by an arbitral tribunal as to the scope and purport of an excepted matter clause is ultimately a matter of interpretation of a contract and the high threshold required under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act would have to be established to declare such a finding as patently illegal.

In Overnite Express Limited v. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the Court reiterated that it was impermissible to grant any relief under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act which would amount to granting specific performance of a contract which was otherwise barred under the principles enshrined under Section 14 (1) (c) and Section 41(e) of the Specific Relief Act ,1963 (‘SRA).

In Sterling and Wilson International FZE v. Sunshakti Solar Power Projects Private Limited, while reiterating the parameters for grant of an order of attachment before judgment in exercise of powers under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act, the Court while granting the relief as prayed for, noted as a critical element the fact that the supplies made by the petitioner to the respondent were admittedly functional and generating revenue for the respondent, and that the realization of dues would be a time consuming and onerous process on account of certain contractual complexities.

In Gammon India v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court while deprecating the phenomenon of multiple arbitrations arising out of a contract between the parties, issued a slew of directions to attempt to streamline the prosecution and disposal of various arbitration references. The Court further observed that the merits of an award have to be tested on its individual anvil and not on the basis of a subsequent award and the findings contained therein.

BANKING AND FINANCE

In Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited v. Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, the Court held that the existence of a war-like situation in a foreign country in which the party seeking to encash the bank guarantee was situated, along with the background of earlier injunction orders passed by the Court having been violated with impunity, would evidently reveal the existence of a case of special equities. thereby warranting an interim injunction against invocation of an unconditional bank guarantee.

In VISTRA ITCL (India) Limited v. Lalit Kumar Jain, the court held that a secured creditor has a higher claim on the property of a debtor than even a party which is armed with a decree of the Court inasmuch as the latter is ultimately an unsecured creditor. The Court further held that the plea of equity could not be invoked in such a situation to seek to catapult the unsecured creditor over the secured creditor.

CIVIL PROCEDURE

In Manjeet Singh Kohli v. Mirajuddin, while interpreting Order XXIII Rule 1A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’) dealing with the issue of transposition, the Court observed that in terms of the said provision, an application for transposition could only be filed when the plaintiff withdraws the suit or when the plaintiff abandons the suit, and therefore there could be no question of transposition in a situation where the suit was neither withdrawn nor abandoned.

In Bhubaneshwar Expressways Private Limited v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court held that inasmuch as a bank guarantee represents an independent contract between the banker and the beneficiary, the beneficiary was only required to deal with the guarantor i.e. the banker and not the party at whose instance the bank guarantee has been given. The Court, therefore, observed that there cannot be an objection against the withdrawal of money against a bank guarantee premised on the alleged nature or identity of the party at whose instance the bank guarantee was being given.

In Modtech Furniture Private Limited v. Ncube Planning Design Private Limited, while observing that the applicability of Section 14 of the Limitation Act to a particular situation has to be examined on the touchstone of whether the plaintiff was able to establish due diligence and good faith in prosecuting the matter before another forum, the Court further held that the said aspect would be a mixed question of law and fact and therefore it would not be apposite to reject a suit under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC on the said ground.

In Shogun Organics Limited v. Gaur Hari Guchhait, the Court reiterated that the filing of multiple applications for the same relief without any disclosure as to the pendency of the existing applications represents a gross abuse of process and is to be curbed with a heavy hand.

In Fullerton India Credit Limited v. Aftab Ahmed, the Court reiterated that the mere mentioning of an incorrect provision in an application would not denude the power of the Court to consider the same in accordance with the correct provisions.

In Kumkum Talwar. v. Natasha Kohli, while reiterating that in the case of a conflict between justice and procedural rules it is the former which must prevail, the Court held that it is inherent in the art of judging that a judge is able to discern when an exception is to be made to the rules in the overarching interest of justice.

In Dr. Hans U Nagar v. John Nagar, the Court held that an order declining to invalidate a compromise decree on the ground that the subsequent facts and circumstances relating to the non-cooperative conduct of one of the parties had inured a right in the counter-party to seek such invalidation would be an appealable order under Section 10 of the Delhi High Court Act, 1966.

COMPANY LAW AND INSOLVENCY

In Iyogi Technical Services Private Limited, the Court reiterated that criminal proceedings could not be stayed in exercise of the power under Section 391(6) of the Companies Act, 1956, and only civil proceedings could be sought to be stayed.

In VISTRA ITCL (India) Limited v. Lalit Kumar Jain, the Court reiterated that when the allegations as regards oppression and mismanagement actually amount to a clearly discernible civil dispute as reflected by the seeking of reliefs for recovery of money with interest, then in such a case the jurisdiction of the Civil Court could not be said to be barred by Section 430 of the Companies Act, 2013.

In GE Power India Limited v. NHPC Limited, the Court refused to entertain a suit and relegated the parties to the National Company Law Tribunal (‘NCLT’) inasmuch as it held that the entitlement to utilize certain technical drawings pertaining to a project which fell within the ambit of a Resolution Plan would not amount to a dispute as to licenses or benefits under the contract or license to which the corporate debtor is entitled, and hence would fall within the ambit of Section 60(5) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (‘IBC’) and the jurisdiction of the civil Court would accordingly be barred in view of Sections 230 and 231 of the IBC.

In Pankaj Aggarwal v. Union of India, the Court stayed proceedings before the NCLT, when from the record it was clear that the NCLT had entertained an insolvency petition under Section 9 of the IBC on the ground that the amount in default was approximately Rs. 1 Lakh, in ignorance of the notification dated 24.03.2020 which had increased the threshold limit to maintain a petition under Section 9 of the IBC from INR 1 Lakh to INR 1 Crore.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

The Court in Jitendra Singh v. Securitrans India Private Limited, held that merely because a private entity had entered into contracts with different banks for collection of currency and for re-filling ATM machines with the same, this by itself cannot be described as a public function so as to result in the private entity being recognized as an instrumentality of the State.

In Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited v. Rampal, while expounding upon the system of Lok Adalats, the Court held that only a forum that falls within the meaning of Section 19 or Section 22B of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 (‘LSA Act’) and has the composition and constitution as mandated by the statutory provisions, can be said to amount to a Lok Adalat or a Permanent Lok Adalat respectively. The Court further reiterated that a Lok Adalat is only entrusted with conciliatory powers and cannot perform adjudicatory functions, especially a Lok Adalat setup under the Electricity Act, 2003 (‘Electricity Act’) which under Sections 126 & 127 of the Electricity Act. thereof. itself provides a separate mechanism for adjudicating disputes on the merits.

CONTEMPT

In Mohd. Shitab Khan v. S M Ali- CEO Delhi Waqf Board, the Court reiterated that the scope of contempt proceedings was very narrow and only concerned with the enforcement of the order/judgment and any submissions on the merits of the matter had necessarily to be made before the Court which had passed the original order/judgment which was sought to be enforced.

In Ratan Lal v. Durga Shankar Mishra, the Court held that in contempt jurisdiction, the proposed filing of an appeal against the order sought to be enforced would not be a ground to refuse to comply with the order in the interregnum.

In Upendra Singh v. Kuldeep Singh Sachdeva, the Court observed that when the order sought to be enforced restrained the respondent specifically from making appointments on a contractual basis to the post where the petitioner was also working as a contractual employee, it could not be said that the initiation of a selection process for making a regular appointment to the post would amount to contempt.

COVID-19

In Veer Vikrant Chauhan v. Union of India, the Court rejected a challenge to the fixation of tariff qua the minimum and maximum fare for flights inasmuch as it noted that such an exercise pertained purely to an economic matter which the Courts would not interfere with particularly in light of the fact that section 8(B)(1) of the Aircraft Act, 1934 specifically clothed the Central Government with the power to take such necessary measures in the case of the outbreak of a pandemic.

In Arjun Aggarwal v. Union of India, the Court rejected a challenge to the notification easing the lockdown and observed that in light of the continuation of the COVID-19 outbreak, a proper balance was required to be struck between containing the spread on the one hand and ensuring that the economy does not completely shut down, thereby resulting in other problems such as starvation etc. on the other.

In Shreekant Gupta v. University of Delhi, the Court while rejecting a challenge to deduction of one day’s salary for the purpose of contributing to the PM Cares Fund inter-alia observed that considering the amount of the deduction in the background of the challenge faced by the COVID-19 outbreak, the same could not be said to be contrary to public interest or harsh or inequitable.

In Akash Jandial v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court refused to interfere with the post-declaration procedure as contained in the containment plan formulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the ground that no manifest arbitrariness or perversity could be said to be evident.

In Ganga Ram Hospital v. State, the Court inter-alia justified restraining the police from further investigation on the basis of a First Information Report (‘FIR’) against certain irregularities in operationalizing the COVID-19 reporting mechanism on the ground that a hospital is a one cohesive unit, which includes its medical staff, and allowing the investigation to proceed at the present stage would necessarily include issuance of summons, visits by police personnel other associated activities etc. and which would undoubtedly interfere with and be detrimental to the effective functioning of the hospital as a whole at a time when its contribution was critical in battling the pandemic.

In Behruddin v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court observed that the decision of the High Powered Committee to decongest the jails in view of the COVID-19 outbreak are to be ordinarily adhered to, and the onus would be on the prosecution to demonstrate why the concerned accused should not be discharged on bail if he/she otherwise met the criterion put by the Committee.

In KKR India Private Financial Services Litmited v. Williamson Magor & Company Limited, the Court observed that though in light of the restricted functioning of the Court on account of the COVID-19 outbreak, a matter is to be listed for hearing in the normal course only upon consent having been given by both parties, this in no manner precludes the Court, in appropriate cases, from allowing an early-hearing application filed by one party and to accordingly fix the matter for hearing at an early date.

In Divya Gauba v. Union of India, the Court while reiterating that transfer is an exigency of service, refused to quash a transfer order requiring the petitioner to report back to duty in India despite the COVID-19 outbreak. The Court however required the organization to ensure all precautions for safe travel, while also extending the date of re-joining by a few weeks.

In Eros Grand Resorts & Hotels Private Limited v. Government of NCT of Delhi, while noting the emergent situation which had arisen on account of the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, the Court rejected a challenge to an order seeking to allow the requisition of a hotel for conversion into a treatment facility. The Court, however, observed that such requisition must also be accompanied with payment of requisite compensation.

While refusing to entertain a general Public Interest Litigation (‘PIL’) against alleged violation of standards of manufacture of personal protective equipment (‘PPE’) kits, the Court in Amit Jain v. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, held that in the case of an allegation being made in relation to violation of guidelines by a particular manufacturer, the alleged violator was necessarily required to be joined as a party to the PIL so that the said entity could effectively address the allegations against it.

While rejecting a prayer for waiver of rent on account of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Court in Gaurav Jain v. Union of India, observed that granting such a prayer would amount to extending ‘charity beyond law’ and which would undoubtedly lead to injustice for a certain section of the population.

The Court in Hemant Singh v. Government of NCT of Delhi, while noting that the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases required experimental solutions and could not be bound down to a hard-and-fast formula, nonetheless directed the Government to increase the number of beds as also ventilators to ensure that all patients had access to the requisite medical facilities.

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

In Mother Minor Victim No. 1 & 2 v. State, the Court held that even though there was no specific scheme for awarding compensation to victims under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POSCO Act’), the Scheme put in place by the National Legal Services Authority viz. the Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other Crimes, 2018, was required to be considered as a guideline for awarding compensation for victims under the POSCO Act. The Court further held that it was not open for the Trial Court to delegate the power of determination of the compensation payable to a minor victim to the concerned Legal Services Authority.

In Navendu Babbar v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court expounded on what constitutes non-cooperation in an investigation so as to justify refusal of bail. The Court held the cooperation could not extend to the investigation officer requiring every shred of evidence or relevant material in the case being handed over and that the fundamental right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution was also required to be kept in mind. The Court further held that investigation has to be a time-bound and structured process, and cannot amount to a roving and fishing enquiry by the prosecution to be conducted at its own leisure.

In Chirag Madan v. Union of India, the Court held that whenever a Court proposes to rely upon a report of a jail superintendent or that of the investigating officer, then under ordinary circumstances, a copy of the same should be supplied to the accused applicant so that he/she is then able to prosecute the case properly by taking into account the contents of the report.

In Narendra Sharma v. State, the Court recognized that in certain cases it was open to the Police Authorities to not upload the First Information Report (‘FIR’) in sensitive cases after a decision is taken in this regard by high ranking administrative officers and that this exception would apply to the general rule which required uploading of all FIRs.

In Sat Prakash Soni v. Union of India, the Court while reiterating the principles laid down in the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ankit Ashok Jalan v. Union of India [2020 SCC OnLine SC 288] and holding that there was a mandatory obligation on the part of the detaining authority under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, to expeditiously consider and adjudicate upon the representation of the detained person, and that failure to do so would violate constitutional rights thereby leading to invalidation of the order. The Court further observed that the High Court was not competent to get into the question as to whether Ankit Ashok Jalan (Supra) was intended to have prospective overruling or not inasmuch as the said question could only be urged before the Supreme Court.

In Aqil Hussain v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court observed that the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 need not mandatorily be investigated by the National Investigation Agency, and other police establishments are equally competent to investigate such cases.

In Harjeet Kaur @ Ruby Bhatia v. State, while reiterating the fundamental difference between a request for bail during trial as opposed to a prayer for suspension of sentence after conviction, the Court observed that in the case of the former unless there was a prima facie case made out regarding the guilt of the applicant, the application for bail should be considered favourably.

In Ganga Ram Hospital v. State, after a detailed conspectus of the law in relation to interference with an investigation at a preliminary stage, the Court reiterated that the primary benchmark to be considered in this regard by the Court is as to whether the allegation and the recital in the FIR disclose a cognizable offence or not, and if the answer to the question is in the negative, then there could not be said to be an absolute bar in interfering with the investigation or in interdicting the process of the FIR. The Court further reiterated that even though a FIR need not be an encyclopaedia of all minute factual details, it must on an overall conspectus, at least demonstrate commission of a cognizable offence.

In Shehzada Khalid v. The State (NCT of Delhi), the Court reiterated that when the materials before the Court indicated the prima facie involvement of the applicant in the alleged crime, as also the fact that the applicant had prior criminal antecedents, no case for interim bail could be said to be made out.

In Directorate of Enforcement v. Rajiv Saxena, while expounding upon the methodology and principles applicable to revocation of pardon, the Court observed that the concealment of essential facts or tendering of false evidence by the approver in order to justify revocation of pardon has necessarily to relate to his evidence, as recorded during trial under Section 306 (4) of the Cr. P.C., and cannot relate to the approver’s conduct during the investigation. Thus, the Court held that a certificate recommending revocation of pardon issued by the public prosecutor before any evidence of the approver had been recorded under Section 306 (4) of the Cr. P.C. would be pre-mature.

In Vishal Yadav v. The State, the Court held that inasmuch as the Delhi Prison Rules were in exercise of powers conferred under Section 71 of the Delhi Prisons Act, 2000, the stipulations contained therein in relation to release on emergency parole could not be casually overridden while considering an entitlement to emergency parole

While setting aside an order of conviction under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) the Court in Reena v. State of NCT of Delhi, held that when a reading of the suicide note did not evidence any direct nexus between the wife leaving the matrimonial home and the subsequent suicide of her husband and it seemed that the deceased husband was also under a lot of stress on account of ancillary factors such as outstanding loans, it could not be said that the ingredients under Section 306 of the IPC in relation to abetment of suicide had been made out against the estranged wife.

In Ravi Kapur v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, the Court reiterated that the inherent power of the High Court, under the Cr.P.C., was to be exercised sparingly when the party approaching the Court had already availed the remedy of first revision before the Sessions Court.

In Satendra Pal Singh Malik v. Dhirendra Raj, the Court held that a police complaint filed in relation to the alleged theft of a cheque leaf, when vague in material particulars and containing self-contradictory averments, would not be sufficient for the Court to exercise powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. and quash the proceedings at a preliminary stage.

In Rajni Goswami v. The State, the Court held that once the case stands committed to the Court of Sessions for further proceedings under Section 209 of the Cr.P.C. then there is no possibility of any pre-charge evidence and the Sessions Court has to proceed to hear arguments on charge. If after such hearing, the Sessions Court is of the opinion that there is a ground for presuming that the accused had committed an offense which is not exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions, then a charge may be framed and the case be transferred for trial to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (‘CJM’) or any other magistrate.

In Madhvi Singh v. G. K. Hada, while reiterating the purpose of bringing in the amendment to Section 202(1) of the Cr.P.C. which was to save the accused living at far off places from unnecessary harassment in vexatious complaints, the Court further held that an enquiry ought to have been conducted in this regard when a tenant sought to rope in a landlord who did not live in Delhi into a criminal prosecution.

In Rakesh v. State, while overturning a conviction for an offence under Section 6 of the POSCO Act, the Court reiterated that even though the sole testimony of a rape victim is sufficient to sustain a conviction if the testimony is of sterling quality, however, when there were manifest contradictions in the testimony coupled with unclear medical evidence of the alleged injury sustained, then the accused was entitled to an acquittal.

In Pankaj Verma alias Nikhil v. State, the Court reiterated that a direction for the sentences to run concurrently can be passed by the trial court or even the appellate or revisional Court. Keeping in mind, the aim to reform a person as opposed to merely incarcerating him/her for a long period of time, the Court directed for the sentences in the relevant case to run concurrently after having noted the long incarceration of the convict.

In Lal Singh v. State, the Court rejected a bail application inasmuch as it found that there were clear discrepancies found in the documents provided by the accused to the investigating officer in the course of investigation.

In Mohammed Hanif v. Narcotics Control Bureau, the Court reiterated that the essential pre-requisites under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (‘NDPS Act’) are mandatorily to be established in order to make out a case for grant of bail.

In Prakash Jarwal v. State, the Court while granting bail to an accused, against whom there were charges inter-alia of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of the IPC, observed that a mere complaint about the working of a government employee by the MLA of the concerned area, in the absence of any direct allegations against the said MLA in the suicide note, cannot be a said to be a proximate and live-link resulting in the subsequent suicide.

In Sunny v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi), the Court while rejecting regular bail in a prosecution under Section 6 of the POSCO Act, noted that there were specific allegations against the accused and that not only was there no contradiction in the statements under Sections 161 and 164 of the Cr.P.C., yet further the medical examination had also confirmed injuries to the prosecutrix.

In Miss G (Minor) through Her v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court frowned upon repeated non-compliance of the mandatory condition of issuance of notice and service of the notice to the complainant in bail applications filed on behalf of those accused who are facing trial under the provisions of Sections 376(3), 376- AB, 376 - DA or 376 DB of the IPC as also under the provisions of POSCO Act, and directed strict observance of the same.

In Saurabh Sharma v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court while stressing on the need to encourage reformation, permitted grant of parole to the convict who had several years ago escaped from custody while being produced in court after noting that in the continuous period of custody thereafter for seven years, his conduct had been above board.

EDUCATION

In Alisha Gupta v. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, while reiterating the need to strictly adhere to the methodology prescribed in a particular Rule or Ordinance, the Court held that a vague notice which does not specifically inform a student about him/her being detained in the academic year and being ineligible to appear in an examination, coupled with the delay in issuing the notice, would render the same as non-compliant with the relevant rule in this regard which required not only specific but also timely notice to the students sought to be debarred.

In Abhishek v. University of Delhi, while upholding the decision to conduct the Open Book Examination (‘OBE’), the Court, however, directed the concerned university to permit an option to students who did not wish to appear in the OBE to appear in entrance examinations for post-graduate courses subject to giving an undertaking that such permission was conditional upon their clearing the necessary examinations which were proposed to be conducted via conventional means later in the year.

In Dr. Vivek Kumar v. National Board of Examination, the Court held that when there was a clear cut-off date for determining eligibility, merely because the examination selection process had become prolonged would not entitle the otherwise ineligible candidates to claim eligibility on this account.

In Samridhi Sushil Sharma v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that in cases concerning admission into educational courses when a meritorious candidate has approached the Court without any delay but the eventual adjudication in favour of the candidate is delayed to the extent that admission in the concerned academic year is no longer possible, then the Court was empowered to mould the relief and direct admission in the next academic session.

The Court in Balvinder Sangwan v. State (GNCT) of Delhi through Chief Secretary, held that when a matter was exclusively within the jurisdiction of the governing council of a university to decide upon, then the university could not have unilaterally taken any such decision on account of the pressure exerted by the concerned State Government.

In Nisha v. Union of India, (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), the Court observed that when there was a specific grant of approval to an educational institution to increase seats under the EWS quota, then it would not be proper for the said institution to not allot the said seats under the EWS quota to eligible students.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

In Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India (MOEFCC), the Court observed that an ambiguity in a notification calling for comments on a far-reaching environmental policy must be resolved in favor of the public whose comments are invited thereby and the more liberal date should therefore be preferred in the case of a conflict. The Court further observed that inasmuch as an environmental notification has pan-India application and has far reaching consequences therefore, in order for an effective consultation process it must be ensured that the notification in question should be issued in all languages mentioned in the VIIIth Schedule to the Constitution so as to ensure greater dissemination thereof and consequent public participation.

Amit George
Amit George

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.

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