The Delhi High Court in Review: September 2019 [Part II]
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The Delhi High Court in Review: September 2019 [Part II]

Bar & Bench

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 overview 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 1 of the column, below are the further judgments from the Delhi High Court for the month of September, segregated as per practice areas.

Intellectual Property Rights

In Mylan Laboratories Limited v. Union of India & Ors.,[i] the Court, while considering the scope and ambit of Section 25 of The Patents Act, 1970, (‘Patents Act’) reiterated that no appeal or writ would lie against an order deciding a pre-grant opposition and the appropriate remedy for the aggrieved party would be to either file a post-grant opposition or an application for revocation.

In M/s Psychotropics India Ltd v. M/s Syncom Healthcare Ltd,[ii] the Court held that while it is a trite proposition that the provisions of Order XXVI Rule 18A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’) pertaining to appointment of local commissioners are applicable even to execution proceedings, the appointment of local commissioners in execution proceedings relating to trademark infringement, involving pharmaceutical and medical preparations, would be all the more necessary for seizure of the offending goods inasmuch as otherwise not only would the decree holder’s rights be set at naught on account of continuing infringement, yet further, the public interest would also be adversely affected as the infringing products would be available in the open market and consumed by unsuspecting patients.

In Saregama India Limited v. Balaji Motion Pictures Limited & Ors.,[iii] the Court after examining a song of which copyright infringement was alleged, noted that where the infringing song had such a similar catch-line so as to be referred to and identified with the original song protected by copyright, then infringement could clearly be said to have been established. The Court further noted that when the defendant has not even pleaded any right in the song protected by copyright, and which the defendant also admitted to be iconic in nature, then de-hors the aspect of ownership of the copyright, the public law element behind preventing theft of intellectual property would also validate a restraint order against the defendant.

In Reliance Life Sciences Private Limited v. M/s Genentech Inc. & Ors.,[iv] the Court found fault with the condition in a restraint order which provided for the placing of a qualifier before an international non-proprietary name of a drug inasmuch as the same would be contrary to Rule 96 of the Drug & Cosmetic Rule, 1945, which Rules would have precedence over the World Health Organization Guidelines of 2015 and the practice followed in foreign countries.

Labour and Service Law

In Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd v. Nackchad,[v] the Court held that even though amendments to a claim statement made by a workman were allowed at a stage when the evidence of the workman already stood completed, the same was permissible in as much as the amendments in question were only clarificatory in nature and yet further, the workman had also undertaken not to lead any fresh evidence in support of application for amendment.

The Court in Contentra Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. Nikhil Pal[vi]  interpreted that Rule 7(1) of the Payment Of Gratuity (Central) Rules, 1972 (‘Gratuity Rules’) does not lay down any such requirement that the claim petition before the controlling authority under the Payment Of Gratuity Act, 1972 (‘Gratuity Act’) must be mandatorily made within 30 days of the date of termination by the employer.

In Rajesh Kumar & Ors. v. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board & Ors.,[vii] the Court held that an employer is always entitled to stipulate conditions for appointment to a particular post which are over and above the basic academic/professional qualifications required for a particular post.

In Delhi Transport Corporation v. Vijay Kumar,[viii] the Court deprecated the action of reassigning the same duties to a workman which he had been held to be medically unfit to perform on account of having suffered a disability and termed it as an attempt to overreach the beneficial provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (‘PWD Act’).

In Dharam Vir & Ors. v. BGS International Public School & Ors.,[ix] the Court held that the Delhi School Tribunal would have no jurisdiction over determining the validity of retrenchment of certain drivers by a school in as much as the remedy for the said persons lay within the purview of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (‘ID Act’).

In Dinesh Kumar v. Tread Stone Ltd. & Anr.,[x] the Court observed that a request for an experience certificate by the employee concerned would be a relevant factor, in conjunction with other circumstances, to determine the factum of voluntary abandonment of services by the employee.

While construing Sections 75 & 78 of the Employees Insurance Corporation Act, 1948 (‘ESIC Act’), the Court in Employees State Insurance Corporation v. M/s. G L Management Services (P) Ltd. & Anr.,[xi] held that even though the concerned court has leeway to decide matters thereunder without recording of evidence, a sudden termination of the process of recording of evidence pursuant to framing of issues and without assigning any reasons, could not be countenanced.

In Gopal v. UOI & Anr.,[xii] the Court reiterated the limited role of the government while making a reference under Section 10 of the ID Act and held, that it can never be a substitute for the full-blown adjudicatory process which the Labor Court is expected to perform.

In Ravi Kumar v. Lok Nayak Hospital through Medical Superintendent,[xiii] the Court opined that it was not proper to merely rely upon the source of income of the retrenched employees for the purpose of ascertaining as to whether they were in fact employees of the hospital in question or of the contractor employed by the hospital. The Court further noted that such a uni-dimensional determination would be contrary to the ethos of the ID Act.

In Prof. S K Atreya v. Union Of India & Anr.,[xiv] the Court held that once a post had been relinquished by the employee concerned while opting for a higher post, the employee could not seek to claim reversion to the original post when through a subsequent development the terms of the retirement of the original post became more attractive.

In Ramjivan Gupta v. Jagran Prakashan Ltd.,[xv] the Court opined that with the ID Act being a beneficial legislation, which was geared towards improving the conditions of the labor force, the Labor Court should not rush to close the right of the workman to lead his/her evidence and requisite leeway should be granted in this regard.

In Poonam Garg v. IFCI Venture Capital Funds Ltd. through its Managing Director & Ors.,[xvi] it was reiterated that in the absence of any specific provision in the applicable regulations imposing conditions on withdrawal of a request for voluntary retirement, the general applicable principles permitted an employee to seek withdrawal of a request for resignation or voluntary retirement before it came into effect or operation. The Court held that it was a relevant consideration in favor of the employee that the request for withdrawal had been made within a very short period of the application for voluntary retirement and before the appointment of a new employee on the said post or expending of any resources for training a new employee. The Court further observed, that once the applicable regulations did not require the furnishing of reasons for seeking voluntary retirement, then it would be impermissible to require reasons for withdrawal of the application. In addition, the Court opined that the general principles of withdrawal of resignation or voluntary retirement would also be applicable to contractual employment and the employer could not be permitted to act in violation of the contractual scheme and its own regulations, particularly when the employer was admittedly a government undertaking.

In Suman Forwarding Agency Pvt. Ltd v. The Chief Patron/Vice President/General Secretary, Central Warehousing Corporation Majdoor Union,[xvii] the Court directed all departments of the Central Government as also its Public Sector Undertakings to give effect to the relevant office memorandums to effectuate the direction for ‘equal pay for equal work’ for all temporarily engaged employees in terms of the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Punjab v. Jagjit Singh,[xviii] entitling the employees to the minimum of the regular pay scale.

In MCD v. Shanti Devi,[xix] the Court reiterated that the disengagement of a worker employed on a daily wage basis when the said workmen had not completed 240 days of service in the preceding year would not attract section 25 (g) and (h) of the ID Act.

In State Bank Of India v. V.K. Bakshi,[xx] the Court noted the expansive and special discretionary power available to the Labor Court under Section 11(a) of the ID Act, to interfere with the penalty imposed by the employer when the same was found to be unjustified or arbitrary.

The Court in Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited v. Chetan Kandpal & Anr,[xxi] while proceeding to set aside an award of the labor Court as being palpably unreasoned, noted that a mere mechanical reproduction of the written submissions of the parties could not be a substitute for reasons.

In Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. v. Employee Provident Fund Organisation & Anr.,[xxii] the Court noted that the authority under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (‘EPF Act’) can under Section 8F(3)(1) require a third party to pay the recoverable provident fund dues of a defaulting employer only once there is no serious contestation that the said third party indeed holds money on behalf of the said employer. In the face of a serious and factually complex dispute in this regard, the authority could not proceed to perform an adjudicatory task and to decide inter-se rights and liabilities of parties.

In Gajraj Singh v. Delhi Transport Corporation,[xxiii] the Court noted that in a domestic inquiry where a workman had been supplied all documents relating to the charges leveled against him, and the workman was also offered the assistance of a co-worker which was declined, and when all the minutes of the inquiry proceedings contained the workman’s signatures, then it could not be said that the inquiry was not conducted in line with the principles of natural justice.

In Lalita v. Suraj Kanya Shishkalaya & Anr.,[xxiv] while examining the relevant provisions of the Delhi School Education Act & Rules, 1973, the Court held that when a teacher did not possess the requisite qualifications then the non-consideration for the post of a primary teacher and subsequent termination from services despite the teacher having been initially formally appointed on a temporary basis could not be said to be illegal.

In Tara Chand v. Union of India,[xxv] the Court elaborated upon the impermissibility of an application for change of date of birth when made with gross delay after having joined government service. The Court noted the general rule in this regard as enshrined in Fundamental Rule 56 as reflected in the various circulars issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (‘DoPT’), which provides that such an application is required to be made within 5 years of joining employment.

In NDMC v. Vinod Bansal,[xxvi] the Court refused to interfere with the exoneration of an engineer working with the department against charges of negligence of performance of duty in taking action against unauthorized construction inasmuch as it was found that the said person was posted in the concerned area where the unauthorized construction took place for a very short period and even during the said period the person had admittedly taken action against the unauthorized action including by sealing the property.

In K.L. Meena v. Union of India,[xxvii] the Court reiterated that unless it is demonstrated that a charge sheet has been issued by an authority which is not competent, then ordinarily a charge-sheet cannot be interfered with during the pendency of the departmental inquiry.

In Union of India v. Kuntesh,[xxviii] while determining eligibility towards family pension, the Court reiterated that when a government employee is employed in a temporary capacity for a long period of time stretching into decades, then it would be unfair to deny the pensionary benefits to the deceased widow of the said employee upon his demise.

In Kanwaljit Singh v Union of India & Ors.,[xxix] the Court noted that it was inapposite to draw a comparison between members of the paramilitary forces and members of the armed forces and that absolute equality between the two in matters of pay and allowance could not be claimed. It was further clarified that Overseas Subsistence Allowance (‘OFA’) was an additional entitlement over and above the salary, and therefore the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ would not have strict application.

In Arvind Ghildiyal v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxx] the Court reiterated that a failure to supply the opinions and findings of the Staff Court of Inquiry along with the show-cause notice would vitiate the order issued by the Director General consequent to the said show-cause notice.

In Manager Geeta Lal Bharti Sr. Sec. School & Anr. v. Ramesh Chander Dubey & Anr.,[xxxi] the Court while interpreting Rule 115(4) of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973 (‘DSE Rules’) held that in a scenario where an employee had already been terminated from services, such an employee could not be sought to be placed under suspension unless the termination was subsequently set aside in law. The Court further held that under Rule 115(4) of the DSE Rules, the suspension could only apply prospectively in the absence of an enquiry prior to the termination, even if the termination order was subsequently held to be bad in law, and not from the date of termination.

In Chandra Mohan Singh Bhandari v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxxii] the Court reiterated that a deputationist could not, as a matter of right, demand to be absorbed in the department to which he had been deputed, and an order of repatriation to the parent department could not be questioned except when there was a palpably unreasoned curtailment of the term of deputation or where the order of repatriation was mala-fide in nature. While considering an entitlement to a permanent secondment, the Court in Colonel Vijynath Jha v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxxiii] similarly observed that there is no such inherent right and at the best there is only a right to be considered for the said permanent secondment.

In Jaiprakash & Ors. v. DG of Works, CPWD,[xxxiv] while examining the entitlement to regularization in the peculiar facts of the said case, the Court noted that in the absence of any specific higher post of an enquiry clerk against which the petitioners were claiming regularization, on the ground that they were performing similar functions, would be a valid ground for denying immediate regularization particularly when there was already an existing direction that as and when such a post would be created the case of the petitioners would be considered with the attendant benefits of age relaxation within a specified period.

The Court in Group Captain Tarun Saha v. Director General Border Security Force & Ors.,[xxxv] held that while determining eligibility for absorption, the authorities concerned have to go strictly by the relevant recruitment rules and the terms and conditions set out in the advertisement, and additional criteria extraneous to the above could not be sought to be adduced subsequently.

In Dileep Kumar v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxxvi] the Court upheld the rejection of issuance of a no-objection certificate and consequent discharge from the Indian Air Force inasmuch as it was found that the Petitioner while applying for a post in a government department under the applicable rules had made a false declaration as to the nature and pay scale of the post that he was applying for.

In Ex. H.C./G.D. Prahalad v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxxvii] the Court deprecated the stand of the Border Security Force in not extending the benefit of certain court decisions covering the issue at hand to all similarly placed individuals while observing that the same would result in needless litigation forcing each aggrieved individual person to file individual petitions.

In Dr. Tarkeshwar Prasad v. Union of India & Ors.,[xxxviii] the Court noted that when adverse remarks are sketchy and vague in nature such as the employee concerned taking inordinately long to complete a task, having a superficial approach and requiring constant reminders, then in the absence of any contemporaneous warning letter or memo specifying the exact nature of the conduct complained of,  it would be nearly impossible for the employee concerned to make an effective representation against the said entries. The Court deprecated such a casual manner of making entries and accordingly quashed the same as unsustainable.

In Secretary, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) & Ors. v. IARI Stenographers Welfare Association & Ors.,[xxxix] the Court held that the mere fact that there might be a logistical difficulty in merging of two different cadres would not be a ground to deny parity of pay scale.

In Gaurav & Ors. v. Union of India & Anr.,[xl] on a review of the applicable provisions of the Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987 (‘RPFR’) and Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 (‘RPFA’), the Court held that there was no inherent right for an employee of the Railway Protection Special Force to be eligible for a lateral transfer to the Railway Protection Force.

In Commandant V.S. Shekhawat v. Union of India & Ors.,[xli] the Court quashed and set aside the Office Memorandum dated 28.03.2006 issued by the DoPT inasmuch as the same was contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court in Dev Dutt v. Union of India[xlii] wherein the Supreme Court had held that all entries, whether adverse or not, are required to be communicated to an employee inasmuch as it is the ultimate effect which the entry has which determines its true nature. The Office Memorandum in question which was quashed only provided for the communication of adverse entries.

In Suman Devi v. Union of India & Anr.,[xliii] the Court rejected a report by a Court of Inquiry instituted by the Central Reserve Police Force which had arrived at the conclusion that the deceased husband of the Petitioner had committed suicide inasmuch as glaring inconsistencies were found in the said report and it was found that no real ground work or an examination of the scene was conducted, thereby rendering the report completely unacceptable.

In Union of India & Ors. v. Shiv Raj Singh Meena,[xliv] the Court noted that when aside from obvious violations of the principles of natural justice, such as non-supply of readable copies, the open interference during the course of investigation and determination of punishment by the vigilance department which had clearly overawed the disciplinary authority would also be a relevant ground for interfering with the disciplinary proceedings. On a related note, in Union of India & Anr. v. Neeraj Sharma & Anr.,[xlv] the Court held that the advise rendered by the Union Public Services Commission is not binding on the disciplinary authority and the latter is required to independently apply its mind before coming to a conclusion.

In Union of India v. Deep Chand Sharma (Retd.) & Ors.,[xlvi] the Court held that when ad hoc promotions were effected in different tranches, then the date of appointment for ascertaining seniority cannot be the date when the vacancies arose and instead had to be reckoned from the date on which the persons concerned started functioning on ad-hoc basis, subject of course, to existing vacancies being available on the said dates.

In Ex. Constable Subhash Singh v. Government of India & Anr.,[xlvii] the Court upheld the punishment of dismissal from service of a Border Security Force constable who had visited a village adjoining the border outpost where he was stationed without prior permission, and which conduct was contrary to the standard operating procedure in this regard.

In Ashwini Khullar v. DDA & Ors.,[xlviii] the Court reiterated the distinction between the concepts of seniority and eligibility in service jurisprudence and noted that seniority cannot prevail by itself when eligibility itself is lacking.

In Jawahar T & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.,[xlix] the Court directed the extension of the benefit of Old Pension Scheme (‘OPS’) to the aggrieved Petitioners while holding that there could be no discrimination in this regard between similarly placed batch-mates and the mere fortuitous circumstance of a candidate being sent for training at a later date, though recruited at the same time as other batch-mates, could not be a basis for denying this benefit of OPS.

In Dr. Aartiben R. Thakkar v. Delhi Pharmaceutical Science & Research University & Anr.,[l] the Court held that though even a female employee on contractual basis is entitled to maternity leave, the said benefit would come to an end upon the expiry of the period of the contract and could not be enjoyed subsequent thereto.

In Apeejay School v. Ved Prakash Lakhera & Anr.,[li] the Court held there would be a violation of principles of natural justice when the witnesses presented during the enquiry were also found to be extensively involved in the initiation and subsequent conduct of disciplinary proceedings against the employee in proceedings under the Delhi School Education Act and Rules, 1973.

Land Acquisition

In Sarita Gupta v. MCD.,[lii] the Court held that private landowners cannot be derived of their property by a Municipal Corporation unless the said privately owned land was acquired under an agreement or through the formal process of acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (‘LA’ Act) and after payment of the requisite compensation. In this regard, it was further noted that merely because the stated use of the land was for road building and widening would not mean that it could be usurped without following the due process of law.

In Laxman Singh v. Land Acquisition Collector/A.D.M & Ors,[liii] the Court rejected a petition under the LA Act seeking a declaration qua lapsing of the acquisition proceedings on the ground of delay and laches and observed that the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 does not permit revival of claims that are patently time-barred and which demonstrate total inaction on the part of the aggrieved persons for a long period of time.

In Anita Gupta v. Union of India,[liv] the Court while examining Clause 2 of the proviso to Section 6 of the LA Act held that where a fresh declaration under Section 6 of the Act was issued beyond a period of one year from the date when the original declaration under Section 6 was quashed by a competent Court, the said declaration would be beyond the period of limitation and the land acquisition would accordingly stand lapsed.

In Dinesh Jindal v. DDA,[lv] the Court observed that a challenge to the acquisition proceedings could not be maintained by a subsequent purchaser claiming to be in possession when it was demonstrated that the original allotment of the land to the predecessor-in-interest was made under a special scheme on lease basis for a limited period and at an extremely subsidized lease rent.

Limitation

In Delhi Development Authority v. Brahmaputra Infrastructure Ltd.,[lvi] the Court upheld the finding of the trial court that the law of limitation does not bar the rectification of computational or other errors which may have crept into a plaint when the claim for the amount already exists in the original suit so filed.

While considering whether Article 1 of the Limitation Act, 1963 (‘Limitation Act’) would apply, the Court in Mongia Realty and Buildwell Pvt. Ltd. v. Manik Sethi,[lvii] held that when the payments were intended as partial discharge of obligations, then it could not be said that the accounts maintained between the parties were open, current and mutual.

In Pitam Singh & Anr. v. Union Of India,[lviii] while bemoaning the lack of ameliorative provisions in the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 (‘Railway Act’) in the nature of sections 158(6) and 166(4) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (‘MV Act’), the Court opined that a liberal view must be taken while considering an application for condonation of delay under Section 72 of the Railway Act, in order to ensure that legitimate claims be not defeated.

Matrimonial Disputes, Custody, and Maintenance

In Geetanjali Dogra v. State & Ors.[lix] the Court disapproved of the directions of the child welfare committee constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (‘JJ Act’) in permitting visitation rights to the father when contested proceedings were pending between the parents before the Family Courts Act, 1984 (‘Family Act’) and which in terms of Section 7 read with Section 20 thereof would have been the proper forum to determine the aspects of custody and access to the minor.

While expounding upon the scope of section 7(1)(c) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 (‘Family Act’), the Court in Anil Kumar Goel v. Rekha Goel & Anr.,[lx] held that a civil court alone would have jurisdiction to decide a suit qua ownership of a property wherein the controversy was as to the share of the various siblings in the property and that in such a situation the matter was liable to be transferred to the family court only if it could be shown that the property belonged to either spouse or was jointly owned by both of them, to the exclusion of any other third party.

Personal Law and Succession 

In Sanjiv K. Singh & Ors. v. Ritu Singh & Anr.,[lxi] the Court elaborated upon the Hindu law of succession as existed before the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (‘HSA’) and held that where there was a valid partition of a property between members of an Hindu Undivided Family resulting in definite shares being given to each individual coparcener, then despite this division the said separate property remains in the nature of ancestral property as regards the male heirs of the concerned coparcener even if the said heirs were born after the partition. However, where the divided share in the property itself had also been sold by the said coparcener before the birth of any of his male heirs, then a male heir born subsequently could not claim any right as a coparcener.

In Ramesh Arya v. Pawan Arya & Ors.,[lxii] the Court held that mere occupation of different portions of the property by the different legal heirs would not amount to partition in law and it is merely a matter of convenience. The Court further noted that the right to seek partition is an inherent right in a property. The Court further clarified that the making of a will would not amount to the transfer of a property under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (‘TPA’) inasmuch as Section 3 thereof is only concerned with a non-testamentary instrument. The Court, however, relied upon Section 127 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (‘ISA’) to hold that with the right of partition being so inherent and fundamental in a property, any condition to the contrary in a will would be in conflict with the law and of no avail.

In Ravi Kumar v State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.,[lxiii] the Court reiterated that the title of a testator cannot be made subject matter of a testamentary proceeding in the nature of grant of letters of administration inasmuch as no declaration of title could be made. Further, in another testamentary case in Leena Khosla & Ors. v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.,[lxiv] the Court observed that once the concerned parties had arrived at a compromise in a testamentary case, a decree for partition could be passed.

In Hriday Kumar Chaturvedi v. Master Daksh & Anr.,[lxv] the Court reiterated that when a son inherits a property in terms of Section 8 of the HSA he inherits the same in his individual capacity and not as Karta of his own HUF, and therefore, a suit for partition qua the same would not be maintainable.

In Sukruti Dugal v. Jahnavi Dugal & Ors.,[lxvi] the Court While reiterating that there was no presumption of jointness after the coming into force of the HSA the Court held that a suit must have detailed and specific averments as to how the properties in question amounted to HUF property, and in the absence of the same, the suit was liable to be rejected at the threshold as not disclosing any cause of action.

In Anil Somani v. State & Anr.,[lxvii] the Court held that the validity of a will can be adjudicated in a civil suit, particularly a partition suit, and not necessarily only in a probate/testamentary case.

In Hirendra Gupta v. Land & Building Department & Ors,[lxviii] the Court noted that once a person’s application for allotment of an alternative plot in terms of a scheme stood rejected and the matter was closed, the subsequent bequeathing of a purported right in this regard in the will of the said person to his son would be of no avail and not create any new right in favor of the son.

Rent Control

While examining the bona-fide need of a landlord, the Court in Amit Khandelwal & Anr. v. Hemchand Aluria.,[lxix] held that it is required to be kept in mind that a landlord is entitled to seek eviction of the tenant from the premises concerned and thereafter, carry out additions and alterations to the property to meet his bona-fide needs and that it is not the property in the present state alone which is required to be looked at. It was further held that nothing prohibits a landlord from seeking eviction from a property for his/her residential need even though the property was leased out for commercial purposes, if residential use of the premises was otherwise permissible in law.

In Arvind Agarwal v. Jagwat Prasad,[lxx] the Court elaborated upon the shifting of onus in rent control proceedings, and held that though the initial burden to establish the bona-fide need rests on the landlord, once he/she categorically deposes that no sufficient accommodation is available, the onus would shift onto the tenant to prove to the contrary.

In Chaman Lal Mittal v. Kamini Sharma,[lxxi] and Pritam Arora v. Manak Chand Jain,[lxxii] the Court noted that it is only the concealment of a material fact which would non-suit the landlord and not a failure on the part of the landlord in disclosing accommodation which by its very nature could not be said to be a proper alternative to the tenanted premises.

In Kashi Ram and Ors. v. Anita Garg,[lxxiii] the Court reiterated that an amendment to the original eviction petition after leave to defend has been granted is permissible, if the events and facts sought to be brought on record occurred subsequent in time and duly support the existing cause of action which has formed the basis of the original eviction petition.

In M/s. Medicura Chemists and Ors. v.Satwant Kaur,[lxxiv] the Court held that a tenant cannot seek to dispute the will of the predecessor in the interest of the landlord when none of the concerned legal heirs have assailed the same. It was further held that a property which was situated outside the territorial limits of Delhi could not be considered as a feasible alternative to the tenanted properties.

In Ranbir Singh v. Jiya Rani @ Jiya Joshi & Anr.,[lxxv] the Court reiterated the settled law that in order to maintain the eviction petition under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (‘DRCA’) on the ground of bona-fide necessity, it is sufficient that a landlord demonstrates better title than the tenant and absolute ownership is not required to be proved.

In Subhash Chand Goel & Ors. v. Hans Raj Gupta & Co. Pvt. Ltd.,[lxxvi] the Court reiterated that the amalgamation of a tenant with another entity would render the said entity liable for eviction under section 14(1)(b) of the DRCA on account of sub-letting. The Court further held that a case of sub-letting constitutes a recurring cause of action.

In Hira Nand v. Smt. Shakun & Ors.,[lxxvii] the Court noted that the finding of the Supreme Court as laid out in Paragraph 34 of its judgment in Satyawati Sharma (Dead) by LRs v. Union of India & Another,[lxxviii] still held the field and that, therefore, a landlord was entitled to invoke section 14(1) (e) of the DRCA to seek eviction of a residential as also commercial property.

Specific Relief and Property

While determining the Contours of a prime-facie case against dispossession, in Focus Combine Marketing Pvt. Ltd. v. Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd. & Anr.,[lxxix] the Court held that a sub-lessee could not be endowed with a right beyond that which was granted to the lessee by the actual owner of the property.

In Prof. Mahabir Educational Cultural & Welfare Society v. Girdhari Lal Dhara,[lxxx] the Court while reiterating the proposition that though in agreements of sale purchase of immovable properties, time may not be of the essence, noted however, that the fact that the party claiming specific performance waited for more than 2 and a half years to seek the said relief, while not even paying the complete earnest money component within the time prescribed in the agreement, would militate against the entitlement of such a party who would consequentially not be entitled to a decree for specific performance.

The Court in Rakesh Goel v. Hira Lal (Now Deceased) & Anr.,[lxxxi] reiterated that an agreement to sell only empowers the purchaser to initiate proceedings to seek registration of the title document and the agreement to sell does not by itself create any ownership rights.

In Usha v. Bank Of India,[lxxxii] the Court reiterated that in a determination of mesne profits, it is permissible for the Court to grant a yearly increase on the basis of certain guesswork.

In VIC Enterprises Ltd. v. Aeran R Realty Projects Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.,[lxxxiii] the Court while rejecting leave to defend in a summary suit arising out of an agreement for sale of certain residential flats, instituted under Order XXXVII of the CPC held that when an agreement creates certain concrete in praesenti rights in relation to payment of money on exercise of certain options, then it cannot be termed as a contingent entitlement which would fall within the scope of Section 21 of the TPA.

In Jagbir Singh & Ors. v. Government of NCT & Ors.,[lxxxiv] the Court held that once the land in question whose acquisition was sought to be assailed, already stood vested with the Gram Sabha on the date of acquisition, then in the absence of a challenge to the said vesting the private individuals could not be said to have any locus in challenging the acquisition proceedings without the vesting being interfered with.

In GebrPfefiffer (India) Pvt. Ltd v. Pradeep Sharma[lxxxv] the Court considered section 41(e) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (‘SRA’) and held that a purely determinable contract of personal service could not be sought to be specifically enforced. The Court noted that none of the exceptions to the aforesaid rule i.e. the employee being a public servant or the employee being a workman under the ID Act or the employer being an instrumentality of state existed in the present case.

Stamp Act

In Abhishek Jain v. Lt. Governor NCT of Delhi &Ors.[lxxxvi] the Court noted the changed regime post incorporation of the amended Section 47 (a) of Indian Stamp Act, 1889 (‘Stamp Act’), as applicable to Delhi, whereby insufficiently stamp deeds could no longer be directly impounded under Section 33 of Stamp Act, but had to be first registered and then referred to the collector of stamps for determination of the proper stamp duty which was payable thereon.

Tax, Excise, and Customs 

In Krish Automotors Private Limited v. Union of India & Ors.,[lxxxvii] the Court permitted the petitioner to manually fill the GST TRAN-I Form inasmuch as it was found after a review of various applicable precedents that it was permissible to grant the petitioner a further opportunity to do so when it was demonstrated that the said form could not be originally filled on account of bona-fide difficulties and technical glitches in the system.

In PDR Solutionz FZC v. Dispute Resolution Panel-2, New Delhi & Anr.,[lxxxviii] the Court held that there was no absolute bar against entertaining a writ petition against an order passed by a Dispute Resolution Panel (‘DRP’) under the Income Tax Act, 1961 (‘IT Act’)  and proceeded to set aside the decision of the DRP in the said case on the ground that the same suffered from a total non-application of mind and was bereft of any material reasons, thus reflecting a complete failure of the process itself.

In JBM Industries Limited v. Commission of Income Tax, New Delhi,[lxxxix] while elaborating upon the requirements for demonstrating a valid deductible amount from the taxable business income in terms of Section 37 of the IT Act, the Court held that funding the education expenses of the daughter of a director, when the underlying facts would reveal that the said expenditure was purely personal in nature and not really intended for the purpose of the business of the concerned company, could not be allowed to be claimed as a deduction under Section 37 of the IT Act.

Tender and Blacklisting

In M/s Almighty Techserv Proprietor Mr. Manish Dalmia v. Commissioner, Directorate of Logistics & Anr.,[xc] the Court held that even though the examination of the award of tender represented an extremely limited jurisdiction for the Court to interfere, wherever it was found that the authority concerned had violated fundamental norms of the tender process and had in fact awarded the tender to a bidder which had not filled in various details of its price bid though required to, leading to an unfair advantage over other bidders, was a completely arbitrary action and liable for interference by the Court. The Court further held that though ordinarily the courts would view substantial performance of the contract by the successful bidder as a ground for not interfering with the grant of tender, this rule would not be applicable where there was patent arbitrariness by the authority, and public interest was also involved. The Court further held that when the successful bidder had, at its own peril continued with the major performance of the work after the issuance of notice in the writ petition challenging the tender, and which order clearly stated that the tender would be subject to the outcome of the writ proceedings, would be another factor disentitling the successful bidder from claiming actionable prejudice.

In East African (India) Overseas v. Govt. Of National Capital Region Of Delhi & Anr.,[xci] the Court stressed upon the need for passing a reasoned order on the period of blacklisting even while upholding the inherent power to blacklist an entity that had unilaterally withdrawn from the bid after submission.

In Ratan Food Products v. Union of India & Anr.,[xcii] the Court upheld a tender invited for appointment of service providers for providing certain services on running trains and rejected the argument of the petitioner that the tender did not specify any ‘bid value’. The Court noted the existence of a ‘minimum guaranteed concession fee’ for each train on an annual basis and held that the same was a sufficient reflection of the bid value upon which the turnover of the prospective tenderers could be benchmarked.

In Star Forms v. Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi,[xciii] the Court reiterated the limited scope of scrutiny which dealing with a case involving a challenge to a tender and noted that the Court would be primarily concerned with the decision making process resulting in the award of the tender and not with the decision itself.

In Darshan Chadha v. Government of NCT of Delhi,[xciv] the Court classified the requirement of furnishing of a contemporaneous ‘solvency certificate’ as an essential condition of the tender and refused any relaxation in this regard. Similarly, in Anil Kumar Gupta v. Union of India & Anr.,[xcv] the Court determined the condition requiring the experience certificate to be attested by a chartered accountant as being essential in nature.

In Shrenik Properties Private Limited v DDA & Anr.,[xcvi] the Court noted the inherent discretion available to an authority to cancel a bid provided the said decision was taken in a reasoned manner and was demonstrably to secure the interest of the institution concerned.

In Sanjay v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation,[xcvii] the Court held that a person could be blacklisted from tendering on the ground that he was in fact a ‘front’ for another entity which had already suffered a blacklisting order could only if cogent evidence was available for establishing nexus, and a solitary financial transaction in the distant past would not suffice for this purpose.

In AVM Oil Field Services v. GAIL Gas Limited,[xcviii] the Court held that when the contract between the parties explicitly excluded the issue of blacklisting from the ambit of the arbitration clause, then there was no bar on the passing of an order of blacklisting by the authority, even though arbitration proceedings qua the overall disputes between the parties which eventually resulted in the blacklisting, were pending.

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 and Mr. Bharat Rayadurgam, Advocates and Ms. Ramsha Mubin, Law Intern.

[i] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 5571/2019

[ii] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in CM (M) 1409/2019

[iii] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in CS(COMM) 492/2019

[iv] Judgment dated 18.09.2019 in FAO(OS) 181/2016 (DB)

[v]  Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 7048/2019

[vi]  Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9882/2019

[vii]  Judgment dated 04.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 937/2018

[viii]  Judgment dated 24.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 8277/2018

[ix]  Judgment dated 19.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 1359/2019

[x]  Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9854/2019

[xi] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in CM (M) 735/2018

[xii] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 1831/2015

[xiii] Judgment dated 19.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 7412/2019

[xiv] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 6720/2018

[xv] Judgment dated  24.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 10336/2017

[xvi] Judgment dated  27.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9304/2019

[xvii] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 10165/2017

[xviii] (2017) 1 SCC 148

[xix] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 8083/2008

[xx] Judgment dated 18.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 1903/2018

[xxi] Judgment dated 25.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9755/2017

[xxii] Judgment dated 25.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 6639/2013

[xxiii] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in L.P.A. 565/2019 (DB)

[xxiv] Judgment dated 06.09.2019 in L.P.A. 576/2019 (DB)

[xxv] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 9869/2019 (DB)

[xxvi] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 634/2017 (DB)

[xxvii] Judgment dated 04.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 9623/2019 (DB)

[xxviii] Judgment dated 18.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 10013/2019 (DB)

[xxix] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 2113/2018 (DB)

[xxx] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 9673/2018 (DB)

[xxxi] Judgment dated 04.09.2019 in LPA 259/2009 (DB)

[xxxii] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 169/2017 (DB)

[xxxiii] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in WP(C) 7583/2018 (DB)

[xxxiv] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 6161/2002 (DB)

[xxxv] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 10726/2018 (DB)

[xxxvi] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 3995/2019 (DB)

[xxxvii] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 8203/2019 (DB)

[xxxviii] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 1131/2018 (DB)

[xxxix] Judgment dated 19.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 4178/2015 (DB)

[xl] Judgment dated 20.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 1382/2018 (DB)

[xli] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 10370/2015 (DB)

[xlii] (2008) 8 SCC 725

[xliii] Judgment dated 05.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 10311/2015 (DB)

[xliv] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 5288/2014 (DB)

[xlv] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9895/2019 (DB)

[xlvi] Judgment dated 27.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 2904/2014 (DB)

[xlvii] Judgment dated 25.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 11126/2005 (DB)

[xlviii] Judgment dated 30.9.2019 in W.P. (C) 8469/2009 (DB)

[xlix] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 3671/2019 (DB)

[l] Judgment dated 27.09.2019 in LPA 187/2018 (DB)

[li] Judgment dated 12/09/2019 in W.P. (C) 1929/2017

[lii] Judgment dated 18.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 8859/2011

[liii] Judgment dated 06.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 3071/2016 (DB)

[liv] Judgment dated 06.09.2019 in W.P.(C.) No. 2594/2018 (DB)

[lv] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 11228/2017 (DB)

[lvi] Judgement dated 16.09.2019 in CM(M) 1054/2018 & CM APPL. 36434/2018

[lvii] Judgement dated 04.09.2019 in RFA 5/2019

[lviii] Judgement dated 13.09.2019 in FAO 95/2015

[lix] Judgment dated 06/09/2019 in CM (M) 1140/2018

[lx]Judgment dated  11.09.2019 in CM (M) 842/2018

[lxi] Judgment dated 27.09.2019 in RFA 390/2012

[lxii] Judgment dated 05.09.2019 in CS(OS) 520/2018

[lxiii] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in TEST.CAS. 18/2016

[lxiv] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in TEST.CAS. 33/2016

[lxv] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in C.R.P. 207/2017

[lxvi] Judgment dated 23.09.2019 in CS(OS) 649/2018

[lxvii] Judgment dated 26.09.2019 in TEST.CAS. 69/2019

[lxviii] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in L.P.A. 523/2018 (DB)

[lxix] Judgment dated 05.09.2019 in RC. Rev. 380/2018

[lxx] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in RC. Rev. 254/2016

[lxxi] Judgment dated 06.09.2019 in RC.REV. 467/2019

[lxxii] Judgment dated 06.09.2019 in RC. Rev. 467/2019

[lxxiii] Judgment dated 18.09.2019 in CM (M) 1376/2019

[lxxiv] Judgment dated 11.09.2019 in RC. Rev. 399/2019

[lxxv] Judgment dated 11.09.2019 in RC. Rev. 599/2019

[lxxvi] Judgment dated  02.09.2019 in CM(M) 340/2012

[lxxvii] Judgment dated 17/09/2019 in RC.REV. 567/2017

[lxxviii] (2008) 5 SCC 287

[lxxix] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in FAO 9/2019

[lxxx] Judgment dated 24.09.2019 in RFA 371/2019

[lxxxi] Judgment dated 25.09.2019 in C.R.P. 118/2019

[lxxxii] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in RFA 352/2007

[lxxxiii] Judgement dated 05.09.2018 in CS(COMM) 387/2017

[lxxxiv] Judgment dated 12.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 6728/2015 (DB)

[lxxxv] Judgment dated 05/09/2019 in C.R.P. 8/2017

[lxxxvi] Judgment dated 23.09.2019 n W.P. (C) 9243/2018

[lxxxvii] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 3736/2018 (DB)

[lxxxviii] Judgment dated 24.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 10387/2019 (DB)

[lxxxix] Judgment dated 30.09.2019 in ITA 519/2019 (DB)

[xc] Judgment dated 05.09.2019 in W.P.(C) No. 13608/2018 (DB)

[xci] Judgment dated 03.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9580/2019

[xcii] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 9940/2019 (DB)

[xciii] Judgment dated 17.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 10061/2019 (DB)

[xciv] Judgment dated 23.09.2019 in W.P. (C) No.10236/2019 (DB)

[xcv] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P. (C) 9892/2019 (DB)

[xcvi] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 9634/2019 (DB)

[xcvii] Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 2158/2019

[xcviii] Judgment dated 16.09.2019 in W.P.(C) 5952/2019

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