22 April 2021

Non-production/withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court

No litigant is entitled to obtain the aid of the law to protect him in carrying out a fraudulent act



    The most sagacious judgments of our Courts define "fraud" as an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing something by taking unfair advantage of another. It is a sort of cheating intended to gain an advantage. Any litigant who approaches Court is bound to produce all the documents relevant, material and germane to the litigation. Non-production or non-mentioning or withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side
Non-production or withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court
tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court as well as the opposite party
[S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu vs. Jagannath & Ors (1994) 1 SCC 1 (paras-1,5 & 6), A.V. Papayya Sastry & Ors. vs. Govt. of A.P. & Ors. (2007) 4 SCC 221 (paras 21-33), K.D. Sharma vs. Steel Authority of India & Ors. (2008) 12 SCC 481 (paras-26-28 & 34-52) and Dalip Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2010) 2 SCC 114 (paras 1- 9)].[Para No.12]

    This fact of suppression assumes more significance in a writ proceeding which has been instituted under Article 226 of the Constitution. The very basis of writ jurisdiction rests in disclosure of true, complete and correct facts. If the material facts are not candidly stated or are suppressed or are distorted the very functioning of the Writ Courts would become impossible. The jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is extraordinary, equitable and discretionary. It is well settled that a prerogative remedy is not a matter of course and it is thus of utmost importance that a petitioner approaching the Writ Court must come with clean hands and put forward all the material facts without concealment or suppression. It there is no frank and candid disclosure of the relevant and material facts or that the petitioner is guilty of misleading the Court and the petition is liable to be dismissed. In fact, the Courts have gone to the extent of saying that in such circumstances, a Court may refuse to enter into the merits of the case. A party whose hands are soiled cannot hold the writ of the Court. In such situations, the aid of the Court is denied in order to maintain respect for the law; in order to promote confidence in the administration of justice; in order to preserve the judicial process from contamination (Miscellany-at-Law by R.E. Megarry, 2nd Indian Reprint 2004 at page-144). The rule has evolved in public interest to deter unscrupulous litigants from abusing the process of Court by deceiving it. In the facts and circumstances aforesaid and in the light of the prayers in the petition, I am of the view that the petitioners are guilty of misleading the Court and have deliberately, intentionally and mischievously suppressed the order dated 28 January, 2011 passed in Misc. Case No.26/2009.[Para No.13]

19 April 2021

Testamentary disposition by Will is not a 'transfer' as defined u/s.5 of the Transfer of Property Act

It is not necessary to obtain a probate in respect of properties which are not situated whithin the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Courts of Judicature at Madras and Bombay


    In view of the rival submissions made on behalf of the parties, it will be necessary to refer to some of the provisions of the Ceiling Act and the Succession Act. Section 29 of the Ceiling Act reads thus:-
"Section 29. (1) Without the previous sanction of the Collector, no land granted under Section 27 or granted to a joint farming society under Section 28 shall be -
(a) transferred, whether by way of sale (including sale in execution of a decree of a Civil Court or of an award or order of any competent authority) or by way of gift, mortgage, exchange, lease or otherwise; or
(b) divided whether by partition or otherwise, and whether by a decree or order of a Civil Court or any other competent authority, such sanction shall not be given otherwise than in such circumstances, and on such conditions including condition regarding payment of premium or nazarana to the State Government, as may be prescribed;
    Provided that, no such sanction shall be necessary where land is to be leased by a serving member of the armed forces or where the land is to be mortgaged as provided in Sub-section (4) of Section 36 of the Code for raising a loan for effecting any improvement of such land.

(2) If sanction is given by the Collector to any transfer or division under Sub-section (1) subsequent transfer or division of land shall also be subject to the provisions of Sub-section (1).

(3) Any transfer or division of land, any acquisition thereof, in contravention of Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2) shall be invalid; and as a penalty therefor, any right, title and interest of the transferor and transferee in or in relation to such land shall, after giving him an opportunity to show cause, be forfeited by the Collector and shall without further assurance vest in the State Government."

    This Court in the aforesaid case of Vimlabai vs. State of Maharashtra, cited supra, after considering the judgments on the point, has held that the transfers which are by act of parties made inter vivos or a result of a decree or an order of the Court, Tribunal or Authority, are alone covered by the said term as defined in Explanation (2) of Section 8 of the Ceiling Act. This Court has further held that it will not include the testamentary dispositions of the property not made inter vivos. Thus, this Court has taken a view that a testamentary disposition by Will is not covered by the word 'transfer' as per the provisions of Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act. This Court has further while dealing with the certain provisions of the Ceiling Act has in unequivocal terms held that the transfer under the Ceiling Act would not include the testamentary disposition of the property not made inter vivos. In that view of the matter, insofar as the findings of the learned S. D. O. that the transfer is bad in law in view of provisions of Section 29(3) of the said Act is not sustainable in law.[Para No.6]

    The next question that arises is whether it is necessary to obtain a probate, so as to claim right as executor or legatee for the lands in question.[Para No.7]

    It would be appropriate to refer to certain provisions of the Succession Act. The relevant portion of Section 213 reads as under:-
Testamentary disposition by Will is not a 'transfer' as defined u/s. 5 of the Transfer of Property Act
"S. 213. Right as executor or legatee when established. - (1) No right as executor or legatee can be established in any Court of Justice, unless a Court of competent jurisdiction in India has granted probate of the will under which the right is claimed, or has granted letters of administration with the will or with a copy of an authenticated copy of the will annexed.

11 April 2021

Death caused; without any premeditation, in a sudden fight, in the heat of passion, without taking any undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, is not a murder

Admittedly, both the parties belonged to the same family and reside in the same campus and their relation was also not cordial due to property dispute. What is evident from the testimony of the PW-2 and PW-12 is that when the appellant was washing his face in the morning, the PW-2 (son of the deceased) initiated the quarrel by challenging the appellant to lodge complaint before the villagers for cutting their paddy, whereupon the appellant came out with the pistol and challenged the deceased to come out and also hurled abuses at him (deceased) and the deceased also came out and challenged him by saying as to why was he shouting and creating noise. From the testimony of the PW-12, it is also discernible that at the beginning when the PW-2 challenged the appellant for the previous incidence of cutting paddy, the appellant did not have the armed with him and in course of the exchange of words he came out with the pistol. From the above evidence, it has been established that the accused, who was a retired Air Force personnel having a licensed pistol shot the deceased in the heat of passion in course of sudden quarrel and as such it is difficult to say that the act of the appellant causing death of the deceased was pre-meditated. When evidently the appellant inflicted the injury causing death of the deceased without any pre-meditation and in the heat of passion during sudden quarrel, the appellant could not have been held liable for offence of murder. However, the facts and circumstances under which the appellant inflicted the injury causing death of the deceased, he shall be liable for committing an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 IPC.[Para No.28]

    In Rajender Singh v. State of Haryana (supra) in a similar facts situation the Apex Court converted a conviction under Section 302 IPC to 304 IPC, held as under:
"19. Consequently, we are convinced that since the death of Suraj Mal and Shri Ram had occurred due to the firing resorted to as part of his self-defence, the same would amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which was committed without any premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion
Death caused; without any premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion without taking any undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, is not a murder
upon a sudden quarrel and that the offender did not take undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, which would normally fall under Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC.
Consequently, at best, conviction of the appellant can only be under Part II of Section 304 IPC for which he could have been inflicted with a punishment of ten years. For the very same reason, the conviction imposed under Section 27 of the Arms Act cannot also be sustained. It is stated that the appellant is suffering the sentence in jail and has so far suffered eleven years. The conviction is modified into one under Section 304 Part II and the sentence already suffered by the appellant is held to be more than sufficient."[Para No.29]

06 April 2021

It is appropriate case for grant of anticipatory bail when F.I.R. is lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant in near proximity of time

The following can be considered as "appropriate cases" for grant of anticipatory bail to an accused apprehending arrest, even after submission of charge-sheet against the accused by the Investigating Officer of the police/after taking cognizance of offence against accused under Section 204 Cr.P.C. by the Court :-
1) Where the charge-sheet has been submitted by the Investigating Officer/cognizance has been taken by the Court, but the merits of the F.I.R/complaint that has been lodged by the informant/complainant are such that it cannot be proved against the accused in the Court;
2) Where there exists a civil remedy and resort has been made to criminal remedy. This has been done because either the civil remedy has become barred by law of limitation or involves time-consuming procedural formalities or involves payment of heavy court fee, like in recovery suits.
    The distinction between civil wrong and criminal wrong is quite distinct and the courts should not permit a person to be harassed by surrendering and obtaining bail when no case for taking cognizance of the alleged offences has been made out against him since wrong alleged is a civil wrong only.
    When the allegations make out a civil and criminal wrong both against an accused, the remedy of anticipatory bail should be considered favourably, in case the implication in civil wrong provides for opportunity of hearing before being implicated and punished/penalized. The criminal remedy, in most of the cases, entails curtailment of right to liberty without any opportunity of hearing after lodging of complaint and F.I.R under the provisions of Cr.P.C. which is pre-independence law and disregards Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, in such cases where civil and criminal remedy both were available to the informant/complainant, and he has chosen criminal remedy only, anticipatory bail should be favourably considered in such cases.
3) When the F.I.R/complaint has clearly been lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant/complainant in mear
It is appropriate case for grant of anticipatory bail when F.I.R. is lodged by way of counterblast to an earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant in near proximity of time
proximity of time. The motive of lodging the false F.I.R/complaint is apparent and from the material collected by the Investigating Officer or from the statements of witnesses in complaint case, there is no consideration of the earlier F.I.R lodged/complaint filed by the accused against the informant/complainant;
4) Where the allegations made in the F.I.R/complaint or in the statement of the witnesses recorded in support of the same, taken at their face value, do not make out any case against the accused or the F.I.R/complaint does not discloses the essential ingredients of the offences alleged;
5) Where the allegations made in the F.I.R/complaint are patently absurd and inherently improbable so that no prudent person can ever reach such conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused;
6) Where charge-sheet has been submitted on the basis of evidence or materials which are wholly irrelevant or inadmissible;
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