Showing posts with label civil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil. Show all posts

28 February 2021

Deed of gift/hiba executed by a Mohammadan need not required to be registered

The position is well settled, which has been stated and restated time and again, that the three essentials of a gift under Mohammadan Law are; (i) declaration of the gift by the donor; (2) acceptance of the gift by the donee and (3) delivery of possession. Though, the rules of Mohammadan Law do not make writing essential to the validity of a gift; an oral gift fulfilling all the three essentials make the gift complete and irrevocable. However, the donor may record the transaction of gift in writing. Asaf A. A. Fyzee in Outlines of Muhammadan Law, Fifth Edition (edited and revised by Tahir Mahmood) at page 182 states in this regard that writing may be of two kinds : (i) it may merely recite the fact of a prior gift; such a writing need not be registered. On the other hand, (ii) it may itself be the instrument of gift;
Deed of gift/hiba executed by a Mohammadan need not required to be registered
such a writing in certain circumstances requires registration. He further says that if there is a declaration, acceptance and delivery of possession coupled with the formal instrument of a gift, it must be registered. Conversely, the author says that registration, however, by itself without the other necessary conditions, is not sufficient.[Para No.27]


    Mulla, Principles of Mahomedan Law (19th Edition), Page 120, states the legal position in the following words :
"Under the Mahomedan law the three essential requisites to make a gift valid : (1) declaration of the gift by the donor: (2) acceptance of the gift by the donee expressly or impliedly and (3) delivery of possession to and taking possession thereof by the donee actually or constructively. No written document is required in such a case. Section 129 Transfer of Property Act, excludes the rule of Mahomedan law from the purview of Section 123 which mandates that the gift of immovable property must be effected by a registered instrument as stated therein. But it cannot be taken as a sine qua non in all cases that whenever there is a writing about a Mahomedan gift of immovable property there must be registration thereof. Whether the writing requires registration or not depends on the facts and circumstances of each case."[Para No.28]

14 February 2021

Plaint should contain exact details of the specific date, month, year, etc.of creation of the HUF for the first time; mere statement that HUF exists and property belongs to HUF is not sufficient

Reference may again be had to the judgment of a Coordinate Bench of this court in the case of Promod Kumar J ain & Ors. vs. Ram Kali J ain & Ors., (supra) where the court held as follows:-
"13. Reference on the aspect of HUF can be made to:
(i) Neelam Vs. Sada Ram MANU/DE/0322/2013, holding (i) that the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 did away with the concept of ancestral properties as existed prior thereto; after coming into force thereof, the property inherited by a male from his father is held as self-acquired property in which children of such male do not acquire any right by birth; (ii) that the plea of property being a joint family property owing to being jointly owned by members of a family, is not the plea of existence of a coparcenary or HUF; (iii) that HUF and coparcenary are not one and the same under the Hindu law though for the purposes of taxation under the taxation laws are treated as one and the same; (iv) that the law of succession, after coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act is governed thereby only; of course Section 6 thereof carves out an exception qua interest held by the deceased in a Mitakshara coparcenary property and provides that such interest shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with the Act; (v) however in the absence of any plea of existence of any coparcenary, merely on the plea of the property being of the joint family, no inference of a coparcenary arises; (vi) for a case for claiming a share in the property otherwise than under the Hindu Succession Act, it has to be pleaded that there existed a HUF since prior to the coming into force of the Succession Act and which HUF, by virtue of Section 6 of the Act has been permitted to be continued.

(ii) Surender Kumar Vs. Dhani Ram MANU/DE/0126/2016 : AIR 2016 Del 120 holding as under:

"5. The Supreme Court around 30 years back in the judgment in the case of Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Kanpur v. Chander Sen, MANU/SC/0265/1986 : (1986) 3 SCC 567, held that after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 the traditional view that on inheritance of an immovable property from paternal ancestors up to three degrees, automatically an HUF came into existence, no longer remained the legal position in view of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Chander Sen (supra) was thereafter followed by the Supreme Court in the case of Yudhishter v. Ashok Kumar, MANU/SC/0525/1986 : (1987) 1 SCC 204 wherein the Supreme Court reiterated the legal position that after coming into force of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 does not create an HUF property and inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 therefore does not result in creation of an HUF property.

6. In view of the ratios of the judgments in the cases of Chander Sen (supra) and Yudhishter (supra), in law ancestral property can only become an HUF property if inheritance is before 1956, and such HUF property therefore which came into existence before 1956 continues as such even after 1956. In such a case, since an HUF already existed prior to 1956, thereafter, since the same HUF with its properties continues, the status of joint Hindu family/HUF properties continues, and only in such a case, members of such joint Hindu family are coparceners entitling them to a share in the HUF properties.

7. On the legal position which emerges pre 1956 i.e. before passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and post 1956 i.e. after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the same has been considered by me recently in the judgment in the case of Sunny (Minor) v. Sh. Raj Singh, CS(OS) No. 431/2006 decided on 17.11.2015. In this judgment, I have referred to and relied upon the ratio of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Yudhishter (supra) and have essentially arrived at the following conclusions:-

(i) If a person dies after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and there is no HUF existing at the time of the death of such a person, inheritance of an immovable property of such a person by his successors-in-interest is no doubt inheritance of an 'ancestral' property but the inheritance is as a self-acquired property in the hands of the successor and not as an HUF property although the successor(s) indeed inherits 'ancestral' property i.e. a property belonging to his paternal ancestor.

(ii) The only way in which a Hindu Undivided Family/joint Hindu family can come into existence after 1956 (and when a joint Hindu family did not exist prior to 1956) is if an individual's property is thrown into a common hotchpotch. Also, once a property is thrown into a common hotchpotch, it is necessary that the exact details of the specific date/month/year etc. of creation of an HUF for the first time by throwing a property into a common hotchpotch have to be clearly pleaded and mentioned and which requirement is a legal requirement because of Order VI Rule 4 CPC which provides
Plaint should contain exact details of the specific date, month, year, etc.of creation of the HUF for the first time; mere statement that HUF exists and property belongs to HUF is not sufficient
that all necessary factual details of the cause of action must be clearly stated.
(iii) An HUF can also exist if paternal ancestral properties are inherited prior to 1956, and such status of parties qua the properties has continued after 1956 with respect to properties inherited prior to 1956 from paternal ancestors. Once that status and position continues even after 1956; of the HUF and of its properties existing; a coparcener etc. will have a right to seek partition of the properties.

(iv) Even before 1956, an HUF can come into existence even without inheritance of ancestral property from paternal ancestors, as HUF could have been created prior to 1956 by throwing of individual property into a common hotchpotch. If such an HUF continues even after 1956, then in such a case a coparcener etc. of an HUF was entitled to partition of the HUF property.

9. I would like to further note that it is not enough to aver a mantra, so to say, in the plaint simply that a joint Hindu family or HUF exists. Detailed facts as required by Order VI Rule 4 CPC as to when and how the HUF properties have become HUF properties must be clearly and categorically averred. Such averments have to be made by factual references qua each property claimed to be an HUF property as to how the same is an HUF property, and, in law generally bringing in any and every property as HUF property is incorrect as there is known tendency of litigants to include unnecessarily many properties as HUF properties, and which is done for less than honest motives. Whereas prior to passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 there was a presumption as to the existence of an HUF and its properties, but after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in view of the ratios of the judgments of the Supreme Court in the cases of Chander Sen (supra) and Yudhishter (supra) there is no such presumption that inheritance of ancestral property creates an HUF, and therefore, in such a post 1956 scenario a mere ipse dixit statement in the plaint that an HUF and its properties exist is not a sufficient compliance of the legal requirement of creation or existence of HUF properties inasmuch as it is necessary for existence of an HUF and its properties that it must be specifically stated that as to whether the HUF came into existence before 1956 or after 1956 and if so how and in what manner giving all requisite factual details. It is only in such circumstances where specific facts are mentioned to clearly plead a cause of action of existence of an HUF and its properties, can a suit then be filed and maintained by a person claiming to be a coparcener for partition of the HUF properties.

07 February 2021

Falsely implicating husband and his family in domestic violence case with intention to ensure that the parties were sent to counselling in order to settle their disputes amounts to mental cruelty entitling husband to seek divorce

Allegations of cruelty in divorce case should be specifically challenged in cross examination



    Now, given that matrimonial disputes rarely involve production of concrete evidence in documentary or audio-visual form, and mostly proceed on the relative strength of the opposing allegations made by the parties, the entire process of leading and recording evidence has a significant role to play in establishing one's case. Thus, notwithstanding her denials in the written statement, the appellant was expected to properly and specifically cross-examine the respondent to prove her allegations of cruelty against him and disprove those he had levelled against her. The importance of properly discharging this function of cross-examination was discussed by the Supreme Court in the following paragraphs of its decision in Rajinder Pershad Vs. Darshana Devi (2001) 7 SCC 69:
"4. The only point urged albeit strenuously on behalf of the appellant by Mr P.S. Mishra, the learned Senior Counsel is that as there has been no valid service of notice, so all proceedings taken on the assumption of service of notice are illegal and void. He has invited our attention to the judgment of the learned Rent Control Tribunal wherein it is recorded that Exhibit AW 1/6 dated 5-8-1986 was sent by registered post and the same was taken by the postman to the address of the tenant on 6-8-1986, 8-8-1986, 19-8-1986 and 20-8-1986 but on those days the tenant was not available; on 21-8-1986, he met the tenant who refused to receive the notice. This finding remained undisturbed by both the Tribunals as well as the High Court. Learned counsel attacks this finding on the ground that the postman was on leave on those days and submits that the records called for from the post office to prove that fact, were reported as not available. On those facts, submits the learned counsel, it follows that there was no refusal by the tenant and no service of notice. We are afraid we cannot accept these contentions of the learned counsel. In the Court of the Rent Controller, the postman was examined as AW 2. We have gone through his cross-examination. It was not suggested to him that he was not on duty during the period in question and the endorsement "refused" on the envelope was incorrect. In the absence of cross-examination of the postman on this crucial aspect, his statement in the chief examination has been rightly relied upon. There is an age-old rule that if you dispute the correctness of the statement of a witness you must give him opportunity to explain his statement by drawing his attention to that part of it which is objected to as untrue, otherwise you cannot impeach his credit. In State of U.P. v. Nahar Singh (1998) 3 SCC, a Bench of this Court (to which I was a party) stated the principle that Section 138 of the Evidence Act confers a valuable right to cross-examine a witness tendered in evidence by the opposite party. The scope of that provision is enlarged by Section 146 of Evidence Act by permitting a witness to be questioned, inter alia, to test his veracity. It was observed: (SCC p. 567, para 14) "14. The oft-quoted observation of Lord Herschell, L.C. in Browne v. Dunn [(1893) 6 R 67 (HL)] clearly elucidates the principle underlying those provisions. It reads thus:
'I cannot help saying, that it seems to me to be absolutely essential to the proper conduct of a cause, where it is intended to suggest that a witness is not speaking the truth on a particular point, to direct his attention to the fact by some questions put in cross-examination showing that that imputation is intended to be made, and not to take his evidence and pass it by as a matter altogether unchallenged, and then, when it is impossible for him to explain, as perhaps he might have been able to do if such questions had been put to him, the circumstances which, it is suggested, indicate that the story he tells ought not to be believed, to argue that he is a witness unworthy of credit. My Lords, I have always understood that if you intend to impeach a witness, you are bound, whilst he is in the box, to give an opportunity of making any explanation which is open to him; and, as it seems to me, that is not only a rule of professional practice in the conduct of a case, but it is essential to fair play and fair dealing with witnesses.' (emphasis supplied)[Para No.11]


    Although the appellant, in the grounds adopted in the appeal, has assailed the reliance of the learned Family Court on the decision in State of U.P. v. Nahar Singh (1998) 3 SCC 561 to contend that the same was a criminal case and the precedent arising therefrom could not apply to cross examinations in matrimonial proceedings, which are civil proceedings by nature, there is no merit to this opposition; especially in the light of the observations of the Supreme Court in Darshana Devi's case which was a civil proceeding. In fact, the standard of proof in a matrimonial proceeding- which is also in the nature of a civil proceeding is not as strict, as in criminal proceedings. Thus, the case is required to be proved on preponderance of probabilities and not the legal standard of being beyond a reasonable doubt. Keeping in view the aforesaid, it is evident that there was a crucial responsibility placed on the shoulders of the appellant which was to ensure that she challenged the specifics of the allegations raised by the respondent and establish their lack of veracity. Paragraphs 44 to 46 of the impugned judgment clearly show that the appellant had not cross-examined the respondent/husband on these important aspects, and, thus, completely failed to draw out the facts as claimed by her. In fact, even before us, the appellant, other than contending that the onus of proving cruelty rested upon the respondent, has failed to provide any cogent reasons for failing to cross-examine the respondent in support of her own case, or to challenge his allegations of cruelty. It is a settled proposition of law that the Court would normally accept unchallenged and uncontroverted assertions of fact. The failure of the appellant to effectively cross-examine the respondent shows that she neither seriously challenged his version of the factual position, nor established her own version. Therefore, in our view, the Family Court was justified in accepting the unrebutted testimony of the respondent.[Para No.12]


    When we view this in addition to the fact that in her written statement, the appellant had admitted to having levelled false allegations against the respondent and his family under the DV Act, we find there were plenty of holes in the appellant's story. Her feeble explanation for this ill-thought out act of falsely implicating the respondent and his family was that the same was not done malevolently, but only with an intention to ensure that the parties were sent to counselling in order to settle their disputes. That explanation barely comes to the aid of the appellant considering that the Supreme Court in K. Srinivas Rao Vs. D.A. Deepa 2013 III AD (SC) 458 has already held that any act of making unfounded complaints to the police shall be treated as an act of mental cruelty. The relevant extracts of this decision read as under:
"14. Thus, to the instances illustrative of mental cruelty noted in Samar Ghosh, we could add a few more. Making unfounded indecent defamatory allegations against the spouse or his or her relatives in the pleadings, filing of complaints or issuing notices or news items which may have adverse impact on the business prospect or the job of the spouse and filing repeated false complaints and cases in the court against the spouse would, in the facts of a case, amount to causing mental cruelty to the other spouse.

30 January 2021

Provisions of RTI Act are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest

As we have said above only the larger public interest duly established with relevant material which can override this confidentiality of the information and documents available with the Income Tax Department, but we fail to see even an iota of the public interest in this case. The tall claims made in the application about the alleged effort of the private Respondents to evade income tax under the garb of the claim of a status of their being agriculturists, particularly by a person who is admittedly in litigation over the same land in question with these Respondents, which is said to have been sold by them to the Petitioner as well as private Respondents. Therefore, the only interest of the Petitioner who has been fighting against these private Respondents at all possible forums including the RTI Act and criminal complaints appears to be the only private interest and the name of a public interest is just a ruse or excuse given to the public authorities calling upon them to disclose such 'information' to the Petitioner - Applicant. The provisions of the RTI Act
Provisions of RTI Act  are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest
are not meant to allow the parties to collect evidence from such Departments or Public Authorities to sub­serve their private interest.
[Para No.14]

25 January 2021

Right to vote, contest or dispute election is not fundamental right

It is well settled that where a statute provides for election to an office, or an authority or institution and if it further provides a machinery or forum for determination of dispute arising out of election, the aggrieved person should pursue his remedy before the forum provided by the statute. While considering an election dispute it must be kept in mind that the right to vote, contest or dispute election is neither a
Right to vote, contest or dispute election is not fundamental right
fundamental or common law right instead it is a statutory right regulated by the statutory provisions. It is not permissible to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution by-passing the machinery designated by the Act for determination A of the election dispute. Ordinarily the remedy provided by the statute must be followed before the authority designated therein. But there may be cases where exceptional or extraordinary circumstances may exist to justify by-passing the alternative remedies. In the instant case, there existed no circumstances justifying departure from the normal rule as even the challenge to the validity of statute was not pressed by the respondents before the High Court.[Para No.6]

12 January 2021

Arbitration agreement bears an independent existence, hence, it can be acted upon, even if the main contract is invalid

The second issue in SMS Tea Estates that a voidable contract would not be arbitrable as it affects the validity of the arbitration agreement, is in our view not the correct position in law. The allegations made by a party that the substantive contract has been obtained by coercion, fraud, or misrepresentation has to be proved by leading evidence on the issue. These issues can certainly be adjudicated through arbitration.

    We overrule the judgment in SMS Tea Estates with respect to the aforesaid two issues as not laying down the correct position in law.[Para No.6.9]

    The Garware judgment has followed the judgment in SMS Tea Estates. The Counsel for the Appellant has placed reliance on paragraph 22 of the judgment to contend that the arbitration clause would be non- existent in law, and unenforceable, till Stamp Duty is adjudicated and paid on the substantive contract.

    We hold that this finding is erroneous, and does not lay down the correct position in law. We have already held that an arbitration agreement is
Arbitration agreement bears an independent existence, hence, it can be acted upon, even if the main contract is invalid
distinct and independent from the underlying substantive commercial contract. Once the arbitration agreement is held to have an independent existence, it can be acted upon, irrespective of the alleged invalidity of the commercial contract.
[Para No.6.10]

03 January 2021

Court must give reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party

For the foregoing discussion, the finding of learned Commercial Court, Jammu that the said Court does not have territorial jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition under Section 9 of the Act filed by the appellant, does not deserve to be interfered with. However, the manner in which the Court below has passed the impugned judgment invites a comment. A perusal of the said judgment clearly shows that it is cryptic and devoid of any reason. The learned Court has only noted the pleadings and submissions of the parties and then without giving any reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party, it has drawn the conclusion against the petitioner.[Para No.28]

    Reasoning is the soul of a judgment. A judgment which is
Court must give reasoning as to why it has accepted the contentions of one party and rejected those of other party
devoid of reasoning would not be a judgment in accordance with the law.
It is not sufficient for a Court merely to state in its judgment that on a careful consideration of the rival submissions of the parties, it has come to this or that conclusion. The material on record on a particular point for and against the parties to the case must be set out in the judgment and reasons stated for its acceptance or rejection. A Court has not only to state the points for determination and the decisions thereon, but also to give reasons for such decisions. All this is missing in the judgment passed by the learned Commercial Court, Jammu. Such type of judgments are not expected from a senior Judicial Officer of the level of a District Judge.[Para No.29]

19 December 2020

Dispute between landlord and tenant is arbitrable in case of lease and it is non arbitrable in case if Rent Act is applicable

Such equitable protection does not mean that the disputes relating to those aspects between the landlord and the tenant is not arbitrable and that only a Court is empowered to waive the forfeiture or not in the circumstance stated in the provision. In our view, when the disputes arise between the landlord and tenant with regard to determination of lease under the TP Act, the landlord to secure possession of the leased property in a normal circumstance is required to institute a suit in the Court which has jurisdiction. However, if the parties in the contract of lease or in such other manner have agreed upon the alternate mode of dispute resolution through arbitration the landlord would be entitled to invoke the arbitration clause and make a claim before the learned Arbitrator. Even in such proceedings, if the circumstances as contained in Section 114 and 114A of TP Act arise, it could be brought up before the learned Arbitrator who would take note of the same and act in accordance with the law qua passing the award. In other words, if in the arbitration proceedings the landlord has sought for an award of ejectment on the ground that the lease has been forfeited since the tenant has failed to pay the rent and breached the express condition for payment of rent or such other breach and in such proceedings the tenant pays or tenders the rent to the lessor or remedies such other breach, it would be open for the Arbitrator to take note of Section 114, 114A of TP Act and pass appropriate award in the nature as a Court would have considered that aspect while exercising the discretion.[Para No.16]

    On the other hand, the disputes arising under the Rent Acts will have to be looked at from a different view point and therefore not arbitrable in those cases. This is for the reason that
Dispute between landlord and tenant is arbitrable in case of lease and it is non arbitrable in case if Rent Act is applicable
notwithstanding the terms and conditions entered into between the landlord and tenant to regulate the tenancy, if the eviction or tenancy is governed by a special statute, namely, the Rent Act the premises being amenable to the provisions of the Act would also provide statutory protection against eviction and the courts specified in the Act alone will be conferred jurisdiction to order eviction or to resolve such other disputes. In such proceedings under special statutes the issue to be considered by the jurisdictional court is not merely the terms and conditions entered into between the landlord and tenant but also other aspects such as the bonafide requirement, comparative hardship etc. even if the case for eviction is made out. In such circumstance, the Court having jurisdiction alone can advert into all these aspects as a statutory requirement and, therefore, such cases are not arbitrable. As indicated above, the same is not the position in matters relating to the lease/tenancy which are not governed under the special statutes but under the TP Act.[Para No.17]

13 December 2020

Settlement deed executed before police under presure can not be used as admitted fact u/s.58 of Evidence Act

It is not the job of the police authorities to get the matter settled in their offices


    As it is undisputed fact that entire case of the plaintiff for advancing money to defendant was based upon Paper No. 13 Ka-1 executed before S.P. City, Aligarh, no other document was filed, nor the case was proved through oral testimony in regard to advancing of money to defendant. The oral testimony of PW-2 and PW-3 only prove the execution of Paper No. 13 Ka-1 before police authorities, apart from that plaintiff failed to disclose in his plaint the dates on which advance to the tune of Rs.14 lacs was made by him and also as to when Rs.2 lacs was returned by defendant. Plaintiff also did not bring on record his income tax return for the relevant years to prove whether he had disclosed the amount in his return.[Para No.27]

    Argument of learned counsel for the appellant cannot be accepted to the extent that Paper No. 13 Ka was proved by oral testimony of PWs and DWs and lower appellate court could not have decreed the suit against plaintiff on the ground that it was got executed under pressure.[Para No.28]

    It is plaintiff's specific case that Paper No. 13 Ka-1 was got executed before S.P. City, Aligarh on 25.05.2009. Plaintiff himself is a practicing lawyer at Aligarh and the two witnesses, Vinod Kumar Gautam (P.W.-2) and Arun Kumar Gautam (P.W.-3) are also practicing advocates in civil court in Aligarh, thus, it is an admitted case that document was executed before the police authorities, and neither of the police officers were examined as plaintiff witnesses to prove the execution of the said document. Burden of proving the document having been executed in the office of S.P. City, Aligarh was upon the plaintiff, as the defendant had categorically stated in his written statement as well as in cross-examination that the said document was got executed under duress and pressure.[Para No.29]
Settlement deed executed before police under presure can not be used as admitted fact u/s.58 of Evidence Act

    It is strange to note that police station and office of district police officials are becoming center for mediation/ settlement of civil and commercial disputes. It is not the job of the police authorities to get the matter settled in their offices rather, making genuine efforts to curb and control crime in the district.[Para No.30]

    Once the plaintiff had relied upon the document to have been executed before police authorities, onus was upon him to prove that it was executed under free will, and the officer before whom the same was executed should have been produced as one of the witnesses.[Para No.31]

06 December 2020

If a litigant wishes to make allegations against the advocate for negligence on his part, then the litigant should have a courage to join that advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him

In the application, it is stated that she entrusted her matter to Mr. Vilas Mate, of Tumsar. She never met with Mr. Bhole, Advocate. According to the learned counsel for the applicant, Mr. Bhole might, on instructions from Mr. Vilas Mate, have appeared before the Court below.[Para No.6]

    It is very easy for a litigant to make allegations against an advocate behind his back.
If a litigant wishes to make allegations against the advocate for negligence on his part, then the litigant should have a courage to join that advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him
If the applicant wishes to make allegations against the advocate, the applicant should have a courage to join the advocate as a party and in his presence should make allegation against him. Here, the applicant wants to condemn the advocate behind his back. In my view, it is impermissible and unacceptable. Further, no steps are also being taken by the applicant against any advocate under the provision of the Advocates Act.[Para No.7]

    Thus, in my view, the reason as supplemented in the application is nothing but a attempt for claiming discretionary relief of condonation of delay from the Court. In my view, the applicant has not explained the delay, rather has not given plausible explanation for delay. Hence, the application is liable to be dismissed and it is dismissed with costs of Rs. 1,000/- to be paid to the High Court Legal Services Sub Committee, Nagpur within three weeks from today[Para No.8]

20 November 2020

Mentioning of a wrong provision or non-mentioning of any provision of law would, by itself, be not sufficient to take away the jurisdiction of a court if it is otherwise vested in it in law

It is also now a well-settled principle of law that mentioning of a wrong provision or non-mentioning of any provision of law would, by itself, be not sufficient to take away the jurisdiction of a court if it is otherwise vested in it in law.
Mentioning of a wrong provision or non-mentioning of any provision of law would, by itself, be not sufficient to take away the jurisdiction of a court if it is otherwise vested in it in law
Wile exercising its power, the court will merely consider whether it has the source to exercise such power or not. The court will not apply the beneficent provisions like Sections 5 and 14 of the Limitation Act in a pedantic manner. When the provisions are meant to apply and in fact found to be applicable to the facts and circumstances of a case, in our opinion, there is no reason as to why the court will refuse to apply the same only because a wrong provision has been mentioned. In a case of this nature, Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Limitation Act per se may not be applicable, but, as indicated hereinbefore, the principles thereof would be applicable for the purpose of condonation of delay in terms of Section 5 thereof.[Para No.14]

13 October 2020

While deciding an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court is required to take the averments made therein to be correct

To set the tempo, we may start by referring to the legal position. It is well settled that a plaint can be rejected on any of the grounds enumerated under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC. It is equally well settled that on going through an application moved under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court is required to examine the plaint as a whole and take the averments made therein to be correct. If on a reading of the plaint, a cause of action is made out, then the plaint cannot be rejected. While dealing with an application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court must forebear from going into disputed questions of facts including the defence taken by the defendant in his written statement or his application for rejection of the plaint. [Refer: Inspiration Clothes & U. v. Collby International Ltd., 88 (2000) DLT 769; Tilak Raj Bhagat v. Ranjit Kaur, 159 (2009) DLT 470; Bhau Ram v. Janak Singh, V (2012) SLT 536; Tilak Raj Bhagat v. Ranjit Kaur, 2012 (5) AD (Del) 186; Indian City Properties Ltd. v. Vimla Singh] 198 (2013) DLT 432; and Razia Begum v. DDA 215 (2014) DLT 290 (DB)].[Para No.14]

While deciding an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court is required take the averments made therein to be correct

    It may also be emphasized that for deciding an application filed under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court must not be selective in picking upon the averments made in the plaint and read them in isolation. Instead, a meaningful reading of the entire plaint must be conducted for the court to satisfy itself as to whether the averments made therein, if taken to be correct in their entirety, would result in a decree being passed. The manner of examination which a court is expected to undertake for scrutinizing the plaint and the documents filed to decide an application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, have been discussed by the Supreme Court in a catena of decisions including in T. Arivandandam vs. T.V. Satyapal & Anr., reported as 1977 (4) SCC 467, Popat and Kotecha Property vs. State Bank of India Staff Association reported as (2005) 7 SCC 510 and Hardesh Ores Pvt. Ltd. vs. M/s. Hede & Company reported as 2007 (5) SCC 614. [Para No.15]

    In Popat and Kotecha Property (supra), the Supreme Court observed as under:
"10. Clause (d) of Order 7 Rule 11 speaks of suit, as appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. Disputed questions cannot be decided at the time of considering an application filed under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC. Clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order 7 applies in those cases only where the statement made by the plaintiff in the plaint, without any doubt or dispute shows that the suit is barred by any law in force.

19. There cannot be any compartmentalisation, dissection, segregation and inversions of the language of various paragraphs in the plaint. If such a course is adopted it would run counter to the cardinal canon of interpretation according to which a pleading has to be read as a whole to ascertain its true import. It is not permissible to cull out a sentence or a passage and to read it out of the context in isolation. Although it is the substance and not merely the form that has to be looked into, the pleading has to be construed as it stands without addition or subtraction of words or change of its apparent grammatical sense. The intention of the party concerned is to be gathered primarily from the tenor and terms of his pleadings taken as a whole. At the same time it should be borne in mind that no pedantic approach should be adopted to defeat justice on hair-splitting technicalities." (emphasis added)[Para No.16]

09 October 2020

sale certificate of any property sold by a public auction by a civil or revenue officer does not require registration and for its registration requisite stamp duty cannot be insisted by the registrar

Even the aforesaid Section though mandatory in nature provides which of the documents are compulsorily to be registered, but it does not include sale by auction and sale certificate issued by the concerned authority including confirmation of the sale which are outcome of auction proceedings conducted in terms of the Court's order. The provision is speaking one and without any ambiguity, thus, registration was not required.[Para No.8]

     The issue raised in this petition is no longer res integra and is squarely covered by the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Som Dev and others vs. Rati Ram and another (2006) 10 SCC 788 and thereafter in a subsequent judgment B. Arvind Kumar vs. Govt. of India and others (2007) 5 SCC 745 which judgments, in turn, have been considered by learned Division Bench of this Court in Valley Iron & Steel Company Ltd. vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and other (2016) 5 ILR 1639, and the relevant observations are as under:-
"24. Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the writ petitioner argued that the authorities concerned have refused to register the sale and make the entries in the revenue records on the ground that the necessary permission was to be obtained as per the mandate of Section 118 of the Act.

25. It is also contended that the sale certificate and the confirmation of sale issued by the authorities, i.e. Annexures P6 and P8, are necessary to be registered before the authority concerned in terms of the mandate of Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908 (for short "the Registration Act"), which is not legally correct.


26. Section 17 of the Registration Act, though mandatory in nature, provides which of the documents are compulsory to be registered. It does not include sale by auction and sale certificate issued by the concerned authorities including confirmation of sale, which are outcome of the auction proceedings conducted in terms of Court orders.
sale certificate of any property sold by a public auction by a civil or revenue officer does not require registration and for its registration requisite stamp duty cannot be insisted by the registrar
The provision is speaking one and without any ambiguity. Thus, registration was not required. The Apex Court in the case titled as B. Arvind Kumar versus Govt. of India and others, 2007 5 SCC 745 , held that a sale certificate issued by a Court or an officer authorized by the Court does not require registration. It is apt to reproduce para 12 of the judgment herein:
"12. The plaintiff has produced the original registered sale certificate dated 29.8.1941 executed by the Official Receiver, Civil Station, Bangalore. The said deed certifies that Bhowrilal (father of plaintiff) was the highest bidder at an auction sale held on 22.8.1941, in respect of the right, title, interest of the insolvent Anraj Sankla, namely the leasehold right in the property described in the schedule to the certificate (suit property), that his bid of Rs. 8,350.00 was accepted and the sale was confirmed by the District Judge, Civil and Military Station, Bangalore on 25.8.1941. The sale certificate declared Bhowrilal to be the owner of the leasehold right in respect of the suit property. When a property is sold by public auction in pursuance of an order of the court and the bid is accepted and the sale is confirmed by the court in favour of the purchaser, the sale becomes absolute and the title vests in the purchaser. A sale certificate is issued to the purchaser only when the sale becomes absolute. The sale certificate is merely the evidence of such title. It is well settled that when an auction purchaser derives title on confirmation of sale in his favour, and a sale certificate is issued evidencing such sale and title, no further deed of transfer from the court is contemplated or required. In this case, the sale certificate itself was registered, though such a sale certificate issued by a court or an officer authorized by the court, does not require registration. Section 17(2)(xii) of the Registration Act, 1908 specifically provides that a certificate of sale granted to any purchaser of any property sold by a public auction by a civil or revenue officer does not fall under the category of non testamentary documents which require registration under subsec. (b) and (c) of sec. 17(1) of the said Act. We therefore hold that the High Court committed a serious error in holding that the sale certificate did not convey any right, title or interest to plaintiff's father for want of a registered deed of transfer."

28. The same principle has been laid down by the Apex Court in the case titled as Som Dev and others versus Rati Ram and another, 2006 10 SCC 788 . It would be profitable to reproduce para 15 of the judgment herein:
"15. Almost the whole of the argument on behalf of the appellants here, is based on the ratio of the decision of this Court in Bhoop Singh v. Ram Singh Major, 1995 5 SCC 709 , It was held in that case that exception under clause (vi) of Section 17(2) of the Act is meant to cover that decree or order of a Court including the decree or order expressed to be made on a compromise which declares the preexisting right and does not by itself create new right, title or interest in praesent in immovable property of the value of Rs.100/ or upwards. Any other view would find the mischief of avoidance of registration which requires payment of stamp duty embedded in the decree or order. It would, therefore, be the duty of the Court to examine in each case whether the parties had preexisting right to the immovable property or whether under the order or decree of the Court one party having right, title or interest therein agreed or suffered to extinguish the same and created a right in praesenti in immovable property of the value of Rs.100/ or upwards in favour of the other party for the first time either by compromise or pretended consent. If latter be the position, the document is compulsorily registrable. Their Lordships referred to the decisions of this Court in regard to the family arrangements and whether such family arrangements require to be compulsorily registered and also the decision relating to an award. With respect, we may point out that an award does not come within the exception contained in clause (vi) of Section 17(2) of the Registration act and the exception therein is confined to decrees or orders of a Court. Understood in the context of the decision in Hemanta Kumari Debi v. Midnapur Zamindari Co. Ltd., 1919 AIR(PC) 79 and the subsequent amendment brought about in the provision, the position that emerges is that a decree or order of a court is exempted from registration even if clauses (b)and (c) of Section 17(1) of the Registration Act are attracted, and even a compromise decree comes under the exception, unless, of course, it takes in any immovable property that is not the subject matter of the suit.

 

29. A question arose before the Madras High Court in a case titled as K. Chidambara Manickam versus Shakeena & Ors., 2008 AIR(Mad) 108 , whether the sale of secured assets in public auction which ended in issuance of a sale certificate is a complete and absolute sale or whether the sale would become final only on the registration of the sale certificate? It has been held that the sale becomes final when it is confirmed in favour of the auction purchaser, he is vested with rights in relation to the property purchased in auction on issuance of the sale certificate and becomes the absolute owner of the property. The sale certificate does not require any registration. It is apt to reproduce paras 10.13, 10.14, 10.17 and 10.18 of the judgment herein:-
"10.13 Part III of the Registration Act speaks of the Registration of documents. Section 17(1) of the Registration Act enumerates the documents which require compulsory Registration. However, subsection (2) of Section 10 sets out the documents to which clause (b) and (c) of subsection (1) of Section 17 do not apply. Clause (xii) of subsection (2) of Section 17 of the Registration Act reads as under:
"Section 17(2)(xii) any certificate of sale granted to the purchaser of any property sold by public auction by a Civil or Revenue Officer."

10.14 A Division Bench of this Court in Arumugham, S. v. C.K. Venugopal Chetty,1994 1 LW 491 , held that the property transferred by Official Assignee, under order of Court, does not require registration under Section 17 of the Registration Act. The Division Bench has held as follows:

07 October 2020

Court cannot grant a relief which has not been specifically pleaded and prayed by the parties

In Messrs. Trojan & Co. Vs. RM.N.N. Nagappa Chettiar AIR 1953 SC 235, this Court considered the issue as to whether relief not asked for by a party could be granted and that too without having proper pleadings. The Court held as under:
"It is well settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. Without an amendment of the plaint, the Court was not entitled to grant the relief not asked for and no prayer was ever made to amend the plaint so as to incorporate in it an alternative case."[Para No.29]

    A similar view has been re-iterated by this Court in Krishna Priya Ganguly etc.etc. Vs. University of Lucknow & Ors. etc. AIR 1984 SC 186; and Om Prakash & Ors. Vs. Ram Kumar & Ors., AIR 1991 SC 409, observing that a party cannot be granted a relief which is not claimed.[Para No.30]

    Dealing with the same issue, this Court in Bharat Amratlal Kothari Vs. Dosukhan Samadkhan Sindhi & Ors., AIR 2010 SC 475 held:
"Though the Court has very wide discretion in granting relief, the court, however, cannot, ignoring and keeping aside the norms and principles governing grant of relief, grant a relief not even prayed for by the petitioner."[Para No.31]

 

    In Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. & Anr. Vs. Sarat Chandra Rath & Ors., AIR 1996 SC 2744, this Court held that "the High Court ought not to have granted reliefs to the respondents which they had not even prayed for."[Para No.32]

Court cannot grant a relief which has not been specifically pleaded and prayed by the parties
    In view of the above, law on the issue can be summarised that the Court cannot grant a relief which has not been specifically prayed by the parties.[Para No.33]

06 October 2020

Whenever the process of election starts, normally courts should not interfere with the process of election

The Court can draw support from the judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Shaji K Joseph vs V.Viswanath & Ors reported in 2016(4) SCC 429, in Para-14 and Para-15, held as under:
"14. In our opinion, the High Court was not right in interfering with the process of election especially when the process of election had started upon publication of the election program on 27th January, 2011 and more particularly when an alternative statutory remedy was available to Respondent no.1 by way of referring the dispute to the Central Government as per the provisions of Section 5 of the Act read with Regulation 20 of the Regulations. So far as the issue with regard to eligibility of Respondent no.1 for contesting the election is concerned, though prima facie it appears that Respondent no.1 could contest the election, we do not propose to go into the said issue because, in our opinion, as per the settled law, the High Court should not have interfered with the election after the process of election had commenced. The judgments referred to hereinabove clearly show the settled position of law to the effect that whenever the process of election starts, normally courts should not interfere with the process of election for the simple reason that if the process of election is interfered with by the courts, possibly no election would be completed without court's order. Very often, for frivolous reasons candidates or others approach the courts and by virtue of interim orders passed by courts, the election is delayed or cancelled and in such a case the basic purpose of having election and getting an elected body to run the administration is frustrated. For the aforestated reasons, this Court has taken a view that all disputes with regard to election should be dealt with only after completion of the election.

Whenever the process of election starts, normally courts should not interfere with the process of election
15. This Court, in Ponnuswami v. Returning Officer (supra) has held that once the election process starts, it would not be proper for the courts to interfere with the election process. Similar view was taken by this Court in Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami (Moingiri Maharaj) Sahakari Dugdha Utpadak Sanstha v. State of Maharashtra (supra)."[Para No.35]

plaintiff has no absolute right, at the appellate stage, to withdraw from the suit

However, when an application for withdrawal of suit is filed at the appellate stage, the court has to take into consideration some other matters also. In Bhoopathy v. Kokila : AIR 2000 SC 2132, the Supreme Court has held as follows:
"No doubt, the grant of leave envisaged in sub-rule (3) of Rule 1 is at the discretion of the court but such discretion is to be exercised by the court with caution and circumspection. ...... The court is to discharge the duty mandated under the provision of the Code on taking into consideration all relevant aspects of the matter including the desirability of permitting the party to start a fresh round of litigation on the same cause of action. This becomes all the more important in a case where the application under Order 23 Rule 1 is filed by the plaintiff at the stage of appeal. Grant of leave in such a case would result in the unsuccessful plaintiff to avoid the decree or decrees against him and seek a fresh adjudication of the controversy on a clean slate. It may also result in the contesting defendant losing the advantage of adjudication of the dispute by the court or courts below. Grant of permission for withdrawal of a suit with leave to file a fresh suit may also result in annulment of a right vested in the defendant or even a third party. The appellate/second appellate court should apply its mind to the case with a view to ensure strict compliance with the conditions prescribed in Order 23 Rule 1(3) C.P.C for exercise of the discretionary power in permitting the withdrawal of the suit with leave to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action.

    Yet another reason in support of this view is that withdrawal of a suit at the appellate/second appellate stage results in wastage of public time of courts which is of considerable importance in present time in view of large accumulation of cases in lower courts and inordinate delay in disposal of the cases. ........ It is the duty of the court to feel satisfied that there exist proper grounds/reasons for granting permission for withdrawal of the suit with leave to file fresh suit by the plaintiffs and in such a matter the statutory mandate is not complied with by merely stating that grant of permission will not prejudice the defendants. In case such permission is granted at the appellate or second appellate stage prejudice to the defendant is writ large as he loses the benefit of the decision in his favour in the lower court". (emphasis supplied).[Para No.29]


    In Rathinavel Chettiar (supra), the Supreme Court has held as follows:

plaintiff has no absolute right, at the appellate stage, to withdraw from the suit
"Since withdrawal of suit at the appellate stage, if allowed, would have the effect of destroying or nullifying the decree affecting thereby rights of the parties which came to be vested under the decree, it cannot be allowed as a matter of course but has to be allowed rarely only when a strong case is made out. ..... Where a decree passed by the Trial Court is challenged in appeal, it would not be open to the plaintiff, at that stage, to withdraw the suit as to destroy that decree. The rights which have come to be vested in the parties to the suit under the decree cannot be taken away by withdrawal of the suit at that stage unless very strong reasons are shown that the withdrawal would not affect or prejudice anybody's vested rights".[Para No.30]

02 October 2020

Oral evidence can be given about any fact which would invalidate or contradict the proved or registered document

In respect of registered document (Exh.35), learned Counsel for the appellant has submitted that it is a registered document and therefore, contents therein cannot be contradicted. Sections 91 and 92 of the Indian Evidence Act are material sections in respect of oral evidence of the documents reduced into writing. If the document is proved as per Section 91, then oral evidence as per Section 92 is not permitted to contradict the document but proviso (1) of Section 92 permits to contradict the document. It reads as under :
 92.Exclusion of evidence of oral agreement.-When the terms of any such contract, grant or other disposition of property, or any matter required by law to be reduced to the form of a document, have been proved according to the last section, no evidence of any oral agreement or statement shall be admitted, as between the parties to any such instrument or their representatives in interest, for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding to, or subtracting from, its terms: 
Oral evidence can be given about any fact which would invalidate or contradict the proved or registered document
     Proviso  (1). - Any fact may be proved which would invalidate any document, or which would entitle any person to any decree or order relating thereto; such as fraud, intimidation, illegality, want of due execution, want of capacity in any contracting party, [want or failure] of consideration, or mistake in fact or law.
[Para No.16]

    As per Section 92 Proviso (1), evidence can be adduced to contradict the document. Learned Counsel for the respondents has pointed out the decision in the case of Vithal Saidu Lokhande (cited supra). This Court has held that oral evidence as per the provisions of Section 92 Proviso (1) is applicable and the defendants can adduce the oral evidence to contradict the document. This Court in the case of Vithal Saidu Lokhande (cited supra) has held that "Plea to invalidate any document proved in accordance with section 91 is available where a case is made out of fraud, intimidation, illegality, want of due execution, want of capacity in any contracting party, want or failure of consideration, or mistake in fact or law. It is further held that "proviso (1) of Section 92 permits leading of parol evidence of any fact which would invalidate any document, at the instance of any party to such document of their representatives in interest. Proviso (4) does not deal with the question of invalidating any document but it relates to the existence of any distinct subsequent oral agreement to rescind or modify any such contract, grant or disposition of property. It makes the parol evidence admissible to show that the prior written contract has been waived or replaced by subsequent oral agreement with a rider that, if a matter has been reduced into writing because the law requires it to be in writing for its validity, no oral evidence can be given of any subsequent agreement, rescinding or modifying it. It can only be waived, rescinded, modified or altered by another written agreement of equally solemn character. The rule applies to all registered instruments, whether or not, registration is compulsory under the law. "[Para No.17]

29 September 2020

For the purpose of deciding the period of notice of termination of lease, only the purpose for which the property was let out has to be seen and subsequent change in user would not change the nature of lease

Coming to the issue regarding validity of notice issued under Section 106 of the Act, it would be noticed that the notice issued was dated 27.06.2015 and the tenancy was terminated w.e.f. 30.06.2015 i.e. within three days, however, the suit was filed on 04.08.2015 i.e. after about one month of giving of the notice. The provisions of Section 106 of the Act, inter-alia, provides that a lease of immovable property is terminable on part of either lessor or lessee by 15 days' notice and in case of lease of immovable property for agriculture or manufacturing purposes by six months' notice. However, sub-section (3) of Section 106 of the Act provides that a notice shall not be deemed to be invalid merely because the period mentioned therein falls short of the period specified under sub-section (1), where a suit or proceeding is filed after the expiry of the period mentioned in that sub-section and therefore, if it is found that the lease is for the purpose other than manufacturing purpose merely giving a three days' notice would not invalidate the proceedings.


    The appellant himself in his statement has clearly admitted that he was a tenant in the shop since 1976, in the year 1976, his shop was that of cloth in the name of Shankar Cloth Store, he changed his business in the year 1990-91 and started work of dye cutting of jewellery in the name of Mankad Jewellers.


  From the above statement, it is apparent that when the shop was let out in the year 1976, the same was neither for agriculture purpose nor for manufacturing purpose as the appellant was selling cloth only, however, in the year 1991, the use of shop was changed to manufacturing purpose. Whether in these circumstances, the issuance of notice by treating the lease for purpose other than manufacturing purpose i.e. notice for less than six months / filing the suit before expiry of six months from the date of notice would be in compliance of provisions of Section 106 of the Act?


   The various Courts have dealt with the said aspect and have come to the conclusion that the relevant purpose of lease under Section 106 of the Act is the purpose for which the lease was initially granted and subsequent change would not effect duration of the notice.


For the purpose of deciding the period of notice of termination of lease, only the purpose for which the property was let out has to be seen and subsequent change in user would not change the nature of leass

   Bombay High Court in the case of Ruprao Nagorao Mahulkar (supra), inter-alia, observed as under :-

"16. I, however, think that for the purposes of section 106 what is relevant is the purpose for which the lease was obtained at the time when the lease was obtained. A subsequent change of use and subsequent employment of the premises taken on lease for a manufacturing purpose where they were not at the commencement taken for that purpose would not entitle a lessee to take advantage of section 106. The purpose of the lease must be found arid ascertained with reference to the time when the lease was brought into existence. This seems to me also consistent and in accordance with the other provisions of the Transfer of Property Act and law in that behalf. Section 108 (a) of the Transfer of Property Act speaks of rights and liabilities of the lessees. In the absence of a contract of local usage to the contrary, a lessee is under an obligation by virtue of section 108 (a) of the Transfer of Property Act to use the leased premises for the purpose for which they were let and is obliged not to use them "for the purpose other than for which it was leased." To do so therefore, would be a, breach of the terms and conditions of the lease which are implied in the absence of the contract to the contrary. Section 111 (g) of the Transfer of Property Act provides that where a lease permits a re-entry on breach of a condition, then the lessor would be entitled to determine the lease and re- enter. Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act also provides for termination of leases. A breach of terms and conditions of the lease would entitle a lessor to terminate the lease and to re-enter. In Devji's case (supra) Justice P.B. Mukherjee also observed that "the lease for manufacturing purpose must be a lease which at its inception is for that purpose. The lease at the time of the grant by the landlord must be impressed with the purpose of manufacture." Per contra-where it is not so impressed and where that was not the purpose at the time when the lease was commenced, the lessee would not be entitled to take advantage of section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act."

...........

When addressee refuses to accept registered post, it is presumed due service and knowledge of contents of letter can always be imputed on the addressee

Coming to the issue regarding the alleged non-service of notice under Section 106 of the Act on the appellant, a bare look at the Exhibit-6, which is an undelivered Registered A/D envelop sent to the appellant reveals that the same was sent by the counsel for the plaintiff to the appellant. The appellant in his statement admitted that the address indicated on the envelop was correct. The envelop clearly bears the endorsement made by the postman regarding refusal to receive the article. It is well settled that a notice sent under Section 106 of the Act, if refused by the tenant, the same is a sufficient service of the notice.


    Hon'ble Supreme Court in Puwada Venketeswara Rao v. Chidamana Venkata Ramana : AIR 1976 SC 869, observed that where a notice by registered post is returned with endorsement 'refused' it is not always necessary to produce the postman who tried to affect the service.

When addressee refuses to accept registered post, it is presumed due service and knowledge of contents of letter can always be imputed on the addressee

    In Gujarat Electricity Board & Anr. v. Atmaram Sungomal Poshani : 1989 (2) SCC 602, the Supreme Court observed as under:

"8. There is presumption of service of a letter sent under registered cover, if the same is returned back with a postal endorsement that the addressee refused to accept the same. No doubt the presumption is rebuttable and it is open to the party concerned to place evidence before the Court to rebut the presumption by showing that the address mentioned on the cover was incorrect or that the postal authorities never tendered the registered letter to him or that there was no occasion for him to refuse the same. The burden to rebut the presumption lies on the Party, challenging the factum of service. In the instant case the respondent failed to discharge this burden as he failed to place material before the Court to show that the endorsement made by the postal authorities was wrong and incorrect. Mere denial made by the respondent in the circumstances of the case was not sufficient to rebut the presumption relating to service of the registered cover. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the letter dated 24-4-1974 was served on the respondent and he refused to accept the same. Consequently, the service was complete and the view taken by the High Court is incorrect."

27 September 2020

For removal of Sarpach from his post in Maharashtra, enquiry should be conducted by CEO of Z.P. himself and not by enquiry committee directed by him

"Delegatus non potest delegare"


    The wording of the first proviso is in the form of a protection given to a person sought to be removed and therefore will have to be interpreted strictly. This is what precisely been discussed and laid down by this Court in the case of Nimba Yadav Bhoi (supra). After referring to various decisions for interpreting the scope and mandate of Section 39 of the Act, this Court has made following observations in paragraph no.26.
"26] Considering the provisions contained in Section 39(1) of the said Act, and the law on the subject matter discussed hereinabove, it is apparent that the enquiry under Section 39 of the said Act has necessarily to be conducted by the Chief Executive Officer and none else. Such enquiry has to be preceded by necessary order directing the Chief Executive Officer to hold the enquiry and such order should be necessarily issued by the President of the Zilla Parishad. Pursuant to such appointment, the Chief Executive Officer himself has to hear the person against whom the enquiry is to be conducted and based on such enquiry, the Chief Executive Officer has to prepare a report and submit the same to the President of the Zilla Parishad. All these requirements are mandatory in nature and any failure in that regard on the part of the authorities, the proceedings under Section 39(1) of the said Act would be vitiated and any order passed on the basis of such proceedings which are vitiated would be rendered null and void. Reverting to the facts of the case, undisputedly, the order of the removal of the petitioner from the office of Sarpanch was not preceded by any enquiry by the Chief Executive Officer. There was no order of the President appointing the Chief Executive Officer to enquire into the mater."
 
For removal of Sarpach from his post in Maharashtra, enquiry should be conducted by CEO of Z.P. himself and not by enquiry committee directed by him

  Since no contrary authority having been cited before me, I find no reason and justification from taking any other view. When it is a matter of taking a drastic action against a Sarpanch and the provision requires inquiry to be conducted by a Chief Executive Officer to whom it is delegated by the Commissioner respondent no.2 he could not have overlooked the fact that instead of the Chief Executive Officer, the inquiry was conducted by a 3 member committee as per the directions of the Chief Executive Officer. It is trite that delegatus non potest delegare. The Chief Executive Officer being the delegate of the Commissioner cannot further delegate the powers of holding the inquiry. When the Legislature in its wisdom has expected a superior officer to undertake the inquiry, in all probabilities because a drastic action against an elected Sarpanch is to be taken, the inquiry ought to have been conducted by the Chief Executive Officer himself. That having not been done, the lapse in my considered view goes to the root of the validity of the entire process.[Para No.13]
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