Thursday, October 29, 2015

Plans for 9,000-capacity mosque in east London rejected

Long-running plans to build a controversial mosque in east London to hold services for as many as 9,000 worshippers at a time have been rejected by the communities secretary, Greg Clark. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) dismissed appeals against the refusal of planning permission for the mosque in Newham, which goes by various names, including the Riverine Centre, the Abbey Mills Mosque, London Markaz and Masjid-e-Ilyas.

The Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat has sought permission to build the mosque on the 17-acre Abbey Mills site near the Olympic Park in Stratford, for about 18 years. The proposals included a huge dining hall and a library.

The DCLG said: “The decision was based on concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough. It took account of the evidence from all parties and is in line with the council’s original determination and advice from the independent planning inspector on the main appeal.”

Tablighi Jamaat was also refused temporary permission to continue to use existing buildings on the site as a place of worship for the next two years, and must cease to do so within three months. There was no immediate comment from the organisation.

Newham council welcomed the decision. It said in a statement the land “which is larger than six international rugby pitches” could accommodate more than 1,100 homes and 15,000 sq m of retail, office and community space, and that its development would create a significant number of jobs.

The council said it would now continue to work to secure the development of the site. “The trust now has three months to cease the use of the site as a place of worship and clear the site they have been unlawfully using for two decades,” the statement said.

More than 250,000 people signed an online petition opposing the plans for the mosque in 2007. It claimed to represent “the Christian population of this great country England” and said the mosque would “cause terrible violence and suffering”.

Newham council rejected Tablighi Jamaat’s plans in 2012 after concerns were raised about the size of the mosque and the impact on parking and traffic in the area. It also said the mosque would have an impact on nearby historic buildings, and that the council’s priorities were the creation of new homes and jobs. 

Tablighi Jamaat appealed against the ruling, leading to a three-week public inquiry last year.

The organisation bought the site, a chemical works decommissioned in the late 1980s, in 1996. A temporary mosque known as the Riverine Centre, with capacity for 2,500 people, was built on the site soon after. 

Tablighi Jamaat has been accused of radicalising young Muslims, but says it stands for freedom, democracy and social and religious integration.

Mustafa Ahmed, who works in a cabin cafe near the site, said he did not think the mosque was needed. “Not necessary at all. It’s all industrial, not [needed] here to be honest with you,” he said. “You should come here on Friday at 2pm when lots of people come. I am Muslim, but I’m not practising and I don’t think we need it here.”

Neighbouring stallholder Mahmoud Khan, who regularly attends the existing mosque, said: “I don’t know why there were so many delays. So many times there have been applications. Don’t know why they reject. I go there to every Thursday gathering and everything there is temporary. We need a proper place. So many people come from different areas. It is unique as we are all together and gather in one prayer hall.”

Keith Lee, a florist who has had a stall in the area for over 42 years felt differently: “I’d thought there were enough mosques in the borough, and if not mosques, houses converted and prayer rooms.

“I was born in Stratford. The area is now so densely populated by different people, and there are a lot of Muslims. But because of things like this people are against immigration. It’s not about colour but when they have no respect for other people’s property. But I’m old-fashioned.”

The DCLG said it had refused to grant planning permission on economic and social grounds. One of the main reasons was the loss of housing provision on a large and important site, given Newham council’s strategy to create 40,000 new homes by 2027, it said. Another was that the appellants had failed to demonstrate the need for a mosque of its size on the site.

Clark did acknowledge that the appellants had “a large, longstanding and regular congregation” and that it would not be easy to find an alternative site in the area. It was also recognised that the decision would “likely impact on many persons of Muslim faith, particularly those associated with the Tablighi Jamaat movement”.

“However, it is considered that the proposed scheme is not in accordance with the development plan which allocated the appeal site as a strategic site for mixed use,” the DCLG said. “If approved, the site would not be used to build new homes and contribute to the regeneration of the area.”

Ken Clark, a council cabinet minister, said: “Newham council has tried to work with the trust for more than a decade now to create a plan that would benefit all residents by providing much-needed jobs, homes and community space. 

“But repeatedly the trust has broken its promises and delayed the inevitable. It is now time that this site is made thoroughly safe and developed appropriately so that it can provide vital facilities for the whole community of Newham.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

German court rules sympathising with Islamists not a crime

German prosecutors failed to get a tougher sentence for a woman who married a jihadist and took her young daughters to Syria, the Federal Court of Justice said on Tuesday in a landmark ruling that could affect future trials of suspected Islamists. A court in Munich last year handed the now 30-year old woman an 18-month suspended sentence for taking her two daughters away to Syria without the knowledge of their father. Prosecutors argued she deserved a higher sentence, possibly of up to 10 years behind bars, for supporting an Islamist group and preparing a serious act of violence. Intelligence agencies say some 740 Islamists from Germany, of whom a fifth are women, have travelled to Syria and Iraq. About one third are now back in Germany while 120 have died. Prosecutors are investigating dozens of cases of suspected Islamists preparing violent attacks in Syria. The woman, who was not named but is from the southern German Allgaeu region, converted to Islam in 2012 and at the start of last year took her daughters, then aged three and seven, to Syria. There, she became the second wife of a member of the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, linked to al Qaeda, said the court in Karlsruhe. She learned how to use weapons and was ready to use an assault rifle and hand grenades if attacked by the Syrian army, said the court. However, the court said there was insufficient evidence that she had been involved in planning attacks there or that she wanted to get involved in military campaigns. “It was important that the accused only sympathised with the Al-Nusra Front – which is in itself unpunishable according to German law – but did not actively get involved in their combat operations,” said the court in its ruling. The court said she had moved house several times to avoid getting involved in fighting and returned.

Saudi actor arrested by religious police for taking selfies with female fans in mall

A popular actor and TV presenter has been arrested in a mall in Saudi Arabia after his appearance caused a huge commotion among young female fans.

Abdul Aziz al-Kassar, a Saudi national who lives in Kuwait, was on a working visit to Riyadh when he was mobbed by fans trying to take pictures and selfies with him.

Kassar had publicised his visit to the Al Nakheel shopping centre on Friday evening, asking his social media followers for recommendations of "the best mall to visit", Gulf News reported.

But in a TV interview at the weekend, he told the Gulf Rotana network he had not expected the "overwhelming" welcome he received from fans.

Video from the mall posted to YouTube and Twitter appears to show Kassar surrounded by women taking photos, before a man in white robes grabs him by the shirt and hauls him away.
Kassar told Gulf Rotana: "I did not expect to find so many people waiting for me. I want to clarify that the presence of young women at the mall was not something under my control.

Law on surrogacy limits use of a donor’s sperm

A day after deciding to ban commercial surrogacy, the Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it was finalizing a legislation to allow surrogacy only to childless Indian couples and address the finer points, including parental rights over surrogate child, linked to the sensitive issue. 

Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar informed a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana about the government's decision to restrain foreign couples from using Indian surrogate mothers for having a child and requested for two weeks' time to file an affidavit detailing the notifications issued on this issue. 

Immediately after the hearing, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) wrote to all registered medical practitioners informing that the government has decided to limit surrogacy to "Indian married couples only and not to foreigners" and requested them "not to entertain any foreigners for availing surrogacy services in India". 

Supreme Court to examine validity of Muslim divorce, polygamy

Muslim women at a disadvantage under the Muslim Personal Law with no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and polygamy, the Supreme Court has now decided to examine the validity of such practices saying that it amounts to violation of women's fundamental rights.

A bench of Justices A R Dave and A K Goel said laws dealing with marriage and succession are not part of religion and the Muslim Personal Law has to evolve with the changing times. The bench said it is high time for the judiciary to examine these issues which the court had earlier refrained from venturing into on the ground that it was a policy matter to be decided by the government and the legislature. It said these are not merely a policy matter but relate to protection of fundamental rights of Muslim women guaranteed by the Constitution. Referring to an earlier apex court verdict, the bench said practice of polygamy is injurious to public morals and can be banned just like the practice of sati was banned.

"It was pointed out that in spite of Constitutional guarantee, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her," the bench said.

Monday, October 26, 2015



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1770 OF 2005

STATE OF GUJARAT                                   … APPELLANT

                               J U D G M E N T


1     This Appeal lays siege to the decision of the Division  Bench  of  the
High Court of Gujarat  at  Ahmedabad  which  dismissed  the  appeal  of  the
Appellant  before  us  while  allowing  the  cross-objection  filed  by  the
Plaintiff/Respondent by holding it to be entitled to claim interest  for  an
extended period.  For the reasons which  will  follow,  we  have  set  aside
these concurrent findings against the Appellant State,  principally  on  the
ground that the claim of the Respondent stood barred by  the  principles  of
prescription as contained in the Limitation Act, 1963.
   2  The Appellant State invited tenders for providing lining to  the  main
canal line. The Respondent, a registered  partnership,  submitted  a  tender
that was accepted by the Appellant State.  Thereafter  a  regular  agreement
was entered into according to which the  Respondent  would  have  from  15th
November to 14th June as its working  period.  Under  the  Work-Order  dated
24.9.1976, the Respondent was  required  to  complete  the  work  within  18
months, i.e. on or before 23.3.1978. The case of the  Respondent,  which  we
have no cause to disbelieve, is that there  were  repeated  and  consecutive
delays in handing over the site  due  to  which  the  Respondent  could  not
complete the work within the  stipulated  time.  The  first  season  was  to
extend from 15.11.1976 to 14.7.1977, but the canal was only  made  available
on 15.1.1977 and even then the cement was not issued to  the  Respondent  by
the Appellant State till 31.1.1977. The second season  was  to  extend  from
15.11.1977 to 23.3.1978, but the canal was handed over on 15.3.1978. At  the
Respondent’s request, the contract period was  extended  to  14.6.1978,  but
the Appellant State  specifically  stated  that  no  compensation  would  be
payable for the extension. Pursuant to a written request by the  Respondent,
a third season from 15.11.1978 to 14.6.1979 was granted, but yet  again  the
site was handed over as late as on 15.3.1979. The Respondent sought  further
time to complete the project, and was consequently granted a  fourth  season
which was to extend from 15.11.1979 to 29.6.1980. The site  was  once  again
made available with delay only on 15.3.1980. The work was finally  completed
on 20.6.1980. It is noteworthy that in each request for  an  extension,  the
Respondent sought compensation for monetary loss due to  the  extended  time
limit, but while allowing each extension  the  Appellant  State  denied  the
claim for compensation each time. The Respondent’s case was that as per  the
contract period, 342 days should have been made available to it  to  conduct
the stipulated work, but as a result of the delay in handing over  the  site
and the materials, the Respondent had to seek extensions,  and  nevertheless
managed to complete the project in 288 working days,  thus  indicating  that
there was no laxity on its part. The Respondent signed the Final Bill  under
protest on 1.1.1982; and the Security Deposit  was  refunded  on  27.1.1982.
Thereupon, the Respondent addressed a statutory notice under Section  80  of
the C.P.C. dated 7.8.1983 to the Appellant  State,  claiming  damages  as  a
result of the additional costs incurred due to  the  above mentioned  delays.
The Respondent eventually filed a suit on 25.1.1985  seeking  damages  under
thirteen different heads, including price escalation in labour  due  to  the
prolongation  of  the  work,  price  escalation  in  fuel  lubricants  etc.,
overstay of capital and machinery, and overheads  such  as  staff,  kitchen,
office etc.
3     The Trial Court found that the  delay  was  caused  by  the  Appellant
State; that work was completed by the Respondent well within the  number  of
days contractually allocated to complete it.  Noting that under  Section  73
of the Indian Contract Act compensation is payable for any  loss  or  damage
for breach of a contract, the Trial Court granted compensation under  twelve
of the thirteen heads of claims itemised by the Respondent. In terms of  its
Judgment dated 4.5.1991 the Trial Court observed  that  the  factual  matrix
pertaining to  these  amounts  claimed  have  remained  uncontroverted,  and
accordingly decreed the suit.  The  Respondent  was  granted  Rs.13,61,571/-
with interest at 12 per cent per annum with effect from  7.8.1983  viz.  the
date of the statutory notice.  The  Appellant  State  appealed  against  the
decree and the Respondent filed a counter-claim seeking  interest  from  the
date of written demand of the  suit  claim  instead  of  from  the  date  of
statutory notice.  The  High  Court,  vide  its  judgment  dated  30.7.2003,
dismissed  the  appeal  filed  by  the  Appellant  State  and  allowed   the
Respondent’s cross objection, granting interest thereon from 5.3.1982.
4     The Appellant State has contended that  the  High  Court  ignored  its
myriad objections/submissions  in  connection  with  the  various  different
heads; that the bills paid from time to time  by  the  Respondent  including
the Final Bill were accepted without any remonstration or reservation  being
raised, thereby inexorably leading to  the  conclusion  that  the  suit  was
clearly an afterthought; and that the suit was barred by limitation  as  the
claims were raised after a lapse of more than three years from  the  arising
of the causes of action. It is only the last contention to  which  we  shall
advert our attention.
5     It would be pertinent to note that the issue  of  limitation  was  not
pleaded as a ground before the  Trial  Court  or  the  High  Court.  It  was
pressed for the first time in the course of oral arguments before  the  High
Court.  Nonetheless, it has been discussed in the impugned Order.  The  High
Court, noting the contention raised by the  Respondent  that  the  point  of
limitation was a mixed question of fact and law and could therefore  not  be
adjudicated at this point, held that even if it could  be  adjudicated,  the
suit would not be barred by principles of prescription as it was based on  a
series of successive breaches committed by the Appellant State, and in  such
circumstances the date of the last breach was relevant.  The High Court  was
of the opinion that limitation need  not  mandatorily  be  computed  on  the
basis of each cause of action. It held the date of return  of  the  Security
Deposit as the last date of payment for the work done,  and  concluded  that
the suit had been filed within three years from  this  date.  The  suit  was
therefore found to be within the prescribed period of limitation.
6     Section 3 of the Limitation Act explicitly  states  that  “every  suit
instituted, appeal preferred, and  application  made  after  the  prescribed
period shall be dismissed, although limitation has not  been  set  up  as  a
defence.” It is thus incumbent upon the Court to  satisfy  itself  that  the
suit is not barred by limitation, regardless of  whether  such  a  plea  has
been raised by the parties. In Union of India vs. British India  Corporation
Ltd  (2003)  9  SCC  505,  it  has  been  opined  that  “the   question   of
limitation is a mandate to the forum and, irrespective of the  fact  whether
it was raised or not, the forum must consider and apply it, if there  is  no
dispute on facts.”  It is thus irrelevant that the Appellant State  had  not
raised the issue of limitation before the Trial Court. A duty  was  cast  on
the Court to consider this aspect of law, even on its  own  initiative,  and
since it failed to do so, the Appellant State was competent  to  raise  this
legal question in appeal or indeed even in any successive appeal.  Close  to
a century ago, in Lachhmi Sewak  Sahu  vs.  Ram  Rup  Sahu  AIR  1944  Privy
Council 24, it has been held that the point of limitation  is  available  to
be urged even  in  the  Court  of  last  resort.  Furthermore,  we  are  not
confronted with a  situation  where  the  plea  of  limitation  is  a  mixed
question of fact and law, or where additional evidence needs to be  adduced.
The submissions of Learned Counsel for the Respondent  to  the  effect  that
the Appellant is foreclosed and precluded from urging the plea  of  the  bar
of limitation are meretricious and are rejected.   We shall now  proceed  to
consider whether the suit was in fact barred by limitation.
7     The period of limitation would be computed under either Article 55  or
Article 113, both of which are laid out below of the facility of reference:
|Description of Suit  |Period of          |Time from which period |
|                     |Limitation         |begins to run          |
|Art 55.    For       |Three years        |When the contract is   |
|compensation for the |                   |broken or (where there |
|breach of any        |                   |are successive         |
|contract, express or |                   |breaches) when the     |
|implied, not herein  |                   |breach in respect of   |
|specially provided   |                   |which the suit is      |
|for.                 |                   |instituted occurs or   |
|                     |                   |(where the breach is   |
|                     |                   |continuing) when it    |
|                     |                   |ceases.                |
|Art. 113.   Any suit |Three years        |When the right to sue  |
|for which no period  |                   |accrues.               |
|of limitation is     |                   |                       |
|provided elsewhere in|                   |                       |
|this Schedule        |                   |                       |

8     It would be pertinent, at this point, to recall the decision  of  this
Court in Gannon Dunkerley and Co. Ltd. vs. Union of India (1969) 3 SCC  607,
though that matter dealt with the provisions of the Indian  Limitation  Act,
1908. The Appellants/Plaintiff therein filed  a  suit  seeking  an  enhanced
rate of compensation in light of the deviation in the  nature  of  the  work
being  rendered  more  complex,  the  increase  in  costs   due   to   undue
prolongation of the period of work, the increase in the  quantity  of  work,
and the grant of contracts  to  other  competing  parties  at  substantially
higher rates. This Court held that the “suit filed by the appellant  Company
is not a suit for compensation for breach of contract  express  or  implied:
it is a suit for enhanced rates because of change of circumstances,  and  in
respect of work not covered by the contract.”  The claim for enhanced  rates
was found to arise outside the contract and for this reason was not  in  the
genre of  an  action  for  compensation  for  breach  of  contract.  It  was
therefore held that the claim was not covered under Article 115 of the  1908
Act (which is in pari materia to Article 55  of  the  Limitation  Act),  and
would have to fall within the ambit of Article 120 of the  1908  Act  (which
is akin to Article 113 of  the  Limitation  Act).  The  facts  at  hand  are
dissimilar to those in Gannon Dunkerley in that the damages  sought  by  the
present Respondent are for work covered by the contract, and the  change  in
circumstances was directly caused by  breaches ascribable to  the  Appellant
State in not handing-over the site on time. Facially, the  suit  claims  are
damages incurred due to  the  extension  of  the  contract  period  and  the
resultant damages are incurred by the Respondent.  The suit would  therefore
fall within the ambit of Article 55.  Article  113,  which  is  a  residuary
provision, cannot be resorted to.
9     It also appears to us that the contract was clearly not broken as  the
Respondents chose to keep it alive despite  its  repeated  breaches  by  the
Appellant State. The factual matrix presents a situation  of  successive  or
multiple breaches, rather than of a continuous  breach,  as  each  delay  in
handing over the canal/site by the Appellant State constituted to  a  breach
that was distinct and complete in itself and gave rise to a  separate  cause
of action for which the Respondent could  have  rescinded  the  contract  or
possibly claimed compensation due to  prolongation  of  time  and  resultant
escalation of costs. Of course the Respondent  is  enabled  to  combine  all
these causes of action in one plaint, as postulated in  the  C.P.C  provided
each claim is itself justiciable.  Even the  Respondent  has  argued  before
the High Court that the suit was based on successive breaches  committed  by
the Appellant State. In our opinion, the  suit  was  required  to  be  filed
within three years of the happening of each breach, which  would  constitute
a distinct cause of action. Article 55 specifically states that  in  respect
of successive breaches, the period begins to run when the breach in  respect
of which the suit is instituted, occurs.  In this  vein,  Rohtas  Industries
Ltd vs. Maharaja of Kasimbazar China Clay Mines ILR  (1951)  1  Cal  420  is
apposite as it has held that when a party agrees to  deliver  certain  goods
every month for a duration spanning certain years, the cause of  action  for
breach for failure to deliver in a particular month arises  at  the  end  of
that month and not at the end of the period of the contract.  The  situation
before us is similar in  that  the  cause  of  action  had  arisen  on  each
occasion when the Appellant State failed  to  hand  over  the  site  at  the
contractually stipulated time. Specifically, the  limitation  periods  arose
on 15.11.1976, 15.11.1977, 15.11.1978 and 15.11.1979, i.e. on the first  day
of each season, when the Respondent State committed a breach by  failing  to
hand over the site. Thus the period of limitation did not  commence  at  the
termination of the contract period or the date of final  payment.  The  High
Court’s conclusion that the last date of breach and  last  date  of  payment
were relevant, not each cause of action, was thus  patently  erroneous.  For
each breach, a corresponding amount of damages for  additional  costs  could
have been sought. The suit, however, was filed on 25.1.1985, well after  the
limitation period of three years for even the final breach, as  the  various
causes of action became time barred on  15.11.1979,  15.11.1980,  15.11.1981
and 15.11.1982 respectively.
10    There is  another  perspective  on  the  method  or  manner  in  which
limitation  is  to  be  computed.   We  have  already  narrated   that   the
Respondent, on every occasion when the  extension  was  sought  by  it,  had
requested to be compensated for delay.  The Appellant State had granted  the
extensions but had repudiated  and  rejected  the  Respondent’s  claims  for
damages.  The effect of these events would be that the cause of  action  for
making the claim for damages indubitably arose on each of  those  occasions.
It is certainly arguable  that  the  Appellant  State  may  have  also  been
aggrieved by the delay,  although  the  facts  of  the  case  appear  to  be
unfavourable to this prediction, since delay can reasonably be laid  at  the
door of the  Appellant.  The  Respondent,  however,  could  prima  facie  be
presumed  to  have  accepted  a  renewal  or  extension  in  the  period  of
performance but  with  the  rider  that  the  claim  for  damages  had  been
abandoned by it.  If  this  assumption  was  not  to  be  made  against  the
Respondent, it would reasonably be expected that the Respondent should  have
filed a suit for damages on each of these occasions. In  a  sense,  a  fresh
contract would be deemed to have been entered into between  the  parties  on
the grant of each of the extensions.  It is therefore not  legally  possible
for the Respondent to contend that  there  was  a  continuous  breach  which
could have been litigated upon when the contract was finally concluded.   In
other words, contemporaneous with the extensions granted, it  was  essential
for the Respondent to have initiated  legal  action.   Since  this  was  not
done, there would be a reasonable presumption that  the  claim  for  damages
had been abandoned and given a go-by by the Respondent.
11    In a works contract, more often than not, delays occur,  and  that  is
why it is assumed that time is not of the  essence.   Where  extensions  are
asked for and granted, there must  be  a  clear  and  discernable  stand  on
behalf of either of  the  parties  that  the  extension  is  granted  and/or
accepted  without  prejudice  to  the  claim  of  damages.  It  has   become
commonplace that neither party lodges a claim for  damages,  but  waits  for
the end of the contract to raise these disputes,  taking  advantage  of  the
nebulous and equivocal nature  of  the  transactions  between  them.   This,
however, is not the position that obtains  before  us  since  the  Appellant
State had categorically posited that the claim for damages for  the  alleged
delay on its part would not be entertained.
12    The Respondent has sought to place  reliance  on  Section  19  of  the
Limitation Act. It would be apposite to reproduce this Section:
19. Effect of payment on account of debt or  of  interest  on  legacy.—Where
payment on account of a debt or of interest on a legacy is made  before  the
expiration of the prescribed period by the person liable to pay the debt  or
legacy or by his agent duly authorised in this behalf,  a  fresh  period  of
limitation shall be computed from the time when the payment was made.
This Section would not come to the  aid  of  the  Respondent,  as  the  suit
before us is not for payment on account of a debt or of interest on  legacy,
but is a suit for damages for additional costs incurred as a result  of  the
extension of the contract period. This Court in Union  of  India  vs.  Raman
Iron  Foundry  1974  (2)  SCC  231,  after  placing  reliance  on  Jones  v.
Thompson [1858] 27 L.J.Q.B. 234, has opined that a claim  for  damages  does
not give rise to a debt until the liability is adjudicated and damages  have
been assessed by a decree or any order of a Court or any other  adjudicatory
authority or forum.  Furthermore, in  J.C.  Budharaja  vs  Chairman,  Orissa
Mining Corporation Ltd. and Anr (2008) 2 SCC 444, it has been held that  the
effect of Section 19 would be to allow a fresh  period  of  limitation  with
regard to the  'existing  debt'  in  respect  of  which  acknowledgment  and
payment has been made. It would not extend the period of limitation for  any
fresh claim, or any amount not accepted by the other party. In  the  factual
scenario before us, the payment of  the  Final  Bill  and  Security  Deposit
could not be construed to accept or acknowledge the damages  raised  by  the
Respondent and therefore Section 19 would not per se extend  the  period  of
limitation. Furthermore, there could be no extension  under  Section  18  on
account of the acknowledgement  in  writing,  as  at  each  point  that  the
Respondent raised a claim for damages, it was specifically  refuted  by  the
Appellant State, and the amounts that were accepted by the  Appellant  State
were limited to the liabilities within the contract, not  fresh  liabilities
for damages.
13    The Respondent has also argued that since notice under Section  80  of
the C.P.C. was served to the Appellant State claiming damages  on  7.8.1983,
a period of two months from  the  date  of  the  notice  would  have  to  be
excluded when calculating the period of limitation, as per Section 15(2)  of
the Limitation Act. It has relied on M/s Disha Constructions  vs.  State  of
Goa (2012) 1 SCC 690 to this end.  However, since the limitation period  for
the last breach alleged by the Respondent itself  ended  on  15.11.1982  and
the notice under Section 80 C.P.C. is  dated  7.8.1983,  this  provision  is
irrelevant. The notice perforce should have  been  issued  before  the  suit
became time barred, and only if so done would the period have been  extended
for a further two months.
14    It is thus clear that the Respondent  failed  to  file  the  suit  for
damages within the period prescribed in the Limitation  Act.   The  suit  is
required to be dismissed on this  ground  alone.   The  impugned  Order  is,
therefore, set aside, and the Appeal is allowed, but with  no  order  as  to


New Delhi,
October 16, 2015.



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.786 of 2008

        KAMAL @ POORIKAMAL & ANR.                      …. Appellants


         STATE OF TAMIL NADU                          …. Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T

      Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

      1.    This appeal by Special Leave challenges the judgment  and  order
      dated 28.06.2006 passed by the High  Court  of  Judicature  at  Madras
      dismissing Criminal Appeal No.572 of 2003 preferred by the  appellants
      herein and thereby affirming  the  conviction  and  sentence  recorded
      against them by the Principal Sessions Judge, Coimbatore  in  Sessions
      Case No.344 of 2002.

      2.    One Sultan Meeran hereinafter referred to as Sultan, resident of
      Coimbatore fell in love with a Hindu girl, converted her to Islam  and
      married her.  Thereafter he converted another Hindu girl to Islam  and
      married her as well.  This conduct on the part of Sultan, according to
      the prosecution, enraged the first appellant who one  month  prior  to
      the incident in question had gone to the house of  the  deceased.   He
      called Sultan and stated that he was converting Hindu girls  to  Islam
      and marrying them and that there was danger to Hindu Religion  because
      of him and that if he were to continue  such  conversions  the  things
      would become different and that he must save his  life,  if  possible.
      At that time the father of Sultan,  i.e.  PW  8  Abdul  Ajeezkhan  was
      present in the house.

      3.    On 26.03.2002 the car  belonging  to  Sultan  had  gone  to  the
      workshop of PW-11 Venu Gopal for repairs.  After the car was ready  to
      be picked up, Sultan along with his younger brother PW-1 Abdul  Kadhar
      went to the workshop on the motor-cycle of said PW-1.  Sultan had told
      his elder brother PW 9 Abudhaheer that he and PW-1 would return  after
      having dinner at Galaxy Restaurant.  After  picking  up  the  vehicle,
      Sultan and PW-1 had their dinner in the Restaurant and when they  came
      out around 10:35 p.m., Sultan suggested that  they  would  go  to  the
      adjoining club named Snooker World.

      4.     As they entered, they found the appellants sitting there.   The
      first appellant called Sultan and spoke  to  him.   Thereafter  Sultan
      told PW-1 that they should go home and they came out of  the  club  by
      about 10:45 p.m.  PW-1 then started his motorcycle  while  Sultan  was
      getting into his car.  At that time the appellants came out and  asked
      him to stop the car.  The second appellant opened the door and sat  in
      the back seat of the car of Sultan.  He held both  the  hands  of  the
      deceased backwards and the first appellant who was  standing  outside,
      took out a knife from his trouser and repeatedly stabbed Sultan on the
      head and neck, stating that he had converted two Hindu girls to  Islam
      and there was danger to Hindu Religion from him.  The first  appellant
      no.1 held the neck of Sultan and pulled him, at which point the second
      appellant came out, took  another  knife  from  his  pocket  and  also
      stabbed him.  According to the prosecution, at that stage PW-2  Ismail
      and PW-3 Sarvan Kumar had also reached the  place  of  occurrence  and
      witnessed the incident.  When PWs 1, 2 and 3 tried  to  apprehend  the
      appellants they were threatened that they would meet the same fate  as
      that of Sultan and the appellants fled away.

      5.   Sultan in that injured condition drove the car and while  he  was
      near Raj Laxami Clinic he lost control over the vehicle  and  the  car
      went into a ditch and stopped.  PW-1 who  was  following  him  on  his
      motor-cycle  saw  Sultan  being  unconscious.   At  that  point,  PW-9
      Abudhaheer also came there.  They managed to procure an ambulance  and
      PW-9 took Sultan in the ambulance, followed  by  PW-1  on  his  motor-
      cycle. They reached Government Hospital at about 11:40 p.m.  The  duty
      doctor after examining Sultan declared him to be dead.  After  putting
      the dead body in the mortuary, PW-1 went home, wrote  down  complaint,
      Ext. P-1 and thereafter reached B-2 Police  Station,  R.S.  Puram  and
      lodged the complaint at about 00:30 hours on 27.03.2002.  Crime No.389
      of 2002 was  accordingly  registered  for  offences  punishable  under
      Sections 341, 302, 506  (ii)  of  the  I.P.C.   The  FIR  reached  the
      Magistrate at 11:30 a.m. on 27.03.2002.

      6.    On 27.03.2002 the post mortem on the dead  body  of  Sultan  was
      conducted at 11:45 a.m. by PW 16 Dr. Sunder Rajan.  He found following
      ante mortem injuries:
           “1. Transversely oblique stab wound on  the  lateral  aspect  of
           neck measuring 5 cms x 2 cms x 6 cms deep. The lower medial  and
           of the wound is 2 cms below right angle of mandible.  Both  ends
           of the wound are pointed and  margins  is  regular.  This  wound
           passes downwards, backwards and medially and end as a point.  On
           dissection, the wound found cutting the  common  carotid  artery
           and internal jugular vein on the right  side.  Surrounding  area
           contained extravasted blood clots.

           2. Transversely oblique stab wound on the right  lateral  aspect
           of neck measuring 2 cms x 1 cm x 3 cms deep in the muscle plane.
           The upper lateral end of the wound is 5 cms below right mastoid.
           Both ends pointed. Margins regular. The wound passes  downwards,
           backwards and medially.

           3. Transversely oblique stab wound on the right  lateral  aspect
           of neck measuring 1 cm x 0.5 cm x 1.5 cms  deep  in  the  muscle
           plane. Both end pointed. Margins regular. The lower inner end of
           the wound is 8 cms below right  angle  of  mandible.  The  wound
           passes downwards, backwards and medially.

           4. A stab wound on the right supraclavicular region measuring 10
           cm x .5 cmx 1.5 cm in the muscle plane above and lateral to  the
           inner end of clavicle. Both ends pointed.  Margin  regular.  The
           wound passes backwards and medially.

           5. Oblique out injury on the right side of fore head 4 cms above
           the inner end of the right eye-brow measuring 2 cms x 1.5 cms  x
           bone deep.

           6. Vertically oblique incised wound involving the right temporal
           region of the scalp and right side upper part of the  face  just
           in front of right pinna measuring 12 cms x 1.5 cms x muscle deep
           with tailing in the lower end. The lower end of the wound  is  2
           cms about right angle mandible.

           7.  Vertically oblique  incised  wound  in  the  right  temporal
           partito occipital region measuring 10 cms x  1  cm  muscle  deep
           with tailing in the lower end. The middle of the wound is 3  cms
           posterior to right mastoid.

           8.  Oblique stab wound on the right side of chin involving right
           side of lower lip also measuring 5 cms x 2 cms in the  chin  and
           exiting out thrown in buccal surface of the right  side  of  the
           lower lip measuring 4cms x 1 cm. both  ends  of  the  wound  are
           pointed and the margins are regular.

           9. Transversely oblique stab wound on the right  lateral  aspect
           of chest measuring 3 cms x 2 cms x 3.5 cms deep  in  the  muscle
           plane. Both ends pointed. Margins regular. The  posterior  upper
           end of the wound is 14 cm right to the middle of T 10  vertebra.
           The wound passes downwards, backwards and medially.

           10. Oblique, cut injury on the back of lower third or left  fore
           arm measuring 4 cms x 2 cms x 53 neon deep. The lower radial end
           of the wound is 3 cms about left wrist.

           11.  Transversely oblique cut injury over the flexor  aspect  of
           left forearm measuring 5 cms x 2 cms  tendon  deep.  The  medial
           distal end of the wound is 9 cms above left wrist.

           12. Oblique cut injury front of left forearm 7 cms.  Above  left
           wrist measuring 2 cms x 1 cm tendon deep.

           13. An oblique incised wound 1 cm lateral to the previous  wound
           number 13 measuring 1 cm x 0.5 cm skin deep.

           14. Oblique cut injury in the ulna aspect of left palm measuring
           6 cms x 2 cmx bone deep. The wound is 4 cms below left wrist.

           15. Oblique cut injury on the back of ulnar side  of  left  hand
           wrist measuring 2.5 cms x 2 cms x tendon deep.
           16. Four oblique skin deep incised wounds measuring 3 cms  x  .5
           cms, 2 cms x .5 cm, 3 cms x .5 cm and 2 cms x .5 cm on the  back
           of left wrist.”

           He also found following injuries:-
            1.   2 cms x .5 cm over left side of fore head.
           2.    1 cm x.5 cm in the right side of front of lower neck.
            3.   5 cms x 3 cms back of right shoulder.
           4.    3 cms x 2 cms over right deltoid region.
           5     5 cms x 2 cms, 3 cms x 1 cm, 1 cm x .5 cm , .5 cm x .5  cm
           over lateral aspect of middle third of left arm.”

             PW-16  doctor  Sunder  Rajan  issued  Ext.  P-14  post   mortem
      certificate  and  letter  Ext.  P-16  being  the   final   certificate
      specifying the reasons for death.  According to him Sultan Meeran  had
      died  of  hemorrhage  due  to  injury   no.1   “stabbed   injury   and
      corresponding internal injury to neck vessels.”

      7.    The first appellant surrendered on 28.03.2002 while  the  second
      appellant was arrested on  31.03.2002.   Pursuant  to  the  disclosure
      statement made by the second  appellant,  M.O.  No.1  namely  a  blood
      stained knife with rubber handle  was  recovered  on  31.03.2002.   On
      02.04.2002 M.O. No.2 being a blood stained knife  with  wooden  handle
      was recovered pursuant  to  the  disclosure  statement  of  the  first
      appellant.  After completion of investigation, charge-sheet was  filed
      against the appellants and they were tried for the offences punishable
      under Sections 341, 302, 506 (ii)  of  the  I.P.C.  in  Sessions  Case
      No.344 of 2002.

      8.    The prosecution examined 19 witnesses in support  of  its  case.
      Eye-witness account was unfolded through the testimony of PWs 1,2  and
      3.  PW1 deposed to the incident reiterating the narration as stated in
      complaint Ext.P1.  PWs 2 and 3 supported the  version  of  PW1.   PW8,
      father of Sultan deposed to the incident when the first appellant  had
      come to the house of Sultan.  PW9 stated about the shifting of  Sultan
      in ambulance to Government Hospital.  Medical evidence on  record  was
      in the form of depositions of  PW15  Dr.  Natrajan  who  had  declared
      Sultan dead when he was brought to the hospital and of PW16 Dr. Sunder
      Rajan  who  had  conducted  the  post-mortem.   Though  PW16  did  not
      specifically state that injury No.1 was  sufficient  in  the  ordinary
      course of nature to cause the death, in response  to  queries  in  the
      cross-examination he stated as under:

           “Carotid artery carries the blood to brain with the oxygen.   If
           the pure blood is not carried to the brain, then the brain would
           not function for more than 3 minutes.  A  lot  of  blood  should
           have been oozed when there were 17  stab  wounds.   …..  If  the
           blood is not carried to brain, consciousness may  not  be  there
           beyond 2 or 3 minutes.  Thereafter, a  person  would  loose  his

      9.    The first appellant took the defence of right of private defence
      and examined one Suresh Babu as DW1.  It was the  case  of  the  first
      appellant that as he came out of the club Sultan and one  more  person
      tried to drag him into the car of Sultan, that there was a dagger kept
      in the car which was used by the first appellant in self defence, thus
      suggesting that the injury on the person of Sultan could have been the
      result of the scuffle between them.  But there was not a single injury
      on the person of the first appellant whereas Sultan  had  suffered  16
      injuries.    The  second  appellant  took   the   defence   of   false

      10.   The trial court after considering the  material  on  record  and
      rival submissions found the case of the prosecution completely  proved
      and  by  its  judgment  and  order  dated  20.02.2003  convicted   the
      appellants under Section 302 IPC and sentenced them  to  undergo  life
      imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs.10,000/-,  in  default  whereof  to
      undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year.  It also found them guilty
      under Section 506 (ii) I.P.C. and sentenced them to  undergo  rigorous
      imprisonment for 6 months.  It however acquitted them of  the  offence
      under  Section  341  I.P.C.   The  sentences  were  directed  to   run

      11.   The appellants being aggrieved, filed Criminal Appeal No.572  of
      2003 in the High Court which was dismissed by the High  Court  by  its
      judgment under appeal, thereby affirming the  judgment  of  conviction
      and order of sentence as recorded by the trial court.  This appeal  by
      special leave challenges the said judgment of the High Court.

      12.   Mr.  R.  Basant,  learned  Senior  Advocate  appearing  for  the
      appellants made following submissions:
           1.    Complaint Ext. P-1 was received in the police  station  at
           00:30 hours but reached the Magistrate only  at  11:30  a.m.  on
           27.03.2002.  The  time  so  taken  shows  that  the  period  was
           utilized to prepare the complaint after due deliberation and  as
           such the complaint Ext. P-1 does not inspire evidence.

           2.    PWs 2 and 3 alleged eye witnesses were not present at  the
           scene of occurrence and their version is completely unreliable.

           3.   Though PW-1 was with the deceased, his version  now  before
           the Court was completely exaggerated and as such not trustworthy
           at all.

           4.   The plea of private defence as taken by the first appellant
           raises doubts about the prosecution case which doubts  were  not
           discharged at all.

           5.   The medical opinion on record nowhere  states  that  injury
           no.1 was sufficient in the ordinary course  of  nature  to  have
           caused the death and as such the offence, if at  all,  could  be
           that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

      13.    Mr. Yogesh Kanna, learned  Advocate  appearing  for  the  State
      submitted that the material on record clearly indicated that the  plea
      of self-defence was totally false.  In his submission the  case  stood
      completely proved against both the appellants.  He  further  submitted
      that there was sufficient material on record to conclusively establish
      that carotid artery and jugular vein were cut. Such an injury  in  the
      ordinary course of nature would certainly have caused the death and in
      any case the matter would come under the first clause of  Section  300
      IPC and not under the third clause of 300 IPC as suggested.

      14.    We  have  gone  through  the  record   and   considered   rival
      submissions.  The evidence of PW1 is fully consistent with the medical
      evidence on record and is quite cogent and trustworthy.  The  presence
      of PW1 along with the deceased is established through the testimony of
      PW11 Venu Gopal and such presence was not seriously challenged by  Mr.
      Basant at all.  What was submitted was that  there  were  elements  of
      exaggeration  which  would  create  doubts  about  the  case  of   the
      prosecution.  In our view, there was no exaggeration at all.  Further,
      merely because PW1 a young boy of 17  years  had  first  gone  to  his
      house, prepared  the  complaint  and  thereafter  reached  the  police
      station would  not  be  sufficient  to  discard  his  testimony.   The
      complaint in question was  received  at  0030  hrs.,  the  police  had
      immediately swung into action, prepared inquest panchnama and sent the
      body of Sultan for post-mortem.  Though the FIR reached the Magistrate
      at about 11:30 am, the post-mortem itself was conducted  at  11.45  am
      and it would not be correct to assume that the FIR was so  tailor-made
      to suit any finding in the post-mortem.  To us, there was no delay  in
      the FIR reaching the Magistrate.  Moreover, the defence of  the  first
      appellant itself accepts his presence at the time and place as alleged
      by the prosecution.  We therefore find the evidence  of  PW1  reliable
      and trustworthy, which is supported by the testimony of PWs 2 and 3 as
      well. According to the medical evidence on record  two  sharp  cutting
      weapons were used for inflicting the injuries found on the  person  of
      Sultan and that  the  injuries  were  possible  by  MO.  Nos.1  and  2
      recovered from the appellants. The involvement of both  the  appellant
      thus stands proved.

      15.   PW 16 Dr. Sunder Rajan found 16 cut injuries on  the  person  of
      Sultan and stated that lot of blood must have been lost as a result of
      such injuries.  Injury No.1 states that  carotid  artery  and  jugular
      vein were cut.  Though he did not specifically say  that  injury  No.1
      singularly or all the injuries collectively  were  sufficient  in  the
      ordinary course of nature to have caused the death,  the  material  on
      record is fully indicative of this facet.  In his cross-examination he
      stated that a cut to the carotid artery would affect supply of  oxygen
      to the brain and a person may lose consciousness within three minutes.
       In Tanviben Pankajkumar Divetia Vs. State of Gujarat [1]a cut of  the
      size of 2” x 1”x 2 ¼” on carotid artery of the victim  was  considered
      by this Court to be indicative that the victim had profusely bled  and
      could not have remained alive for more  than  10-15  minutes.  In  the
      instant case both the carotid artery and jugular vein were  found  cut
      and Sultan had soon thereafter lost consciousness.  These features are
      clearly indicative that injury No.1 was  sufficient  in  the  ordinary
      course of nature to have caused the death.   Additionally  Dr.  Sunder
      Rajan had also stated that lot of blood should have  been  lost  as  a
      result of 16 stab wounds. In our considered view, this is not  a  case
      of culpable  homicide  not  amounting  to  murder.   The  assault  was
      deliberate and designed to achieve the  result  namely  the  death  of
      Sultan.  The courts  below  were  therefore  right  and  justified  in
      convicting and sentencing the appellants for the  offences  punishable
      under Sections 341, 302, 506 (ii) IPC.

      16.    This appeal must therefore fail and is dismissed.

                                  (Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla)

                                  (Uday Umesh Lalit)

      New Delhi,
      October 16, 2015

Centre to seek review of SC order on banning photos of leaders in government ads

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it would soon join hands with West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam and Tamil Nadu to seek review of its May 13 judgment banning photos of political leaders, except President, prime minister and Chief Justice of India, in government advertisements.
In an affidavit filed before the court denying any violation of the May 13 judgment, the information and broadcasting ministry said, "At the very outset, it is submitted that the Union of India is in the process of filing a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court's judgment in the PIL filed by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation'." 

The court had on September 14 entertained the review petitions filed by the four states and has posted them for hearing on Tuesday. The SC is also scheduled to hear on Tuesday a petition filed by the NGO accusing the TN and Delhi governments of having committed contempt of the May 13 judgment.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Police can take suo moto action against builders: HC

The Bombay High Court today said the Navi MumbaiPolice should take suo moto cognizance and file FIRs against builders responsible for illegal constructions there instead of waiting for some aggrieved person to come forward and lodge a case.
A division bench of justices A S Oka and V L Achiliya was hearing two PILs by residents Rajiv Mishra and Mayura Maru raising concerns over illegal constructions in Navi Mumbai.
The bench had last week taken a stern view of the issue and said the police has to initiate criminal action against the builders.
The court was today informed by advocate Molina Thakure, who appeared for the police, that two complaints have been lodged against eight persons, of which six are builders and two are agents.
In a note to the court, the police said they have requested Cidco to lodge a formal complaint in the case.
“Why do you (police) want some aggrieved individual to come and register FIR. Is the police helpless? Why cannot you (police) initiate action on your own. Is there nothing like taking suo moto action? Once the police is aware that an offence has taken place then suo moto cognizance can be taken,” the court said.
The court noted that documents attached with the petitions can be used by the police to register FIRs.
“If you (police) register FIRs and under the proper sections then money of flat purchasers can be recovered,” the court said.
The HC has posted the petitions for hearing on October 21.
The state government last week informed the court that it was planning to regularise all illegal constructions in Navi Mumbai, and said it will be framing a policy on this soon.
The court had, however, said that even if such a policy is formed it shall not be implemented until the court gives permission.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ban on women’s entry to Mumbai’s Haji Ali shrine: ‘Grievous sin for women to be near male Muslim saint’s grave’

The "unanimous" stand of all trustees forms part of a resolution passed by the dargah's trust.

IT is a "grievous sin" as per Islam for women tobe in close proximity of the grave of a male Muslim saint. The trust of one of Mumbai's iconic landmarks, the Haji Ali Dargah, raised this point in the Bombay High Court 19-10-15 while defending its ban on women from entering the shrine's inner sanctum (mazaar). The "unanimous"stand of all trustees forms part of a resolution passed by the dargah's trust. The minutes of the meeting held on August 6 this year that led to passing of the resolution were submitted before Justice V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi.

SC awards life term to two for killing a man over conversion

 The Supreme Court has awarded life imprisonment to two youths for killing a Muslim man after he married two Hindu girls who later converted to Islam.

A bench of justices F M I Kalifulla and U U Lalit convicted the accused after relying on the prosecution's theory that conversion was behind the killing and the accused had threatened to kill Sultan Meeran, a resident of Coimbatore, after he married a Hindu girl who converted to Islam. 

The accused — Kamal and his friend — had warned Sultan that he would be killed if he converted other girls as his act was creating "danger for Hindu religion". A month after being threatened, Sultan married another Hindu girl and she too adopted Islam. Enraged over the conversion, Kamal and his friend stabbed Sultan to death while he was partying in a club in 2003. 2015 

Collegium clears 24 judges

After the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) was struck down, the revived collegium headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu cleared the names of 24 additional judges in six high courts for appointment as permanent judges and the Centre played ball by flying the files to Kolkata to get the President's assent.

Scotching apprehension that the Union government may play tough after its decision to bring transparency in appointment of judges through the NJAC was rejected, the law minister promised the CJI that the government would send the files to the President to get his signature.

These 24 additional judges had clearance from the high court collegium concerned for appointment as permanent judges. but their appointment could not be made permanent because the SC collegium was in a limbo owing to a five-judge constitution bench rejecting the constitutional validity of NJAC. The SC bench had extended their additional judgeship by three months which was ending by the end of this month.

Uber rape case

Accused driver Shiv Kumar Yadav found guilty

A Delhi Court on Tuesday convicted Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav for raping a 25-year-old woman executive in his taxi on December 5, 2014. 

The argument on quantum of sentence will be heard on October 22. 

Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja had on October 7 reserved the verdict after concluding hearing final arguments from both the sides in the case. 

According to the prosecution, the incident took place on the night of December 5 last year when the victim, a finance executive working in Gurgaon, was heading back to her house at Inderlok. 

Accused driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was arrested on December 7, 2014, from Mathura and is currently in judicial custody. 

Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava had earlier said that an accused can be convicted on the basis of sole testimony of the victim if it is trustworthy. 

He had said there was sufficient evidence on record to hold Yadav guilty in the case and none of the 28 prosecution witnesses has spoken contrary to the police case. 

Advocate D K Mishra, appearing for Yadav, had argued that there were several contradictions in the prosecution's story and the alleged victim's version and false evidence was planted to implicate his client. 

He had also argued that the woman had made various improvements in her statements before the court and police. 
The Supreme Court had earlier set aside the Delhi high court order allowing the accused to re-examine 13 prosecution witnesses, including the victim. 

The woman and the Delhi Police had moved the apex court against the high court order. The proceedings in the case were stayed by the apex court for six months from March 10 to September 10. 

The trial court has framed charges against Yadav under IPC for alleged offences of endangering a woman's life while raping her, abducting with an intent to compel her for marriage and criminally intimidating and causing hurt. 

The court had also recorded the testimony of the accused in which he termed the charge against him as "false".


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                    CIVIL APPEAL  NO.  8275      OF 2015
                [ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (C) NO. 12831 OF 2015]

                     CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8276      OF 2015
                [ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (C) NO. 12835 OF 2015

MAHIMA DATLA                               …..APPELLANT

                      CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8277     OF 2015
                [ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (C) NO. 20338 OF 2015

G.V. RAO                                    …..APPELLANT


            Leave granted.
2.           The  steeled  stand  off  encased  in  the  decision  impugned,
projects the  members  of  a  family,  daughters  against  their  mother  in
particular, in a combative formation in their bid to wrest the  reins  of  a
company, Biological E. Limited (for  short, hereinafter to be   referred  to
as “the company”) engaged in the business  of  pharmaceutical  products  and
vaccines.  The differences  that had surfaced soon after the demise  of  Dr.
Vijay Kumar Datla, the  predecessor-in-interest  of  the  contending  family
members, who at his death, was the Managing Director of  the  company,  have
grown in acrimonious content with time, stoked  by  the  intervening  events
accompanied by a host of litigation.  The  present  appeals  stem  from  the
judgment and order dated 15.4.2015 rendered by the High Court of  Judicature
at Hyderabad, for the State of Telangana and State  of  Andhra  Pradesh,  in
Company Appeal No. 17 of 2014 preferred by  the respondent Nos. 1, 2  and  3
herein,  under  Section  10F  of  the  Companies   Act,  1956   (for   short
hereinafter to be referred to as  “the  Act”)   assailing  the  order  dated
6.8.2014 passed  by  the  Company  Law  Board,  Chennai  Bench  (for  short,
hereinafter to be referred to as “CLB”) in Company Petition No. 36  of  2014
filed by them.
While  entertaining  the  instant  appeals,  this  Court  by   order   dated
12.5.2015, having regard to the considerations referred to  therein  and  as
accepted by the learned counsel for the parties, did make  an  endeavour  to
effect an amicable settlement through  mediation  which,  however,  did  not
fructify.  The learned counsel for the parties, as is recorded in the  order
dated 21.7.2015, on instructions, vouched that  the  day-to-day  functioning
of the company, however would be allowed to continue.  The appeals, in  this
backdrop have, thus, been analogously heard on merits  for disposal.
We have heard Mr. P.S. Raman, learned senior  counsel for the appellants  in
 Civil Appeal arising out of S.L.P. (C)  No. 12831 of 2015   (who  are  also
respondent Nos. 4 & 5 in SLP (C) No. 12835 of 2015  and 5 &  6  in  SLP  (C)
No. 20338 of 2015),   Mr.  Shyam  Divan,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant in Civil Appeal arising out of S.L.P. (C)  No. 12835 of 2015  (who
is also respondent No. 5  and 4 in SLP (C) No. 12831 of 2015   and  SLP  (C)
No. 20338 of 2015 respectively), Mr. P.P. Rao, learned  senior  counsel  for
the appellant in Civil Appeal arising out of S.L.P. (C)  No. 20338  of  2015
(who is also respondent No. 6 in  S.L.P. (C)  Nos. 12831 of 2015  and  12835
of 2015) and M/s.  Parag P. Tripathi and  Sajan  Poovaiah,   learned  senior
counsel  for  Dr.  Renuka  Datla  (  respondent  No.  1  in  all  the  three
5.          Since the judgment under challenge is same in all the   appeals,
 for the sake of convenience,  the facts  are being taken from Civil  Appeal
arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 12835 of 2015.
6.          A skeletal  account  of  the  facts  in  the  bare  minimum,  as
available presently on  the  record,  would  outline  the  contours  of  the
respective assertions.
7.          The company, which was  initially  promoted  by  the  father  of
respondent No. 1, with time took in its  fold,  Mr.  Venkata  Krishnam  Raju
Datla, the father of Dr. Vijay Kumar Datla (since deceased  and  husband  of
respondent No.1).  After the demise of the father of  respondent No. 1,  Dr.
Vijay Kumar Datla, who was  inducted as  the Chairman and Managing  Director
of the company  on  1.5.1972  stewarded,  nurtured  and  nourished  it  from
strength to strength.  The respondent No. 1, his wife, joined him  initially
as a Medical Director, as she  is   a  qualified  medical  professional  and
w.e.f. 29.8.1991, was drafted in as the Executive Director of  the  company.
Dr. Vijay Kumar Datla, who continued as the  Chairman-cum-Managing  Director
of the company over the years, expired on 20.3.2013 and at  his  death,  he,
respondent No. 1  and  Mr.  G.V. Rao  (respondent No. 6) did constitute  the
Board of Directors of the company.  Noticeably Dr.  Vijay  Kumar  Datla,  in
his individual capacity, then did hold 81% of the shares thereof.
8           As the facts evince, Mr. G.V. Rao (respondent  No.  6)   offered
his resignation as a director vide his letter dated 6.4.2013 with  immediate
effect.  It has been pleaded, however, on behalf of the appellant  that  Mr.
G.V. Rao (respondent No. 6),  on  being  requested  by  the  family  not  to
abandon the company at its hour of crisis,   its  guardian  and  mentor  Dr.
Vijay  Kumar  Datla  having  departed,  did  reconsider  his  decision   and
addressed  another  letter  dated  9.4.2013   to  the  Board  of   Directors
expressing his inclination  to  continue  as  the  Director  of  the  Board,
intimating as well that thereby he was withdrawing  his  resignation  letter
dated 6.4.2013.
9.          On the same day  i.e.  9.4.2013,  a  meeting  of  the  Board  of
Directors was convened by Mr. G.V. Rao,  in the capacity of  a  Director  of
the company, which was attended amongst others, by  the three  daughters  of
the respondent No.1 i.e.  Ms.  Purnima  Manthena  (respondent  No.  4),  Ms.
Indira Pusapati (respondent no. 5) and Ms. Mahima Datla  (appellant).    The
respondent No. 1 did not attend the  meeting  and  as  the  minutes  of  the
proceedings would record, leave of absence was granted to her.  In the  same
meeting, Mrs. Indira  Pusapati  (respondent  No.  5)  was  inducted  as  the
Director of the company to fill up the casual vacancy  caused by  the  death
of  Dr. Vijay Kumar Datla.  Mr. G.V Rao (respondent No. 6), was  authorised,
inter alia, to verify all acts and  deeds  as would be necessary,  expedient
and desirable to give effect to the resolutions adopted.
10          Thereafter, on 10.4.2013 and  11.4.2013  as  well,  meetings  of
the Board of Directors of the company were held.  In  these  meetings  also,
respondent No. 1 did not attend and leave of absence was granted.    In  the
meeting dated 10.4.2013, along with  two  directors  namely;  Mr.  G.V.  Rao
(respondent  No. 6)  and  Ms.  Indira  Pusapati  (respondent  No.  5),  Mrs.
Purnima Manthena (respondent No.  4)  and   Ms.  Mahima  Datla  (appellant),
amongst others, were present.   The  meeting  took  note  of  a  will  dated
14.2.2005, said to be executed by Dr. Vijay Kumar Datla  in  favour  of  Ms.
Mahima Datla (appellant) and resolved to transmit the equity shares held  by
him and as referred to in the aforesaid will, in favour of Ms. Mahima  Datla
(appellant).    In the same meeting, it was further resolved to appoint  Ms.
Mahima Datla (appellant) and Ms. Purnima Manthena (respondent No. 4) as  the
Additional Directors  of the company, to hold the said  office   up  to  the
conclusion  of next annual general meeting.  Mr. G.V.  Rao  (respondent  No.
6), Director of the company was authorised to  verify all  acts,  deeds   as
would  be  necessary,  expedient  and  desirable  to  give  effect  to   the
resolutions adopted.
11          In its next meeting held on 11.4.2013, in which  respondent  No.
1 was absent and leave of absence was  granted  to  her,  Ms.  Mahima  Datla
(appellant) was appointed as the Managing Director of  the  company  for   a
period of three years w.e.f. 11.4.2013.  It was resolved as well to  request
the Chairman to advise  respondent  No.  1  to  officially  communicate  the
appointment of Ms. Mahima Datla (appellant) as   Managing  Director  of  the
Though the pleaded assertion of respondent No. 1 is  that  she  was  neither
noticed nor informed of  the   meetings  held  on  9.4.2013,  10.4.2013  and
11.4.2013 and that the proceedings thereof were a nullity,  as  the  meeting
dated 9.4.2013 could  not  have  been  validly  convened  by  Mr.  G.V.  Rao
(respondent No. 6), who had, prior thereto, resigned from  the  company  and
further that the meeting  dated 9.4.2013 was  sans  the  prescribed  quorum,
the progression of events attest  that  on  15.4.2013,  a  letter  had  been
addressed by her (respondent No. 1)  to the constituent  fraternity  of  the
company, conveying the news  of  appointment  of  her  daughters  i.e.  Mrs.
Purnima Manthena (respondent No. 4), Mrs. Indira  Pusapati  (respondent  No.
5) and Ms. Mahima Datla (appellant) as the  Directors of the Board  thereof,
with  particular  reference  to  the  appointment  of   Ms.   Mahima   Datla
(appellant) as the Managing Director, thereby  seeking  the  “blessings  and
guidance”  of  all  concerned  for  enabling  her   to  discharge  her   new
responsibility.  Respondent No. 1, however, at a later point  of  time,  did
allege exertion of pressure and undue influence by the  other  Directors  to
which she wilted, being in an anguished and forsaken  state of  mind,  still
mourning the sudden demise of her husband, Dr. Vijay Kumar Datla.
While the matter rested  at  that,  the  respondent  No.  1,   Mrs.  Purnima
Manthena (respondent No. 4), Mrs. Indira Pusapati  (respondent  No.  5)  and
Ms. Mahima Datla (appellant)  addressed a letter   dated  24.5.2013  to  the
Board of Directors conveying the decision of  the  members  of  the  HUF  on
consensus to divide 4594 shares  thereof  (HUF)  held  by  Dr.  Vijay  Kumar
Datla, in equal shares.  They also appended to the letter, a  Memorandum  Of
Undertaking   to  this  effect  and  requested  the   company    to   effect
transmission of shares in their favour, on the said basis.
Incidentally on the same day i.e. 24.5.2013,  a  meeting  of  the  Board  of
Directors was convened  in which, as respondent No. 1 was absent,  leave  of
absence was granted to her. In the said meeting, amongst other, taking  note
of the Memorandum Of Understanding referred to in the aforementioned  letter
dated 24.5.2013 signed by the respondent No. 1 and   Mrs.  Purnima  Manthena
(respondent No. 4), Mrs. Indira Pusapati (respondent No. 5)  and Ms.  Mahima
Datla (appellant), 4594 equity shares  held by Dr. Vijay Kumar  Datla  (HUF)
were transmitted in their favour in equal shares.
A meeting of the Board of Directors  was thereafter  convened  on  22.8.2013
 of which a notice was served on the respondent No. 1.  She did  attend  the
meeting albeit with reservations, whereafter  through  a  host  of  letters,
addressed to  the Board of Directors, she highlighted her objections,  inter
alia, to the validity of  the  meetings  held  on  9.4.2013,  10.4.2013  and
11.4.2013 in particular and the resolutions adopted therein.
16.           On the receipt of notice of the Annual General Meeting of  the
company, which was scheduled to be held  on  28.11.2013,  respondent  No.  1
filed an application under Section 409 of the Act  before  the  CLB,   which
was registered as Company Petition No. 1  of  2013,  seeking  principally  a
declaration that  the  appointments  of  her  three  daughters  namely;  Ms.
Purnima Manthena (respondent No. 4), Mrs. Indira  Pusapati  (respondent  No.
5) and Ms. Mahima Datla (appellant) as Directors of the  company  by  virtue
of the meetings held on 9.4.2013, 10.4.2013 and 11.4.2013 to be a   nullity.
 While seeking a further declaration that Mr. G.V. Rao  (respondent  No.  6)
having resigned from the Board of Directors of the company on 6.4.2013  with
immediate effect, he was neither entitled to continue as  the  Director  nor
did he have any authority to convene the  aforesaid  meetings  and  transact
the business therein, she also prayed that all  acts,  deeds  and  decisions
taken in and pursuant to the resolutions in the said  meetings  be  adjudged
to be void and not binding on the company.   Apart from seeking a  permanent
injunction restraining  her three daughters  namely;  Ms.  Purnima  Manthena
(respondent No. 4), Ms. Indira  Pusapati  (respondent  No.  5),  Ms.  Mahima
Datla (appellant) and Mr. G.V. Rao (respondent No. 6)  from  functioning  as
Directors of the company, by  way  of  interim  relief,  she  prayed  for  a
restraint  on the ensuing Annual General Meeting fixed on 28.11.2013 and  to
appoint two ad hoc Directors  for administering  the day-to-day  affairs  of
the company along with her.
17.         By its ruling dated 17.12.2013, the CLB, after  considering  the
rival pleadings and the documents laid before it, observed on a prima  facie
evaluation  of  the  facts  portrayed,   that  the  respondent  No.  1   had
recognised her three daughters  Ms. Purnima  Manthena  (respondent  No.  4),
Mrs. Indira Pusapati (respondent No. 5) as  the  Directors  and  Ms.  Mahima
Datla (appellant)  to be the Managing Director of the company.   It  was  of
the view that, though she received the letter of withdrawal  of  resignation
of Mr G.V. Rao-respondent No.  6,  she  had  not  responded  thereto  either
accepting or rejecting the same.  On an  appraisal of the pleaded facts  and
the documents on record, the CLB returned a finding that there  was  neither
any change in the Board of Directors nor in the management  of  the  company
nor there was any likelihood of change in the ownership of the  company  nor
any likelihood of the new management taking over the company nor any  change
in the shareholding pattern of the company and concluded in the  context  of
Section 409 of the Act that respondent No. 1 had not  made  out  any  ground
for grant of any interim relief, as prayed.   Noting the  assertion  of  the
respondents therein that the company had the  necessary  reserves  to  meets
its debts and that Mahima Datla (appellant herein) had stood as a  guarantor
for the loans obtained from the banks, the CLB was, thus, of the  view  that
the  apprehension  of  the  respondent  No.  1,  as   expressed,   was   not
substantiated by  any  documentary  evidence.  Having   recorded   that  the
respondent No. 1 was continuing  as the Executive Director  of  the  company
and that Mahima Datla (appellant herein) being associated with  its  affairs
was well acquainted therewith and  that   in  the  proposed  Annual  General
Meeting to be held on 18.12.2013 (which  got  deferred  to  this  date  from
28.11.2013), the company was going to transact the  business,  as  notified,
which did not  disclose  any  proposed  change  in  the  management  or  the
ownership or taking over by external agency, the CLB declined to grant  stay
of the said meeting.   This was more so, in view of  the  statutory  mandate
qua  Annual General Meeting of a company under  the  Act.   The   respondent
No. 1  was left at  liberty  to  participate  in  the  said  Annual  General
Meeting and  the  company  was  permitted  to  conduct  the  same  and  take
resolutions as per the notice.  The resolutions to be passed in the   Annual
General Meeting were, however, made subject to the outcome  of  the  Company
Petition No.1  of  2013.
18.          Though the respondent No.1, being aggrieved by this order,  did
prefer an appeal under Section 10F of the Act being Company Appeal No. 1  of
2014, she participated in the Annual General Meeting held on  18.12.2013  in
which,   resolutions   on   the   appointment   of   the    appellants    as
Directors/Managing Director  and amongst others, the  enhanced  remuneration
of respondent No. 1 were  adopted.   Eventually  on  24.2.2014,  the  appeal
stood disposed of as infructuous on the concurrence of the parties  to  join
for the necessary endeavours for early disposal of the Company Petition  No.
1 of 2013.
19          Close on the heels of the disposal of aforesaid  Company  Appeal
No. 1 of 2014, the respondent No. 1  instituted a suit being  O.S.  No.  184
of  2014  in  the  Court  of  Chief  Judge,  City  Civil  Court,   Hyderabad
substantially  traversing  the above  facts  and  seeking  a  decree  for  a
declaration to be the absolute  owner  of  the  shares  of  the  company  as
enumerated in Schedule A to the plaint, on the strength of  a  will  claimed
to have been  executed in  her  favour  by  Dr.  Vijay  Kumar  Datla  (since
deceased) and  a direction to the defendants therein to  transfer  the  same
by recording her name in relation thereto and to hand over   the  possession
of  the  share  certificates  to  her.   Her  alternative  prayer,   without
prejudice to this relief, was for delineating her extent of  claim   to  the
shares in the capacity of a working spouse/widow of  late  Dr.  Vijay  Kumar
20           As the flow of the developments thereafter  would  demonstrate,
the respondent No. 1 withdrew the Company Petition No. 1 of  2013  in  July,
2014 with a liberty  to  approach  the  appropriate  forum  for  appropriate
reliefs in a manner known to law. The Company Petition No.1  of  2013,  was,
accordingly closed.
21          The respondent No. 1, in her renewed pursuit  for  redressal  of
her grievances as perceived by her, next instituted another petition  before
the CLB,  which was registered as Company Petition  No.  36  of  2014  under
Sections 111A, 237, 397,398,402,403,404,406 of the Act, 1956   and  Sections
58 and 59 of the Companies  Act,  2013.   As  the  pleaded  assertions  made
therein would attest, those were in substantial reiteration  of  the   facts
 narrated  hereinabove, with  the  added  imputation  that  the  respondents
therein were contemplating   to  transfer  and  consign   the   undertakings
of   the  company  to  other  companies  incorporated  and  managed  by  the
appellant herein and other Directors so as to enable  them,  to  dispose  of
the said assets through their companies  and  appropriate  the  proceeds  to
their benefits to the irreparable loss and detriment  to  the  company  i.e.
Biological E. Limited and its genuine shareholders.  She, however  admitted,
that the concerned Directors  in  the  meanwhile,  had  filed  a  scheme  of
arrangement under Sections 391 to 394  of the Act  before the High Court  of
Andhra Pradesh for demerger of the undertakings of  the  company  as  listed
out in the said petition.  A copy of the  scheme  of  arrangement  was  also
appended to the petition alleging over  all  mis-management  and  oppression
by the Directors therein in particular, consciously driving the company  and
its shareholders to a state of ruination  chiefly  through  the  process  of
demerger.   The respondent No.1 prayed for a declaration of the acts of  the
said Directors  to be oppressive and prejudicial  to  the  interest  of  the
company and to appoint an administrator and/or  Special  Officer  to  manage
the affairs thereof by superseding the existing Board of Directors.  In  the
alternative, she also prayed for constitution of a committee  comprising  of
her representative to function as the administrator and/or  Special  Officer
for the management and control of its affairs.  She  reiterated  her  prayer
for (i) declaring  the  Board  meetings  held  on  9.4.2013,  10.4.2013  and
11.4.2013 as void ab-initio, (ii) removal of the  appellant herein  and  the
other Directors from the office of the Directors of the  company  and  (iii)
adjudging  the transmission of 400951 equity shares held by Dr. Vijay  Kumar
Datla (since deceased)  to the appellant  (Ms.  Mahima  Datla)  as  illegal,
null and void. A  declaration to  adjudge  the  resolutions  passed  in  the
Board meetings held on or after  20.03.2013  and  also  the  Annual  General
Meeting held on 18.12.2013 as non est  was  also  sought  for.   By  way  of
interim relief, she prayed for supersession  of the Board of  Directors  and
appointment of interim administrator  and/or Special Officer to  assume  the
charge of the affairs of the company and  in  the  alternative,  prayed  for
constitution of a committee comprising of her  representative  to  discharge
the said role.
22          The petition was taken up on 6.8.2014, on being  mentioned.   In
course of the arguments, though the contesting respondents  could  not  file
their pleadings, understandably it being the  date  of  first  hearing,  the
primary  facts,  as  adverted  to  hereinabove,  having  a  bearing  on  the
dissensions  were addressed and  the CLB, after  taking  note  of  the  fact
that the meeting of the company for considering the scheme of  demerger  was
scheduled to be held on 7.8.2014, as directed by the High  Court,  construed
it to be inexpedient to intervene in that regard.    It  observed  as  well,
that  meanwhile  a suit had been filed by the respondent No.1  on the  basis
of a will said to have been executed in her favour and  that  the  same  was
pending adjudication and concluded that  it  would  not  be  appropriate  to
restrain the appellant (Ms. Mahima Datla)  from exercising her voting  right
in  respect  of  400961  equity  shares.   Noticeably,  in  course  of   the
submissions, it was pleaded on behalf of the  respondent  No.  1   that  the
suit would be withdrawn.  Qua the alienation of immovable properties of  the
company, the CLB recorded the submission   on  behalf  of   the  respondents
therein that there was no intention to do  so  vis-a-vis  the   movable  and
immovable properties of the company except that may arise under  the  scheme
of demerger.   In  response  to  the  submissions  made  on  behalf  of  the
respondent No. 1 that  she  ought  not  to  be  removed  from  the  post  of
Executive Director, it was submitted on behalf of  the  respondents  therein
that no step would  be taken to dislodge her without the leave of  the  CLB.
Taking note of  these  submissions/undertakings,  the  CLB  ruled  that  the
respondent No. 1 had not been able  to  make  out  any  case  for  grant  of
interim relief “at the  time of mentioning  of  the  Company  Petition”  and
permitted the respondents therein  to file their counter within a period  of
six weeks and fixed  9.10.2014 to be the next date.
23.           The respondent No. 1 herein,  being  aggrieved,  preferred  an
appeal being Company Appeal No. 17 of 2014 which has since been  allowed  by
the judgment and order dated 15.4.2015 impugned  in  the  instant  batch  of
24           The  High  Court,  as  the   decision  assailed  would  reveal,
traversed the entire gamut of the  facts  involved  as  available  from  the
company petition  and  the  documents  appended  thereto  and  recorded  its
findings on all the  aspects of the   discord  and  eventually  granted  the
following reliefs.

“1.   An ad hoc Board of Directors constituted with appellant No. 1  as  the
Executive Director  and   respondent  Nos.  2  to  4  as  the  Directors  of
respondent No. 1-company.  Appellant No. 1 shall discharge the functions  of
the Managing Director of the company.

The ad hoc Board is  responsible  for  the  day-to-day  functioning  of  the
company and shall carry out the statutory obligations under the Act.

All the decisions shall be  taken  by  the  Board  based  on  unanimity  and
consensus.  If consensus on any aspect relating to  the  day-to-day  affairs
of the company is eluded among the Board members, appellant No.  1,  as  the
Managing Director, shall approach the  Company  Law  Board  for  appropriate

The Board shall not transfer  or deal with  81%  shares  held  by  late  Dr.
Vijay Kumar Datla in any manner till the dispute on the issue of  succession
is adjudicated in O.S. No. 184 of 2014.

The Board shall  not  take  any  major  policy  decisions  unless  there  is
unanimity among all its members  and  without  the  prior  approval  of  the
Company Law Board.

The ad hoc Board shall continue  to function till O.S. No. 184 of  2014   is
disposed of and appropriate orders  in  C.P.  No.  36  of  2014  are  passed

The Company Law Board  shall keep C.P. No. 36 of 2014 pending till O.S.  No.
184 of 2014 is finally disposed of.”

25          The appeal was allowed  and the accompanying  applications  were
disposed of as infructuous.  In arriving  at  its  penultimate  conclusions,
leading to the  arrangement  configured  by  the  operative  directions,  as
extracted hereinabove, the High Court elaborately delved  into  the  factual
details bearing on all facets of the surging disputes between  the  parties,
tracing from the issue of validity or otherwise of the  continuance  of  Mr.
G.V. Rao  as the Director  of  the  company,  to  the  imputation  of   mis-
management and oppression, allegedly  indulged  in  by  the  appellants  and
other Directors  including the perceived  imminent  possibility  of  slicing
off the assets of the establishment through a process of demerger.
26          En route to the final deductions, the High Court did dwell  upon
the  validity  of  the  Board  meetings  held  on  9.4.2013,  10.4.2013  and
11.4.2013 in particular and also   of the Annual General  Meeting  conducted
on 18.12.2013, the claim made by the respondent No. 1 in her suit  based  on
a  will claimed to be executed in  her  favour  by  Dr.  Vijay  Kumar  Datla
(since deceased), the letter dated 15.4.2013 written by the  respondent  No.
1 as well as  the  accusation  of   manipulation  of  the  transfer  of  the
majority of the shares  of  the  company  in  favour  of  Ms.  Mahima  Datla
(appellant).  It held  in no uncertain terms, that  in  fact  there  was  no
Board of Directors legally  in  existence,  thus  necessitating  a  workable
arrangement for regulating the  conduct  of  the  affairs  of  the  company.
Having regard to the contesting claims to the shares on  the  basis  of  two
wills and the pendency of the suit instituted by the respondent No.  1,  the
High Court construed it to be appropriate to proceed  on  the  premise  that
the appellant, her sisters and the  respondent No. 1 had more or less  equal
shares.   In the backdrop of this determination, the High  Court,  being  of
the view, that it would be preferable to  make  an  interim  arrangement  to
conduct the administration of the  company,  without  the  induction  of  an
outsider  as  an   administrator/receiver,   issued    the   above-mentioned
directions to ensure the same.
27          As would be evident from the steps enumerated  in  the  impugned
judgment and order in  this  regard,  an  ad  hoc  Board  of  Directors  was
directed  to  be  constituted  with  respondent  No.  1  as  the   Executive
Director and her three daughters as the Directors with the  rider  that  the
respondent No. 1 would  discharge  the functions of the   Managing  Director
of the company.  Thereby, the ad  hoc  Board  was  allowed  to  continue  to
function till the suit i.e. O.S. No.  284  of  2014  was  disposed  of   and
appropriate orders in the pending Company  Petition  No.  36  of  2014  were
passed.  It was ordered that the CLB would  keep the  Company  Petition  No.
36 of 2014 pending till the suit was finally disposed of.
28          To put it differently, by the  impugned  verdict,  the  existing
Board of  Directors   was  substituted  by  an  ad  hoc  body   adverted  to
hereinabove and the respondent No.  1  was  entrusted  with  the  charge  of
office of the Managing Director of the company.   Further  the  arrangement,
as directed, was to continue  till the disposal of the suit.  The  restraint
on the CLB from proceeding with  Company Petition No. 36 of  2014  till  the
suit  was  decided,  understandably    was  to  postpone   the  adjudication
therein, till after the final determination  of  the  issues  in  the  suit.
For  all  essential  purposes,  therefore,   the  adjudication  of   Company
Petition No. 36 of 2014 was made conditional on the disposal of the suit.
29.          Sustainability of the extent, propriety  and  correctness    of
the scrutiny undertaken by the High Court on the aspects of the lis  between
the parties pending  the examination thereof by the  statutorily  prescribed
forum of original jurisdiction i.e. the CLB in an appeal under  Section  10F
of the Act and  the  decisive  bearing  thereof,   is  the  focal  point  of
impeachment in the instant proceedings.
30.         Learned senior counsel for the appellants  in  all  the  appeals
have, at the threshold, urged that as the order dated 6.8.2014  of  the  CLB
did not generate any question of law, as enjoined  by  Section  10F  of  the
Act,  the  High  Court  ought  to  have  summarily   dismissed  the  appeal.
According to the learned senior counsel, none of  the  issues  involved  had
been considered and decided by  the CLB  and  rightly,  in  absence  of  the
pleadings of the appellants and, thus, no appeal under   Section 10F of  the
Act was contemplated.   The  CLB  vide  its  order  dated  6.8.2014,  having
plainly deferred the scrutiny of the issues, taking note of the  undertaking
offered on  behalf  of  the  appellants  regarding  the  alienation  of  the
properties of the company and the assurance  of the office of the  Executive
Director  of the respondent No.  1,  there  was  no  finding  based  on  any
adjudication and thus no question of law did emanate   to permit  an  appeal
therefrom under Section 10F of the Act.
31.         Without prejudice to these demur,  the  learned  senior  counsel
for the appellants  emphatically argued  that  not  only  in  the  attendant
facts and  circumstances,  Mr.  G.V.  Rao   did  lawfully  continue  as  the
Director of the company, he having withdrawn his resignation  prior  to  the
date of the meeting on 9.4.2013, they urged as well  that all the   meetings
of the Board held on or from 9.4.2013 including the Annual  General  Meeting
were to the full knowledge of respondent No. 1 and the  contentions  to  the
contrary, are factually untenable. Referring to the letter  dated  15.4.2013
of the respondent No. 1, whereby she  acknowledged   the  induction  of  the
Mahima Datla (appellant) as the Managing Director of  the  company  and  her
two other daughters as the Directors of the company,  wishing  them  success
on the new venture, they maintained that  her  complaint  qua  this  letter,
after a lapse of one year, being an after thought, was thus of no  relevance
or significance.  According to the learned  senior  counsel,  even  assuming
without admitting that the meetings  of  the  Board  of  Directors  held  on
9.4.2013, 10.4.2013 and 11.4.2013 and thereafter were invalid as imputed  by
respondent No. 1, the same got sanctified  in  the  Annual  General  Meeting
held on 18.12.2013, in which she   participated  without  any  cavil.    The
learned  senior  counsel  urged,  that  having  regard  to   the   situation
eventuated by the sudden demise of Dr. Vijay  Kumar  Datla  and  the  urgent
need  to  attend  to  the  day-to-day   affairs  of  the  company,  a   duly
constituted Board of Directors, was an imperative necessity,  and  thus  the
steps  taken  by    Mr.   G.V.   Rao   to   convene   the   meetings   dated
9.4.2013,10.4.2013 and 11.4.2013, to that effect is even otherwise saved  by
the doctrine of necessity. Further the  issues  raised  by  her  in  Company
Petition No. 36 of 2014 being substantially the  same  in  Company  Petition
No. 1   of 2014, in which the  CLB  declined  to  grant  injunction  to  the
conduct of the annual General Meeting which was to be  held  on  18.12.2013,
the High Court ought not to have on an  extensive  evaluation  of  the  same
facts afresh,   overhauled the set-up of the company in the manner  done  at
the preliminary stage and that too in absence of any  tangible  and  legally
cognizable evidence of  oppression  and/or  mis-management  of  the  affairs
thereof.  They argued as well, that  as the suit  filed  by  the  respondent
No. 1 was pending adjudication and the scheme  of  demerger   involving  the
company  was also subjudice before the High Court in a  separate  proceeding
being  Petition Nos. 721-722 of 2014, the apprehension expressed  on  behalf
of the respondent No. 1 of imminent alienation  of  the  properties  of  the
company at their whims to  irreparably  wreck  the  existence  thereof,  was
grossly  belied,   and  thus,  could  not  have  been  a  consideration  for
superseding  the existing Board of Directors and replacing it by an  ad  hoc
body with the respondent No. 1 as the Managing Director.  They   urged  that
the interim arrangement modelled by the High  Court  making  it  co-terminus
with the suit tantamounts  to  grant  of  reliefs  claimed  in  the  Company
Petition No. 36 of 2014 finally, pending disposal of the  proceeding  before
the Board and on this count alone, the impugned decision  is  liable  to  be
interfered with.
32.         To endorse the  above  pleas,   the  following  decisions   were
pressed into service:
V. S. Krishnan and Others  etc.  vs.  Westfort  Hi-tech  Hospital  Ltd.  and
Others etc.  (2008)3 SCC 363
Wander Ltd. and Another vs. Antox India P. Ltd. 1990 (suppl.) SCC 727,
Election Commission of India and  Another  vs.  Dr.  Subramaniam  Swamy  and
Another (1996) 4 SCC 104
The Commissioner of Income Tax, Bombay vs. The Scindia Steam Navigation  Co.
Ltd. 1962(1) SCR 788
Lalit Kumr Modi vs. Board  of  Control  For  Cricket  in  India  and  others
(2011)10 SCC 106
Banku Chandra Bose and another vs. Marium Begam and  another  AIR  1917  Cal
Gokaraju Rangaraju Vs. State of A.P. (1981)3SCC 132
State of Punjab and others vs. Krishan Niwas (1997) 9 SCC 31.
A.R. Antulay vs. R.S. Nayak  & Another (1988) Suppl. 1 SCR1

33.         In emphatic repudiation, the learned  senior  counsel  for  Mrs.
Renuka Datla (respondent No. 1)   assiduously  insisted  in  favour  of  the
maintainability  of the appeal before the High Court under  Section  10F  of
the Act.  They urged, that the denial of interim relief by the  CLB  in  the
attendant factual conspectus,  was not only in  disregard  to  the  relevant
provisions of the Act and  the Articles of Association of  the  Company  but
also did adversely  impact upon the legal right  of  the  respondent  No.  1
justifying the intervention of the  High Court under   Section  10F  of  the
Act.   While questioning the locus and  competence of  Mr. G.V. Rao  as  the
Director of the  company, consequent upon his  resignation  and  reiterating
the invalidity of the meetings of 9.4.2013, 10.4.2013  and  11.4.2013,  they
urged that not only the respondent No.  1  was  unaware  thereof,  but  also
there was no such pressing urgency  to  rush  through  such  steps  for  her
exclusion and that too while she was in the state of mourning,  having  lost
her husband.  They repudiated as well,  the validity of  the  said  meetings
for want of quorum and due notice and   assailed  also  the  Annual  General
Meeting to be a nullity as the same could not have been convened  by  or  on
behalf of the Board of Directors which was non est in law  for  all  intents
and purposes.  According to the learned senior counsel, in any view  of  the
matter, if such  meetings  were  in  fact  necessitated  by  the  prevailing
exigencies, resort ought to have been taken  of the relevant provisions   of
the  Act as well  as   Articles  of  Association.   In  this  context,  they
assertively  dismissed the plea  based on the doctrine of necessity.    They
maintained that these meetings, having regard to the  manner  in  which  the
same were   convened and conducted, smacked of the intention to deprive  the
respondent No. 1 of her legitimate dues.  They assertively pleaded that  the
letter dated 15.4.2013 of the respondent No. 1, purportedly   accepting  the
induction of her daughters in the Board of Directors, was not issued on  her
volition, and thus  was  wholly  inconsequential.   As  the  progression  of
events from 9.4.2013 did irrefutably  demonstrate,  the  endeavours  of  the
appellant  and  the  other  Directors  of  the  Board  to  cast  aside   the
respondent No. 1 and assume  the absolute  charge  of  the  company  to  its
detriment and  prejudice of its constituents, resulting  in  oppression  and
mis-management of its affairs, the High Court was  eminently  justified  for
its remedial intervention in the overall well-being  of  the  company,  they
pleaded.  The learned senior counsel argued   that the rejection by the  CLB
of the interim reliefs sought for by the respondent No. 1   did   give  rise
to a  question of law, and thus the appeal under Section 10F of the Act  was
unquestionably maintainable.  According to the learned senior  counsel,  the
contemplation of the demerger of the company did  signal  imminent  cleavage
of its  vital assets to reduce it to a carcass for the unlawful  gain  of  a
selected few though unauthorisedly at the helm of  affairs,  warranting  the
substitution of Board of Directors by the ad hoc body  as  effected  by  the
impugned order.  The following decisions were cited in buttressal:
Raj Kumar Shivhare vs. Assistant Director, Directorate  of  Enforcement  and
Another (2010)4SCC 772,
Waman Shriniwas Kini vs. Ratilal Bhagwandas & Co. (1959) Suppl. 2 SCR 217.
V. S. Krishnan and Others  etc.  vs.  Westfort  Hi-tech  Hospital  Ltd.  and
Others etc.  (2008)3 SCC 363
Dale & Carrington Invt. (P) Ltd. and Another vs. P.K. Prathapan  and  Others
(2005) 1 SCC 212.
Pankaj Bhargava and Another Vs. Mohinder Nath and Another (1991) 1 SCC 556.
34.         In their  short  reply,  the  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellants maintained that not only the issue of demerger is subjudice in  a
different proceeding before the High Court under the  Act,  and  thus  could
not have been taken note of  qua  the  allegation  of  oppression  and  mis-
management,  there  being   neither  any  prayer  for  cancellation  of  the
appointment of  Mr. G.V. Rao nor any necessity for the  replacement  of  the
Board of Directors, the impugned  judgment  warrants  interference,  pending
disposal of the proceeding before the CLB on  merits.   The  learned  senior
counsel for the respondent No. 1 has not controverted  the  pendeny  of  the
demerger proceeding independently before the High Court.
35.          We have extended our anxious consideration to the  weighty  and
dialectical  assertions  exhaustively  touching  upon  the  aspects  of  the
debate, both legal and factual.  Understandably, as  the  impugned  judgment
stems from an appeal under Section 10F of the Act,  great emphasis has  been
laid, both in favour and against the maintainability  thereof   as  well  as
the manner and extent of scrutiny of  the  materials  available  on  record,
judged from the point of view  of  the  nascent  stage  of  the  proceedings
before the CLB, at which  the appeal had been carried  to  the  High  Court.
Admittedly, the appeal preferred by the respondent No. 1 under  Section  10F
of the Act has been against an order dated 6.8.2014 of  the  CLB,  declining
to grant the interim relief in entirety while securing  the  office  of  the
respondent No. 1 as the Executive Director of the company  and  noting   the
pendency of the demerger proceeding as well as the undertaking on behalf  of
the contesting Board of Directors that the properties of the company  except
as would be required  by way  of   demerger,  would  not  be  alienated.  To
reiterate, by order dated 6.8.2014, the CLB deferred  the  consideration  of
the prayer for further interim relief and granted  time  to  the  contesting
respondents therein to file their pleadings. It is a matter of  record  that
till the stage of filing of the appeal under Section 10F of the  Act  before
the High Court, the contesting Board of Directors in the  proceeding  before
the CLB had not filed their pleadings.
36.         In the  above  prefatory,  yet  presiding  backdrop  and  having
regard to the decisive bearing of  a  finding  on   the  maintainability  or
otherwise of the appeal before the High Court or the permissibility  of  the
ambit of scrutiny undertaken by it, expedient it would be to  assay  at  the
threshold, these cardinal aspects  in the proper legal perspective.
37.         Section 10F of the Act, which provides for  appeal  against  the
order of the Company Law Board, for ready reference is extracted hereunder:
“10F:  Appeals against the order  of  the  Company  Law  Board.  Any  person
aggrieved by any decision or order of the Company  Law  Board  [made  before
the commencement of the companies (Second Amendment) Act, 2002] may file  an
appeal to the High Court within sixty days from the  date  of  communication
of the decision or order of the Company Law Board to him on any question  of
law arising out of such order:

Provided that the High Court may, if it is satisfied that the appellant  was
prevented by sufficient  cause  from  filing  the  appeal  within  the  said
period, allow it to be filed within a further  period  not  exceeding  sixty

38.         As the quoted provision would reveal, a person  aggrieved  by  a
decision or order of the  CLB, may file an  appeal  before  the  High  Court
within 60 days from the date of communication of the decision or  order   to
him on any question of law  arising  out  of  such  order.   The  period  of
limitation prescribed, however, is extendable by the High Court  by  another
60 days on its  satisfaction  that  the  appellant  had  been  prevented  by
sufficient cause in doing so.
39.          The expression “decision or order” and  “any  question  of  law
arising out  of  such  order”  persuasively  command   for  an  inquest,  to
appropriately address the  issue  in  hand.   The   right  to  appeal  under
Section 10F of the Act  unambiguously being one conferred by a statute,  the
aspect of circumscription, if any, of  the contours of the  enquiry  by  the
appellate forum, would    be    of    formidable    significance.        The
precedential guidelines available offer the direction.
40.           In  Scindia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (supra), a  Constitution
Bench of this Court while dilating on the contingencies on which a  question
of law would arise out of an order of the Appellate Tribunal,  as  envisaged
in Section 66(1) of the  Income  Tax  Act,  1922  had  ruled   that  when  a
question of law is neither raised nor considered by it, it would  not  be  a
question arising out of its order notwithstanding that it may arise  on  the
findings given by it.  It was propounded that it was only  a  question  that
had been raised before or decided by the Tribunal  that  could  be  held  to
arise out of its order.
41.         In Dale & Carrington Invt. (P) Ltd. (supra), this Court  had  an
occasion to dwell upon the scope of Section 10F of the  Act  qua  an  appeal
preferred against the decision of the  Company  Law  Board   after  a  full-
fledged  adjudication before the High Court.  While negating  the  argument,
that the High Court could not have disturbed the findings arrived at by  the
Company Law Board and record its own findings on  certain  issues  which  it
could not go into, this Court held that if a finding  of  fact  is  perverse
and is based on no evidence, it can be set-aside in an  appeal  even  though
the appeal is permissible only on the question of  law.   It  was  clarified
that, perversity of a finding itself, becomes a question of law.   Reverting
to the facts of that case, this Court  observed that the  CLB  had  rendered
its decision in a very cursory and cavalier manner without  going  into  the
real issues which were germane for  the  determination  of  the  controversy
involved,  and thus approved the exercise of the High Court  in  elaborately
dealing with the matter.
42.         While reiterating in V.S. Krishnan and others (supra), that  the
CLB is the final authority on facts  and that  no  question  of  law  arises
unless its findings are perverse, based on  no  evidence  or  are  otherwise
arbitrary, this Court reiterated that in an appeal under Section 10F  “on  a
question of law”, the jurisdiction of the appellate court is  restricted  to
the question as to whether on the facts as noticed by the Company Law  Board
and as placed before it, its conclusion was against law  or was  founded  on
a consideration of irrelevant material or was as a  result  of  omission  to
consider  the relevant material.
43.         Adverting to the right of appeal, as a creature of  statute,  as
provided by Section 35 of the Foreign Exchange Management  Act,  1999,  this
Court in Raj Kumar Shivhare (supra) held that the expression  “any  decision
or  order”  did  mean  “all  decision  or  order”.   While  extending   this
interpretation to the expression “any decision or order” applied in  Section
35 as above, to dismiss the plea that such an appeal  is  contemplated  only
from a final order,  this  Court  distinguished  a  right  of  appeal  as  a
creature of statute from an inherent right of filing a suit,  unless  barred
by law.  It was   underlined that while conferring such a right  of  appeal,
a statute may impose  restriction or condition in law, limiting the area  of
appeal, to question of law or sometime to a substantial question of law  and
 ruled that  whenever  such   limitations  are  imposed,  those  are  to  be
strictly adhered to.
44.         This Court in Wander Ltd. (supra), while  dealing  with  appeals
against  orders granting or refusing a prayer for interlocutory  injunction,
did reiterate that the same, being in exercise of judicial  discretion,  the
appellate court ought  not  interfere  therewith  and  substitute   its  own
discretion except where such discretion is  shown  to  have  been  exercised
arbitrarily or capriciously or perversely or where  the  Court  whose  order
has  been  appealed  from,  had  ignored  the  settled  principles  of  law,
regulating  grant  or  refusal  of  interlocutory  injunctions.     It   was
enunciated, that appeal against exercise  of  discretion  is  an  appeal  on
principle and the appellate court would not reassess the materials and  seek
to reach a conclusion different from the one reached by the court below,  if
it was reasonably possible on the  materials  available.   It  was  held  as
well, that the appellate Court in such a situation  would  normally  not  be
justified in interfering with the  exercise  of  discretion   of  the  Court
below, if made reasonably and in a judicial manner,  solely  on  the  ground
that if it had considered the matter at the trial stage, it would have  come
to a contrary conclusion.  It was proclaimed that  an  interlocutory  remedy
is intended to preserve  in status quo, the rights  of  the   parties  which
may appear on a prima facie examination of a case.  It  was  held  that  the
prayer for grant of interlocutory injunction, being at  a   stage  when  the
existence of the legal right asserted  by  the  plaintiff  and  its  alleged
violation are both contested and uncertain and remain  uncertain  till  they
are  established at the trial  on  evidence,   it  is  required  to  act  on
certain well-settled principles  of  administration  of  such  interlocutory
remedy which  is  both  temporary  and  discretionary.    Referring  to  the
fundamental  object of  interlocutory  injunction,  this  Court  noted  with
approval that the need for such protection of the plaintiff  against  injury
by violation of his rights  must be weighed against the  corresponding  need
of the defendant to be protected  against  any  injury  resulting  from  the
restraint on the exercise of his rights, as sought   for,  which   he  could
not be adequately compensated. The need of one, thus   was  required  to  be
compared against the other, to  determine  the  balance  of  convenience  to
ensure an appropriate exercise  of  discretion  for  an  interim  remedy  as
suited to a particular fact situation.

45.         The unequivocal legal propositions as  judicially  ordained,  to
ascertain the emergence and existence of a question of  law,  the  scope  of
examination  thereof by a court of appellate jurisdiction and the  balancing
of the competing  factors in the grant of interlocutory remedy, hallowed  by
time, indeed are well settled.  A question  of law, as  is  comprehended  in
Section 10F of the Act, would arise indubitably, if a decision which is  the
foundation thereof, suffers from perversity, following a patent error  on  a
fundamental   principle  of  law  or  disregard  to  relevant  materials  or
cognizance of irrelevant or non-germane determinants.  A  decision  however,
on the issues raised, is a sine qua non for a question of law to  exist.   A
decision logically  per-supposes  an  adjudication  on  the  facets  of  the
controversy involved and mere deferment thereof to a future  point  of  time
till the completion of the essential legal formalities would not ipso  facto
fructify into a verdict to generate a question of law to be  appealed  from.
However, an omission to record a finding even on  a  conscious  scrutiny  of
the materials  bearing on the issues involved  in a  given  case,   may   be
termed to be one.  Be that as it  may,  in  any  view  of  the  matter,  the
appellate forum though exercising a jurisdiction which otherwise may be  co-
ordinate with that of the lower forum, ought to confine its  judicial  audit
within the layout of the adjudgment  undertaken by the forum of lower  tier.
 This is imperative, more particularly in  the  exercise  of  the  appellate
jurisdiction qua a decision  on  discretion   rendered  at  an  introductory
stage  of any proceeding, otherwise awaiting final  adjudication  on  merits
following a full contest.  It is    settled  that  no  adjudication  at  the
preliminary stage  of a proceeding in a court  of  law  ought  to  have  the
attributes of a final verdict so as to prejudge the issues  at  that  stage,
thereby rendering the principal determination otiose or redundant.  This  is
more so, if the pleadings of the parties are  incomplete  at  the  threshold
stage and the  lower  forum  concerned  seeks  only  to  ensure   a  working
arrangement vis-a-vis the dissension  and  postpone  fuller  and  consummate
appreciation of  the  rival  assertions  and  the  recorded  facts  and  the
documents at a later stage.

46.          Section  10F  of  the  Act  engrafts  the  requirement  of  the
existence of a question of law arising from the decision of the  CLB  as  an
essential pre-condition for the maintainability  of  an  appeal  thereunder.
While the language applied therein evinces that all  orders,  whether  final
or interlocutory, can be the subject-matter of appeal, if  it   occasions  a
question of law, in our comprehension,  the  Section  per  se  defines   the
perimeters  of inquisition by the appellate forum conditioned  by  the  type
of the order under scrutiny.  The nature and purport   of  the  order  i.e.,
interlocutory or final, would thus logically  present  varying  canvases  to
traverse and analyse.  These too would define  the  limits  of  adjudication
qua the appellate forum.  Whereas in an appeal under  Section  10F  from  an
order  granting or  refusing  interim  relief,   being  essentially  in  the
exercise of judicial discretion  and  based  on  equity  is   an  appeal  on
principle and no interference is merited unless the same  suffers  from  the
vice  of  perversity  and  arbitrariness,  such  constrictions    may    not
necessarily regulate  and/or  restrict  the  domain  of   examination  in  a
regular  appeal  on  facts  and  law.   Section  10F,   thus,    statutorily
demarcates the contours of  the  jurisdictional  exercise  by  an  appellate
forum depending on the nature of the order impugned i.e.   interlocutory  or
final and both cannot be equated, lest the  pending  proceeding  before  the
lower forum, if the order impugned is purely of  interlocutory  nature,  and
does not decide any issue on a consideration  of  the  rival  assertions  on
merits, stands aborted and is  rendered  superfluous  for  all  intents  and

47.         Reverting to the  present  facts,  noticeably  the  parties  are
contentiously locked on several issues, legal and  factual, a brief  outline
whereof has been set-out hereinabove.  While  seeking  the  intervention  of
the  CLB  on  the  key  accusation  of  oppression  and  mis-management   as
conceptualised in Sections 397 and  399 of the Act,  the  respondent  No.  1
had retraced  the  march  of  events  from  9.4.2013,  the  date  on  which,
according to her, when the meeting of the Board  of  Directors,  invalid  in
law, was convened and conducted by  Mr. G.V. Rao ,  who  allegedly   had  no
authority to do so, he having resigned from the company.  She  had  asserted
her express and implicit reservation in this regard and her disapproval  not
only of the constitution of the Board of Directors since then  but  also  of
the decisions taken from time to time.   Without recapitulating  the  stream
of developments that had occurred, suffice  it  to  mention,  that  after  a
series of intervening legal proceedings, she finally did submit  a  petition
before the CLB amongst other under Sections 397, 398,402/403/404 and 406  of
the Act alleging oppression and  mis-management  and  highlighting  in  that
regard, the  imminent possibility of alienation of the vital assets  of  the
company through a purported scheme of  demerger  to  the  undue  benefit  of
other Directors of  the  Board   of  the  company.   In  contradiction,  the
appellants  and  the  contesting  Directors   have  not  only  endorsed  the
validity of the meetings on or from 9.4.2013 contending that respondent  No.
1 though intimated thereof, had opted out therefrom and   on  the  basis  of
the record,  have  sought to demonstrate her participation in the  meetings,
amongst others  on 24.5.2013, 22.8.2013 and the Annual General Meeting  held
on 18.12.2013 as  permitted  by  the  CLB,   they  have  also   emphatically
adverted to the letter dated 15.4.2013 addressed by  the  respondent  No.  1
seemingly  acknowledging the  lawful induction of the appellant (Ms.  Mahima
Datla) as the Managing Director and her two sisters as the Directors in  the
Board.   The  appellants  and  other  contesting   respondents   have   also
endeavoured to  underline  that  the  respondent  No.  1  has  accepted  the
distribution of the shares held by Dr. Vijay  Kumar  Datla  in  the  HUF  as
decided in the meeting dated 24.5.2013  and  also  the  enhancement  in  her
remuneration as  the Executive Director as minuted  in  the  Annual  General
Meeting  dated 18.12.2013. There is no denial by  her  as  well  as  of  the
pendency of the demerger proceeding before the High Court.

48.         In the above overwhelming factual premise, the  High  Court,  as
the impugned decision would demonstrate,  being  fully  conscious  that  the
proceeding before the CLB was pending  for  final   adjudication,  proceeded
to  undertake an in-depth exercise to fathom and analyse  the facts and  the
law involved and has recorded its decision on merits in  total  substitution
of the order of the CLB.  This to reiterate, is in absence of any  pleadings
by the appellants, the  contesting Directors before the CLB.   This  assumes
importance as the High Court did resort to  a full-fledged scrutiny  of  the
factual and legal aspects, to test  the  legality  and/or  validity  of  the
order dated 6.8.2014 of the CLB at the stage of mentioning.   Having  regard
to the fact that the appeal before the High Court under Section 10F  of  the
Act was one from an interim order passed in exercise of judicial  discretion
at the stage of mentioning, in our view, bearing  in  mind  the  permissible
parameters of  exercise of  appellate  jurisdiction  in  such  matters,  the
elaborate  pursuit  so  undertaken  by  it,  is  neither  contemplated   nor
permissible. The High Court, in any view of  the  matter,  was  not  dealing
with a regular appeal under Section 10F  of the Act on  a  question  of  law
from  a  decision  rendered  by  the  CLB  on  merits,  after   a   complete
adjudication.  The appeal before it, being one  on  principle  and  from  an
order rendered by  the  CLB  in  the  exercise  of  its  discretion  at  the
preliminary stage awaiting the pleadings of the respondents therein, we  are
of unhesitant opinion that the scrutiny in the appeal  ought  to  have  been
essentially  confined  to   the  aspects  of  which   the  CLB   had   taken
cognizance, to pass its order at that stage, and not beyond.

49.         As it is, though a  colossus  of  facts  with  the  accompanying
contentious issues  are involved, having regard to the stage  at  which  the
order of the CLB had been passed, no exhaustive examination of  the  factual
and legal aspects ought to have been undertaken by the High Court to  record
its conclusive deductions on the basis thereof.  Keeping in view  the  stage
wise  delineation  of the jurisdictional frontiers  of  the  forums  in  the
institutional  hierarchy as codified by law,  the  High  Court's  quest   to
unravel  the entire gamut  of law and  facts  involved  at  the  preliminary
stage of the proceeding before the CLB and to record  its  findings  on  all
issues involved on merits did amount to prejudging those, thereby  rendering
the petition before the CLB redundant for all intents and purposes.

50.         In the   instant case, though the CLB, as a matter of fact,  did
not record  any  view  on  the  merits  of  the  case  while  deferring  the
consideration  of  the  interim  relief  ,  being   satisfied    with    the
undertakings offered on  behalf  of  the  appellants  and  other  contesting
Directors, the  High  Court   has,  by  the  impugned  decision,  decisively
furnished its views and conclusions  on all vital issues, as a  consequence,
leaving little or none for the CLB to decide.   This is not the role of  the
appellate forum as is contemplated under Section 10F of the  Act   qua   the
stage from which  the appeal had been preferred from the order of the CLB.

51.          Noticeably  in  the  face  of  the  undertaking  given  by  the
appellants and the pendency of the  demerger  proceeding  separately  before
the High Court, in our view, there did not exist  any  searing  urgency   to
substitute the  existing Board of Directors as done and to continue with  it
till the disposal of the suit and at the same time to  keep  the  proceeding
of the CLB pending till then. This is more so, as can  be  culled  from  the
order dated 6.8.2014 of the CLB,  the status  of  the  respondent  No.1   as
Executive Director of the Company  has been secured and  further  alienation
of the assets of the company, otherwise  has  been  restrained.   Assuredly,
these are based on undertakings before the CLB  as given by the  appellants,
the contesting Directors and  the CLB having taken note  thereof,  the  same
are as good as binding directions on the parties.  The  aspect  of  demerger
as adverted to hereinabove, is the  subject  matter  of  adjudication  in  a
separate proceeding on which, at this stage, no observation is  called  for.
Suffice it to state however, that the aspect of demerger   for  the  present
cannot ipso facto  be   an  impelling  factor   to  conclude  in  favour  of
allegation of oppression and mis-management as made by  the  respondent  No.

52.         In the wake up of above, we feel  persuaded  to  interfere  with
the impugned decision of  the  High  Court,  without   observing  any  final
opinion on the merit of the contrasting assertions.  In our   comprehension,
having regard to the relief provided by the CLB by its order dated  6.8.2014
 to the parties, it ought to be left  to  decide   the  petition  on  merits
after  affording  them  a  reasonable  opportunity   of   furnishing   their
pleadings.  As in the course of hearing, some  grievance  was  expressed  on
behalf of respondent No. 1 that her status as the Executive Director of  the
company, stands  undermined due to uncalled for surveillance imposed at  the
instance of the existing Board of Directors, we make it clear, as  has  been
assured before us, that  she   ought  to  be  allowed  to  function  in  the
aforesaid  capacity  being  provided  with  all  facilities  and  privileges
attached  to the office as permissible in law,  so much  so  that  she  does
not have any occasion to complain in this regard.  This indeed  ought     to
be in accord with the letter and spirit of the undertaking  offered  by  the
Board of Directors  to the CLB.    The respondent No. 1 too would  cooperate
in the day to day management of the affairs  of  the  company  in  her  said
capacity.   The  existing  Board  of  Directors  would  also  abide  by  the
undertaking as recorded in the order dated  6.8.2014  of  the  CLB  qua  the
alienation of the assets  of  the  company.  The  set-up  of  the  Board  of
Directors and the arrangement vis-a-vis the administration  of  the  affairs
of the company, as was existing  on  the  date  on  which  the  order  dated
6.8.2014 was passed by the CLB, would continue  until further orders by  it.
 The CLB is, however, directed to dispose of the  proceeding  before  it  as
expeditiously as possible.  As the  suit filed by the respondent No.  1,  as
noted hereinabove, is also pending, we hereby direct the Civil Court  before
which it is pending,  to deal with the same  with expedition   as  well,  so
as to provide a quietus to the lingering family discord in the overall well-
being of the company and its constituents.

53.         Before parting, we need to take note of the submission  of   Mr.
P.P. Rao, learned senior counsel  appearing  for  Mr.  G.V.  Rao   that  the
averments made in sub-paragraph 2 of  the  counter-affidavit  filed  by  the
respondent No. 1 at page 720  thereof  besides being utterly  incorrect  and
defamatory are liable to be  effaced  from  the  records.   We  are  of  the
considered view that  this  assertion  needs  to  be  sustained.   We  thus,
expunge these averments being wholly inessential  for  deciding  the  issues

54.         The appeals are, thus, allowed in the above terms.      The  CLB
and the Civil Court would decide the proceedings before them  on  their  own
merits, without being in any way influenced by any observation made  herein.
No costs.

                                  (V. GOPALA GOWDA)

                                  (AMITAVA ROY)
OCTOBER 6,  2015.