Tuesday, April 23, 2019

‘Bride’ means trans woman too, rules Madras HC

In a landmark verdict, Madras high court has held that the term ‘bride’ mentioned in the Hindu Marriage Act would also mean transgender woman, and that it would not just refer to a born-woman on her wedding day.

The court also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to issue an order banning sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children.

Justice GR Swaminathan, quoting from the Supreme Court judgments and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, said the expression ‘bride’ in the Hindu Marriage Act could not have a static or immutable meaning.

Holding that the expression ‘bride’ would have to include not only a woman, but also a trans woman, the judge directed the authorities to register a marriage between Arun Kumar and Sreeja, a trans woman. They had moved court after the registration department refused to register their marriage, held on October 31 at a temple in Tuticorin, and issue a certificate.

In the process, Justice Swaminathan also comprehensively rejected the government’s contention that the registrar of marriages had powers to refuse registration and stated that since one of them was a transwoman, they did not meet the statutory requirement of the Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, as the term ‘bride’ can only refer to a 'woman on her wedding day.' In this regard, the judge referred to landmark judgment by the Supreme Court, which upheld transgender persons’ right to decide their self-identified gender.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Driving In High Speed In A Very Busy Road Can Be Said To Be Rash & Negligent: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court has observed that when a person drives his vehicle in a very high speed, in spite of knowing the fact that it is thickly populated and very busy road, it will be one of the shade of driving the vehicle in rash and negligent manner.
The Trial Court had convicted Popat Bhaginath Kasar under section 304A and Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code. On his appeal, the appellate court acquitted him for the offence under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code, but affirmed the conviction under Section 304A IPC. The vehicle had hit a seven year old boy who died on the spot.
In his revision petition, Justice VM Deshpande observed that though the speed alone is not a criteria to reach to the conclusion about the rashness on the part of the driver of the offending vehicle, it will be one of the factor as an indicator to show that the driver was driving the vehicle in most rash and negligent manner if he is unable to control the speed of the vehicle.
The court also noticed that it has been brought on record that road on which the incident has occurred, is full of traffic. It said: 
"As seen from the evidence of the two prosecution witnesses, the incident in question has occurred, though at the outskirts of Ahmednagar city, it was thickly populated area and there was heavy rush of various vehicles. In that view of the matter, it was expected from a driver not to drive the vehicle at very high speed at such place. When the driver, inspite of knowing the fact that the spot of the occurrence is thickly populated and very busy road, still allows himself to drive the vehicle in very high speed, in my view, it will be one of the shade of driving the vehicle in rash and negligent manner. In the incident, had the driver at the relevant time, was driving the vehicle in not in rash and negligent manner, life of a boy, namely Neeraj, aged about seven years, could have been saved. Due to the rash and negligent act on the part of the Applicant, his precious life was cut-short."
Dismissing the revision petition, the court said:
In my view, driving the vehicle in a high speed in the area which is thickly populated and having too much movements, is one of the shade by which it could be said that it is a rash and negligent driving.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bom HC | Divorced wife cannot file application under Domestic Violence Act; application filed under Ss. 12 and 18 rejected in absence of “domestic relationship”

M.G. Giratkar, J. refused to interfere with an order of the Judicial Magistrate as confirmed by the Sessions Judge, whereby the application filed by the applicant under Section 12 and 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was dismissed.

The applicant married to the respondent in 1999, However, a decree of divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 had been passed by the family court in 2008 at the instance of the husband. The application under the DV Act was filed by the applicant in 2009, i.e., subsequent to the grant of divorce. The respondent resisted the application on the ground that there was no “domestic relationship” between them and therefore any application under DV Act was not maintainable. The application was rejected by the Judicial Magistrate as well as the Sessions Judge. Aggrieved thereby, the applicant filed the present revision application.

Amruta A. Ghonge, Advocate led arguments for the applicant. Per contra, R.N. Sen, Advocate appearing for the respondent, resisted the application.

After perusing a conspectus of decisions of the Supreme Court as well as High Courts, the Court came to the conclusion that no relief could be granted to the applicant. It was observed: “In the present case, divorce was granted by the family Court vide order dated 30-06- 2008. Application under the DV Act was filed in the year 2009. At the time of filing of application under the DV Act, the applicant was not the wife. There was no domestic relationship between them. Hence, orders passed by the learned JMFC, Nagpur and maintained by Additional Sessions Judge, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal No. 235 of 2015 are perfectly legal and correct.” In such view of the matter, the revision application was dismissed. [Sadhana v. Hemant, Criminal Revision Application No. 121 of 2018, decided on 18-04-2019]

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Election Poll code not applicable to cooperatives: HC

In an important order, the Gujarat high court on Tuesday held that the model code of conduct (MCC) for elections cannot be applied to a cooperative society since it is not a government instrumentality.
A bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice Bhargav Karia quashed the district election officer’s order cancelling a special general body meeting that was to be convened by the Mehsana District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd (Dudhsagar Dairy).
According to the dairy’s counsel Dipen Desai, the dairy set an agenda on March 8 to convene a meeting to amend its bylaws. On March 10, it decided to convene the meeting on March
24. The general election was announced on March 10 and the model code of conduct came into force.
On March 16, the district collector received a complaint that the dairy’s decision taken on March 10 to convene a meeting was a violation of the MCC. The district collector sought the district registrar’s opinion on March 19 and stopped the dairy from going ahead with its programme citing the MCC.
The dairy approached the HC contending that the MCC is not applicable to it, being a cooperative, because it does not avail of government funds.

HC scraps govt’s ₹10k limit for support to students

In a major beneficiary boost to Gujarat’s private schools, the Gujarat high court has removed the ceiling of Rs 10,000, the maximum amount that can be reimbursed by the state government to private school for expenditure incurred on a primary student admitted on free seat quota under the RTE Act.
Two associations of nearly 7,000 private schools had challenged a July 2015 government resolution fixing a cap on reimbursement by the government. This ceiling was later increased to Rs 13,500.
The high court has ruled that the government cannot fix such an amount under the provisions of section 12(2) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Each non-granted and private school is mandated to admit 25% students from economically weaker section under the RTE laws. The high court has clarified that the non-granted schools are entitled to reimbursement of an amount equal to the amount they actually charge from other students or the amount the government spends per child, whichever is less. It further said that the mode of reimbursement could be prescribed by the state government. The school associations’ case got strengthened when the state government itself admitted that it had spent Rs 11,658 per student in 2013-14, Rs 14,477 in 2014-15 and Rs 15,607 in 2015-16. Since the government had spent more than the maximum amount fixed for private schools for reimbursement, it could not have issued the GR fixing the reimbursement amount, the high court observed. With observation that the government cannot snatch private school’s entitlement to a certain amount by issuing a GR, Justice Bela Trivedi quashed the resolution. The private schools had also challenged the issues regarding non-payment of hostel, lodging, boarding, mess transportation etc, but the state government assured to resolve the issues in September 2016. Therefore the petitioners did not press these demands.
On the dispute, president of Akhil Gujarat Rajya Shaala Sanchalak Mahamandal, Narayanbhai Patel, said, “Our demand before the government was that the schools should be reimbursed the amount local district panchayat and municipal corporation spend per child We had made several representations before the government but to no effect. Therefore we approached the high court.”

Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed was forced to leave India

MHA Cracks Whip For Visa Rule Violation

Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed was forced to leave India on Tuesday after he was ordered by the ministry of home affairs to exit the country for campaigning for the Trinamool Congress on Sunday.
“Ferdous Ahmed left the country this (Tuesday-16/04/2019) afternoon after MHA asked the actor to leave India.” 
MHA has sought a report from the West Bengal government and the local Foreigner Regional Registration Office, prompting FRRO to probe whether the actor had violated work visa rules by campaigning for TMC’s Raiganj candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal.
Bangladesh deputy high commission officials confirmed that Ahmed’s visa did not allow him to take part in political campaigns. The officials had called the actor on Sunday itself to inquire about the issue after his campaigning sparked a political stir. Ahmed reportedly replied that he was shooting near Raiganj on Sunday afternoon and “could not turn down TMC’s request for campaigning”.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Regularization Obtained By Misrepresenting Facts Cannot Be Sustained; SC Upholds Termination Of A 'Chowkidar'

Read Judgment
Holding that the appointment of a Chowkidar on regular basis was invalid, the Supreme Court observed an order of regularization obtained by misrepresenting facts, or by playing a fraud upon the competent authority, cannot be sustained.
Karamjit Singh was appointed as a Chowkidar on daily wages by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority on 1st December 1995. His name was on the muster rolls till 31.03.1997. The Government of Punjab revised the Policy for regularization of work-charged / daily wage and other categories of employees who had completed 3 years of service. Even though he had only worked for a few months, Singh's name got into the list and was regularized w.e.f. 06.11.2001.
Some other employees challenged the regularization and the High Court directed the department to look into the matter. In the enquiry, it was found that Singh had not completed the requisite period of 3 years' service prior to 22.01.2001. Consequently, the Chief Administrator annulled the regularization.
Singh challenged this termination before Industrial Tribunal. As the tribunal dismissed his plea, he approached the High court which held that the department ought to have issued a chargesheet, conduct an enquiry against a permanent employee, before terminating or dismissing him from service under the Regulations. It observed that "rightly or wrongly" Singh's services had been regularized.
Setting aside the High Court order, the bench observed that Singh was disentitled from getting the benefit of a regular appointment with the Authority, in the absence of fulfilling the pre-requisite requirement. The bench observed:
"The appointment of the Respondent on regular basis was invalid since the Respondent did not have the pre-requisite experience of 3 years' continuous service prior to 22.01.2001. The Respondent had sought to secure regularization on the basis of interpolation in the final list of employees recommended for regularization. Such an appointment would be illegal and void ab initio, and cannot be sustained."

Saturday, April 13, 2019

No bar on attachment of Pension to recover Maintenance, Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently held that there is no bar on attaching a husband’s pension for the purpose of recovering maintenance due to his wife.
Sitting at the Nagpur Bench, Justice MG Giratkar passed a judgment to this effect while disposing of a revision application filed against an interim order of the Magistrate Court. During the course of proceedings initiated under the Domestic Violence Act, the Magistrate had ordered the attachment of the husband’s pension to secure the payment of Rs 30, 000 as interim maintenance to the wife every month.
The husband had filed a revision application challenging the same. For the husband, it was contended that the Magistrate had overstepped his jurisdiction in ordering the attachment of pension for recovery of maintenance. In this regard, reference was made to Section 11 of the Pensions Act, 1871 which deals with “exemption of pension from attachment”. This provision states that,
No pension granted or continued by Government on political considerations, or on account of past services or present infirmities or as a compassionate allowance, and no money due or to become due on account of any such pension or allowance. shall be liable to seizure, attachment or sequestration by process of any Court at the instance of a creditor, for, any demand against the pensioner, or in satisfaction of a decree or order of any such Court.”
The Court, however, pointed out that the provision only bars attachment of pension at the instance of a creditor. It was observed,
The above said Section shows that in civil disputes pensions cannot be attached at the instance of creditors.
On the other hand, it was noted that a wife cannot be termed a creditor. Therefore, the Court concluded that the attachment of pension cannot be barred for the recovery of maintenance in favour of the wife. This was supported by commentary relied upon by the husband’s counsel. The Court noted,
“… Commentary relied on by learned counsel for the applicant/husband at serial No.16 under head of attachment shows that, ‘maintenance allowance granted to wife cannot be considered as debt. She is not a creditor hence exemption under S.11 cannot be granted to husband. (1985)87 Punk LR 682 : (1985) 12 Cri LT 219’. 
The said commentary itself shows that pensions can be attached to recover amount of maintenance. Hence, the stand taken by learned counsel for the applicant/husband that pensions cannot be attached is not digestible.
In view of this observation, the Court refused to quash the Magistrate’s order on the aspect of attaching the husband’s pension for recovering the maintenance due to his wife. However, the Court reduced the amount of maintenance payable from Rs 30, 000 to Rs 20, 000, opining that the amount ordered to be paid by the Magistrate was exorbitant on the facts of the case.
Accordingly, the Court ordered as follows,
Instead of Rs.30,000/­ per month, the applicant/husband shall pay Rs.20,000/­ per month towards interim maintenance to his wife during the pendency of D.V.Act proceedings.
The order of attachment of pension is hereby quashed and set aside subject to the applicant/husband clears all arrears of maintenance within a period of one month from today.
Before parting with the matter, the Court also directed the Magistrate to conclude the case within a period of three months.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Supreme Court directs parties to give details of donations received via electoral bond

The SC ordered all political parties to furnish the details of the electoral bond in a sealed cover by May 31.
Hearing a petition challenging the validity of the electoral bond scheme, the Supreme Court on Friday directed all political parties to furnish details of donations received via these bonds and said that the issue raised in the petition is "vital to fairness” of electoral process.
The SC bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that all political parties give details of all donations received through electoral bond till date and the bonds they would receive till May 15 to Election Commission in a sealed cover by May 31. The details will include the name of the donors and the amount received till date.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mere Financial Assistance To Buy Property Cannot Be Termed Benami Transaction


"Source of money had never been the sole consideration, and is only merely one of the relevant considerations but not determinative in character" The Supreme Court has observed that mere financial assistance to buy a property cannot be the sole determinative factor/circumstance to hold the transaction as benami in nature. The issue before the bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah in an appeal arising out of a suit filed by a lady (P. Leelavathi vs. Shankarnarayana Rao) against her brothers was whether the transactions can be said to be benami in nature merely because some financial assistance has been given by the father (Late G. Venkata Rao) to the sons (defendants) to purchase the properties, subject matter of the suit (filed by his daughter, claiming share in these properties) 

The bench referred to judgment in Binapani Paul v. Pratima Ghosh that had held that the source of money had never been the sole consideration, and is only merely one of the relevant considerations but not determinative in character. It also reiterated the observations made in Valliammal v. Subramaniam, which delineated six circumstances to check whether the transaction is benami or not.

The source from which the purchase money came; the nature and possession of the property, after the purchase; Motive, if any, for giving the transaction a benami colour; Position of the parties and the relationship, if any, between the claimant and the alleged benamidar; Custody of the title deeds after the sale; Conduct of the parties concerned in dealing with the property after the sale. The bench also took note that G. Venkata Rao had given financial assistance to the plaintiff (his daughter) and her husband to purchase the residential house at Bangalore and therefore must also have given the financial assistance to sons and helped them in purchase of the properties. It said: "It is true that, at the time of purchase of the suit properties, some financial assistance was given by Late G. Venkata Rao. However, as observed by this Court in the aforesaid decisions, that cannot be the sole determinative factor/circumstance to hold the transaction as benami in nature. The plaintiff has miserably failed to establish and prove the intention of the father to purchase the suit properties for and on behalf of the family, which were purchased in the names of defendant Nos. 1 to 3.......Therefore, the intention of Late G. Venkata Rao to give the financial assistance to purchase the properties in the names of defendant Nos. 1 to 3 cannot be said to be to purchase the properties for himself and/or his family members and, therefore, as rightly observed by the High Court, the transactions of purchase of the suit properties – Item Nos. I(a) to I(c) in the names of the defendant Nos. 1 to 3 cannot be said to be benami in nature. The intention of Late G. Venkata Rao was to provide the financial assistance for the welfare of his sons and not beyond that. As none of the other ingredients to establish the transactions as benami transactions, were satisfied in this case, except that some financial assistance was provided by Late G. Venkata Rao, the bench held that plaintiff has no right to claim share in these properties. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Drunk lawyer Simone Burns is jailed for racist mile-high rant (Mumbai to London Air India flight)

A DRUNK human rights lawyer who spat at a flight attendant when she refused to serve her a bottle of wine has been jailed for six months.
Simone Burns, 50, was filmed shouting at Air India cabin crew in a racist and foul-mouthed tirade during a nine-hour flight from Mumbai to London Heathrow last November.
Sentencing her yesterday, Judge Nicholas Wood said: ‘The experience of a drunk unrepentant irrational person in the confines of an aircraft is frightening, not least on a long-haul flight, and is a risk to safety.’

He said although her hour-long rant did not put the aircraft in danger ‘there is no escape at 30,000ft.’ Although Burns was of ‘impeccable character’ a jail term was inevitable, he added.
Burns, known as Simone O’Broin, was initially served three 25cl bottles of wine on the flight, then refused more.
The business class passenger labelled the crew ‘Indian money-grabbing c***s’ and was also twice caught smoking in the toilet. Belfast-born Burns, who lives in Hove, East Sussex, said: ‘I’m an international criminal lawyer. I don’t get any money for it by the way and you can’t give me a f***ing glass of wine.’
Burns later spat on supervisor Dastur Pervin and squeezed her arm so hard it hurt. She was escorted off the plane by three armed police officers at Heathrow. After admitting charges at Isleworth crown court, she was jailed six months for being drunk on an aircraft and two months for common assault, to be served concurrently. Burns was also ordered to pay Ms Pervin £300.News by Metro UK

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Supreme Court clears path for pension to rise manifold for employees in all firms

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for higher pension to all private sector employees by dismissing a special leave petition filed by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) against a Kerala high court judgment.
The HC had asked EPFO to give pension to all retiring employees on the basis of their full salary, rather than capping the figure on which contribution is calculated at a maximum of Rs 15,000 per month.
"We find no merit in the special leave petition. The same is, accordingly, dismissed,'' the SC ruled.
The only catch is that while pension will increase, the provident fund corpus will be reduced as the extra contribution will now go to EPS rather than PF. However, the amount reduced is unlikely to be significant as the commutation of the part of increased pension will be sufficient to fill the gap.
The Centre had introduced the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) in 1995, under which an employer was supposed to contribute 8.33% of the employee's salary in a pension scheme. However, the contribution was capped at 8.33% of Rs 6,500 (or Rs 541 per month).
In March 1996, the government amended the act and allowed the contribution to be a percentage of the actual salary, provided the employee and employer had no objection.
On September 1, 2014, the EPFO amended the act to increase the contribution to 8.33% of a maximum of Rs 15,000 (or Rs 1,250). The amendment also stipulated that in case of those who availed the benefit of pension on full salary, their pensionable salary would be calculated as the average of the last five years' monthly salary, and not of the last one year of average salary, as per earlier norms. This reduced the pension of many employees.
Subsequently, the Kerala high court set aside the September 1, 2014 amendment and also reinstated the old system of calculating the pensionable salary as the average of the last one year's monthly salary.
In October 2016, the Supreme Court directed the EPFO to accept the requests of employees to contribute to the pension scheme on the basis of full salary, with back date, and give pension on full salary.
A number of retired employees benefitted from the scheme, including Parveen Kohli, a private sector employee who got his pension revised from Rs 2,372 per month to Rs 30,592 per month. Kohli now works to get pension enhanced for other retired employees.
However, even after the SC judgment, EPFO refused to accept contributions of employees of exempt companies, whose EPFs are managed by trusts, even when they were ready to contribute the due amount. Provident funds of most of the large PSUs like navratnas including ONGC, Indian Oil and others and large private sector companies are managed by trusts as per norms suggested by EPFO.
A number of high courts like Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Madras, among others, ruled in favour of employees and asked EPFO to allow them to contribute. Monday's decision of Supreme Court is expected to settle the issue once and for all. Employees who have begun working after September 1, 2014, will also be able to avail the benefit of pension on full salary.

One Sided Clauses In Builder-Buyer Agreements Is An Unfair Trade Practice: SC

"A term of a contract will not be final and binding if it is shown that the flat purchasers had no option but to sign on the dotted line, on a contract framed by the builder." The Supreme Court has held that the incorporation of one-sided clauses in a builder-buyer agreement constitutes an unfair trade practice as per Section 2 (r) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bench comprising Justice UU Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra also observed that a builder could not seek to bind a flat buyer with one-sided contractual terms. The bench was considering an appeal against National Consumer Commission order that held that the Clauses relied upon by the Builder to resist the refund claims made by the complainant buyer, were wholly one-sided, unfair and unreasonable, and could not be relied upon.

Perusing the agreement, the bench found that there are stark incongruities between the remedies available to both the parties to the agreement. For instance, the Agreement entitles the Builder to charge Interest @18% p.a. on account of any delay in payment of installments from the Respondent – Flat Purchaser. Whereas, the Builder is liable to pay Interest @9% p.a. only for delay in delivering possession of flats.

One Sided Clauses In Builder-Buyer Agreements Is An Unfair Trade Practice In the judgment upholding the consumer commission's order, the bench referred to Section 2 (r) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which defines 'unfair trade practices' in the following words : "'unfair trade practice' means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice …", The bench observed that this definition is not exhaustive and observed: "A term of a contract will not be final and binding if it is shown that the flat purchasers had no option but to sign on the dotted line, on a contract framed by the builder. The contractual terms of the Agreement dated 08.05.2012 are ex-facie one-sided, unfair, and unreasonable. The incorporation of such one-sided clauses in an agreement constitutes an unfair trade practice as per Section 2 (r) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 since it adopts unfair methods or practices for the purpose of selling the flats by the Builder." 

The bench also referred to Law Commission of India 199th Report which recommended that legislation be enacted to counter such unfair terms in contracts. "A contract or a term thereof is substantively unfair if such contract or the term thereof is in itself harsh, oppressive or unconscionable to one of the parties.", the report had stated. The bench held that the builder, in this case, failed to fulfill his contractual obligation of obtaining the Occupancy Certificate and offering possession of the flat to the Purchaser within the time stipulated in the Agreement, or within a reasonable time thereafter. Purchaser could not be compelled to take possession of the flat, even though it was offered almost 2 years after the grace period under the Agreement expired, it said. It also directed the builder to refund the amount to the buyer within three months.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

HC cancels compensation to rape complainant

The Gujarat high court has quashed an order of compensation to a rape complainant after it acquitted the accused on the conclusion that the girl was a consenting party to the physical relationship. The HC said that compensation to a rape victim is not a vested right.
After acquitting the man of rape charges, the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice A C Rao quashed the trial court’s order to pay compensation of Rs 55,000 to the complainant and her illegitimate child. The trial court in Rajkot had in 2009 ordered compensation after holding the man guilty of rape and sentencing him to three-year imprisonment.

While acquitting the accused and cancelling the compensation order, the HC observed, “When a conviction is set aside, the effect which flows out of such a conviction, namely, the award of compensation to the victim, also disappears. When compensation is awarded to the victim, it is always subject to the right of appeal which vests in the convict. This grant of compensation cannot be regarded as a vested right.” The case involved one Kadva Savaliya, a married man and father of two children, who was accused of rape by a 19-year-old in Rajkot district in 2007. Savaliya was convicted to a three-year jail term. On the state government’s appeal, the high court increased his punishment to seven years, which is the minimum sentence prescribed for rape. Savaliya moved the Supreme Court against an increase in punishment and the matter was sent back to the high court because its order was not a reasoned order.

Upon rehearing the case, the HC concluded that the girl was a consenting party to the physical relationship. For its conclusion, the high court charted out the reasons based on the behaviour of the girl and her father, who tried to settle the matter with the accused when he came to know about his daughter’s pregnancy. The HC concluded that the girl lodged an FIR because she had no other option left and deposed in court against Savaliya under the pressure from his family members.
After acquitting Savaliya of rape charges, the court quashed the compensation order for the girl. But the HC said that it is always open for the girl to initiate legal proceedings for maintenance for the illegitimate child born in the physical relationship of the victim and the accused.

SC quashes RBI’s insolvency circular

In a big setback to efforts for recovery of bad debts of companies owing Rs 2,000 crore or more to banks, the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the RBI’s February 12, 2018, circular, which directed banks to move against defaulters under the Insolvency and Banking Code (IBC) on their failure to pay up within 180 days from March 1, 2018.

A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran also quashed all IBC proceedings initiated by banks under the RBI circular against defaulters. Thus, the SC turned the clock back to March 1, 2018, giving a huge relief to defaulters who owe Rs 2,000 crore or more to banks. “All actions taken under the said circular, including action by which the Insolvency Code has been triggered, must fall along with the said circular,” it said.

However, this ruling will not affect initiation of IBC proceedings by banks against big defaulters taken before, or independent of, the RBI circular. One such example is the IBC proceedings launched by an SBIled consortium against Essar Steel, which on culmination of proceedings is set to be taken over by Arcelor Mittal. Essar Steel had a debt of Rs 45,000 crore.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Single Dedicated bank a/c must for schools

The state government has decided to strictly implement the provision for school fees to be deposited in a single dedicated bank account, rather than being paid in cash. The FRC has mandated that all school expenses including the salaries of schoolteachers must be paid out only from this account.
Officials said that according to the Fee Regulation Act, it was necessary for the school to open a dedicated account and ask parents of students to deposit fees in that account. Schools were also asked to ensure that all expenses were paid from this account. Officials said many schools were still using different accounts for receiving fees and expenditure.
Officials, however, said they were earlier uncertain as to who was to implement the mandate and whether it was within the purview of the Fee Regulation Committee (FRC) to enforce the single-account rule, but now it is clear that it is the duty of the state government. FRC officials said several schools were giving discounts to children of teaching and non-teaching staff and the FRC has made it clear that these students will have to pay their fees into the dedicated account, and the school can reimburse money to staff member concerned.
A school on SP Ring Road has asked its teachers to pay their children’s fees from their own accounts.
The school has made it clear that the discounted amount will be reimbursed to the teacher which will be shown as expenditure in the school account.An officer further said that the Supreme Court has ruled that charges for nonacademic activities cannot be thrust upon students by schools. The apex court said that fees for transportation, sports and other activities that do not form part of studies are strictly optional and cannot be a mandatory part of the fee package.
However, said the FRC official, many schools were not following the ruling and were forcing students to pay for extra services.

Guj HC quashed govt’s ban on livestock export

The Gujarat high court on 1st April quashed the state government’s diktat prohibiting export of livestock from Kutch’s Tuna port. A division bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice Bhargav Karia junked the state government’s notification issued on December 14 banning the export of livestock from Gujarat shores. The HC trashed the notification in response to a petition filed by exporters.

The HC also rejected state government’s request to stay its order and to allow operation of its prohibiting orders for six weeks so that it could approach the Supreme Court. The exporters had challenged the government’s notification on the ground that it was in violation of the country’s export-import policy. Tuna is the only port, which is governed by the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Port Trust, Kandla, and from where livestock is exported.