Saturday, September 24, 2022

Passenger Injured On Account Of Mine Blast Entitled To Compensation Under Motor Vehicle Act: J&K&L High Court

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court on 22/09/22 ruled that even if the cause of the accident is remote or due to subversive activity involved, the victim is entitled to a grant of compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act.

The appellants assailed the impugned judgment primarily on the ground that there was no negligence on the part of the driver or the appellants and the death of the deceased and injuries to the injured had been caused by a mine blast which was beyond their control as such even the incident in question was too remote, and unconnected with the use of the vehicle.

Adjudicating upon the matter the bench observed that even if the cause of the accident is remote or as a result of subversive activity involved, the victim is entitled to grant of compensation under Motor Vehicle Act, for the use of the vehicle and all other reliefs granted under some other statutes or schemes are not adjustable towards the compensation payable under the Motor Vehicles Act.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Order I Rule 10 CPC - Nobody Can Be Permitted To Be Impleaded As Defendants Against The Wish Of The Plaintiffs Unless Court Suo Motu Directs: Supreme Court

Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 ; Order I Rule 10 - Plaintiffs are the domius litis - Unless the court suo motu directs to join any other person not a party to the suit for the effective decree and/or for proper adjudication as per Order 1 Rule 10 CPC, nobody can be permitted to be impleaded as defendants against the wish of the plaintiffs - In case the counter-claim is allowed, it will not be open for the plaintiffs to contend that no decree in the counter-claim be passed in absence of the subsequent purchasers - Non-impleading the subsequent purchasers as defendants on the objection raised by the plaintiffs shall be at the risk of the plaintiffs.

The Supreme Court observed that a High Court can quash a cheque case only if it comes across some unimpeachable and incontrovertible evidence to indicate that the Director/partner of a firm could not have been concerned with the issuance of cheques. "Vicarious criminal liability can be inferred against the partners of a firm when it is specifically averred in the complaint about the status of the partners 'qua' the firm.", the bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala observed.

The High Court quashed a cheque case against the accused (partner of a firm) on the ground that there was nothing to indicate in what manner the accused herein was in­charge and responsible for the day­to­day affairs of the firm so as to make her vicariously liable for the alleged offence with the aid of Section 141 of the NI Act. The High Court held that merely by reciting the words used under Section 141 of the NI Act in the complaint no vicarious liability can be fastened on the firm's partner.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 482 - Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 ; Section 138,141 - High Court should not interfere under Section 482 of the Code at the instance of an accused unless it comes across some unimpeachable and incontrovertible evidence to indicate that the Director/partner of a firm could not have been concerned with the issuance of cheques - If any Director wants the process to be quashed by filing a petition under Section 482 of the Code on the ground that only a bald averment is made in the complaint and that he/she is really not concerned with the issuance of the cheque, he/she must in order to persuade the High Court to quash the process either furnish some sterling incontrovertible material or acceptable circumstances to substantiate his/her contention. He/she must make out a case that making him/her stand the trial would be an abuse of process of Court. (Para 47)

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 138,141 - Vicarious criminal liability can be inferred against the partners of a firm when it is specifically averred in the complaint about the status of the partners 'qua' the firm. This would make them liable to face prosecution but it does not lead to an automatic conviction. On the other elements of an offence under Section 138 being satisfied, the burden is on the Board of Directors or the officers in charge of the affairs of the company/partners of a firm to show that they were not liable to be convicted. (Para 47)

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 138,141 - The object of notice before the filing of the complaint is not just to give a chance to the drawer of the cheque to rectify his omission to make his stance clear so far as his liability under Section 138 of the NI Act is concerned - It is essential for the person to whom statutory notice is issued under Section 138 of the NI Act to give an appropriate reply. The person concerned is expected to clarify his or her stance. If the person concerned has some unimpeachable and incontrovertible material to establish that he or she has no role to play in the affairs of the company/firm, then such material should be highlighted in the reply to the notice as a foundation. (Para 44)


Monday, September 12, 2022

Witness Can't Be Allowed To Seek Correction In Evidence After He Signs Deposition Sheet: Orissa High Court

Read Judgment

The Court noted that Section 278, Cr.P.C. deals with procedure with regard to the evidence when it is completed and it states, inter alia, that as the evidence of each witness taken under section 275 or section 276 of Cr.P.C. is completed, it shall be read over to him in the presence of the accused, if in attendance, or of his pleader, if he appears by pleader, and shall, if necessary, be corrected and it is further provided that if the witness denies the correctness of any part of the evidence when the same is read over to him, the Magistrate or Presiding Officer may, instead of correcting the evidence, make a memorandum thereon of the objection made to it by the witness and shall add such remarks as he thinks necessary.

The Bench observed that where the certificate of the Magistrate endorsed on the deposition sheet states that the deposition was read out to the witness and that the witness admitted it to be correct, the Court is bound to accept this as correct under 
Section 80 of the Evidence Act
 until it is proved to be untrue. Before a deposition is closed, a witness is given an opportunity of explaining and correct any contradictions which it may contain and the statement that the witness finally declares to be the true one and that statement only must be taken to be the statement that the witness intended to make.

It was further held that all the Courts whether civil or criminal have an obligation to read over the deposition to the witness before he is called upon to affix the signature. Having regard for the statutory mandate, the Court observed,

"…after his cross-examination is over, he was asked to go through his deposition sheet and put his signature on each page of the deposition sheet, he never raised any objection about of any wrong recording. The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that everything was done in a hurried manner and the petitioner could not get time to go through the evidence minutely and therefore, the evidence should be corrected is not acceptable. The correction, which has been sought in the evidence is completely different from what evidence has been recorded. Therefore, it would be too risky to allow further examination of the petitioner as D.W.1 and permit him to make corrections in the evidence already recorded."

Before concluding, however, the Court made it clear that if any new fact is there with the petitioner to be deposed to prove his case which he has inadvertently left out, his counsel can file an application for recall of petitioner to depose only those aspects and in the recall petition, specific questions likely to be put to D.W.1 should be mentioned and the same shall be considered by the Trial Court and if it is found to be relevant, just and proper.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Passport Officer Can't Usurp Power Of Authority Issuing Birth Certificate Or Make Independent Enquiry Into Applicant's Date Of Birth: Rajasthan HC

Justice Ashok Kumar Gaur held that the Passport Authorities are always within their competence to direct the parties to produce relevant documents either from the Authorities functioning under the Births & Deaths Registration Act or from the Judicial Magistrate or from the Civil Court, as the case may be.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Engagement does not give prospective groom right to sexually exploit fiancée: Punjab & Haryana High Court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on 5/9/2022 held that a couple engaged and meeting each other did not give the prospective bridegroom the right or liberty to sexually exploit his fiancée without her consent [Sagar Kapoor v State of Haryana].

"The petitioner cannot get any leverage to physically exploit the fiancée against the consent during the period intervening the engagement and the marriage", the single-judge said.
"In the instant case, there is a categoric statement of the prosecutrix that the petitioner entered into physical relationship with her, despite her reluctance, refusal and denial."
"In the peculiar circumstances of the case, it is not made out that it was a case of consensual relationship," the court concluded while refusing anticipatory bail.

Peaceful protest is offence under Railways Act-Rail Roko Agitation and Bandh etc., the offence under Section 174(a) of the Railways Act - Allahabad High Court

"Even if a peaceful agitation/protest can lead to obstruction of running of any train by squatting or picketing or during any Rail Roko Agitation or bandh, the same would amount to an offence under Section 174(a) of the Railways Act. It is no one’s case that the protest was violent, but the fact remains that the protesters, including the appellants, had stopped the train for 15 minutes by picketing on the railway track and climbed on the engine of the train when it was stopped." 
"In a democratic polity governed by a written Constitution, people have the right to protest against the Government’s policies and perceived atrocities. The right to protest, is also part of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The citizens of this country have rights to demonstration, agitation and staging protests. However, this right is not an absolute right, and it is subject to reasonable restriction," the bench observed.
"The law clarifies that if any Railway servant or any other person obstructs any train by squatting or picketing or during Rail Roko Agitation and Bandh etc., the offence under Section 174(a) of the Railways Act would get attracted."

Monday, September 5, 2022

Muslim Husband Cannot Avoid His Liability To Maintain Unless Divorce Is Validly Pronounced And Properly Communicated : J&K&L High Court

Deciding the matter the bench observed that it is clear that for a Muslim husband to avoid his liability to maintain his wife on the ground that he has divorced his wife, he has not only to show that the divorce is validly pronounced in accordance with Muslim law but he has also to show that the said divorce has been communicated to the wife.
Explaining the said position of law the bench recorded the observations of the supreme court in Shamim Ara v. the State of U.P. and another, (2002)wherein SC observed.

The bench also placed reliance on a Judgement of the J&K High Court in Mohd. Naseem Bhat v. Bilquees Akhter and another wherein Court observed that for a husband to wriggle out of his obligations under marriage including one to maintain his wife, claiming to have divorced her has not merely to prove that he has pronounced Talaak or executed divorce deed to divorce his wife but has to compulsorily plead and prove the following:-

I) that effort was made by the representatives of husband and wife to intervene, and settle disputes and disagreements between the parties and that such effort for reasons not attributable to the husband did not bear any fruit.

II) that he had a valid reason and genuine cause to pronounce divorce on his wife.

III) that Talaak was pronounced in the presence of two witnesses endued with justice.

IV) that Talaak was pronounced during the period

Friday, September 2, 2022

An Ex-Parte Decree Obtained By Suppressing Fact Of Non-Service Of Summons On Defendant Would Be Vitiated By Fraud: Calcutta HC

Read Full Judgment

The Calcutta High Court has held that an ex-parte decree which is obtained by suppression of the fact of non-service on the defendant would be vitiated by fraud.

The Bench of Justice Shekhar B. Saraf set aside an ex-parte decree under Order IX Rule 13 CPC on the ground that the defendant could not be served with a notice of original plaint, the amended plaint, and the writ of summons of the amended plaint as it was not present in the address mentioned in the plaint and the service.

The Court further held that a suit cannot be transferred to the category of 'Undefended Suit' when the defendant was never served with the notice of the suit.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

POCSO Act Not Meant To Breakdown Happy Family Relationship: Meghalaya High Court Quashes Proceedings Against Minor's Partner

The Meghalaya High Court, while quashing a POCSO FIR against a minor's partner, reiterated that rigours of the Act may not be applied to break down a happy family relationship. Such cases must be decided by taking a sympathetic view towards the accused, who is in a consensual relationship with the minor, in the instant case almost 18 years of age.

The accused was booked after the minor was admitted to the hospital in connection with her pregnancy and was found to be aged 17 years.

The matter was reported to the local Police which swung into action and registered a case under Section 5(j)(ii)/6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

The minor submitted that their union was blessed by the family members of both sides and therefore, the continuation of the criminal proceedings would not be for ends of justice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Fraud claim can reconsideration by Same MAC Tribunal

आज मैं मोटर दुर्घटना दावा मामले में कदाचार, धोखाधड़ी, झूठे दस्तावेज जमा करने और गैर-आकस्मिक चोटों में झूठे सबूत बनाने और पुलिस के साथ झूठी शिकायत दर्ज करने के बाद  प्राप्त पुरस्कार- निर्णय पर चर्चा करूंगा।

मोटर दुर्घटना मुआवजे के आवेदन में फर्जीवाड़े, फर्जी दस्तावेज, दुर्घटना मुआवजा दिलाने के लिए झूठी शिकायतें  की जा रही है.

पिछले कुछ वर्षों में फर्जी मोटर दुर्घटना दावों की मात्रा में वृद्धि हुई है। कुछ दावे धोखे से दायर किए जाते हैं और बीमा कंपनी की लापरवाही के कारण, ऐसे फर्जी मामले किसी विशेष जांच से पहले रिपोर्ट नहीं किए जाते हैं। और बीमा कंपनी पर को ऐसे कलेईम में पैसा चुकाना पडता है।

भले ही इस तरह के झूठे मुआवजे के आवेदन, धोखाधड़ी द्वारा प्राप्त पुरस्कार-निर्णय को आमतौर पर उच्च न्यायालय में चुनौती दी जाती है, जिस कंपनी के खिलाफ नामदार उच्च न्यायालय में निर्णय दिया गया होता है उसी आदेश का 30 प्रतिशत या कम ज्यादा रकम  जमा करने का आदेश अपील दायर करते है।और उक्त राशि को ट्रिब्यूनल में जमा किया जाना होता है। जबकि कई मामलों में, धोखाधड़ी के ऐसे मामलों में पूरी राशि की प्रतिपूर्ति बीमा कंपनी द्वारा आवेदक को की जाती है क्योंकि कई में मामलों में, वीमा कंपनी को धोखाधड़ी पुरस्कार के दस्तावेजों के सत्यापन या प्रामाणिकता का भी पता नहीं था।

अब ऐसे मामलों में गुजरात हाईकोर्ट ने अभी अभी जजमेन्ट दीया है जिससे कंपनी को काफी राहत मिलती है.

अब मैं उस फैसले पर चर्चा करूंगा जिसे ट्रिब्यूनल में ही इस तरह के फर्जी फैसले के खिलाफ चुनौती दी जा सकती है।

लेकिन इन सभी मामलों में निर्णय के बाद भी मोटर दुर्घटना दावा न्यायाधिकरण गुजरात उच्च न्यायालय द्वारा इस तरह के एक महत्वपूर्ण फैसले को रिमांड कर सकता है, अब मैं आज इसके बारे में चर्चा करूंगा।

लेकीन अभी ईन सभी कीस्सेमे एवोर्ड होनेके बाद भी मोटर एकसीडन्ट कलेईम ट्रीब्युनल अपना दीया हुवा एवोर्ड फीरसे विचाराधीन करखे रीमान्ड कर शकता है एसा महत्व पूर्ण जजमेन्ट डो गुजरात हाईकोर्टने अभी अबी दीया ईसके बारेमें आजमें चर्चा करुंगा।

यदि दावेदार धोखाधड़ी करता है तो मोटर दुर्घटना दावा न्यायाधिकरण अपने ही आदेश वापस ले सकता है: गुजरात हाईकोर्ट

यदि दावेदार धोखाधड़ी करता है तो मोटर दुर्घटना दावा न्यायाधिकरण अपने ही आदेश वापस ले सकता है: गुजरात हाईकोर्ट

गुजरात हाईकोर्ट ने स्पष्ट किया कि जब मोटर दुर्घटना दावा न्यायाधिकरण ( Motor Accident Claims Tribunal) के समक्ष मामले में दावेदार पक्षकार ट्रिब्यूनल के साथ धोखाधड़ी करता है तो ट्रिब्यूनल को अपना आदेश वापस लेने का अधिकार है, जिसके द्वारा उसने राहत दी थी।

जस्टिस गीता गोपी ने कहा,

"पुनर्विचार आवेदन सीपीसी के आदेश 47(1) के तहत आने से बच जाएगा, क्योंकि यह रिकॉर्ड पर स्पष्ट त्रुटि है। अन्यथा, जैसा कि ड्राइवर और मालिक द्वारा धोखाधड़ी की गई तो ट्रिब्यूनल के पास अपने आदेश को वापस लेने की शक्ति है।"

बीमा कंपनी द्वारा वर्तमान आवेदन दायर किया गया था, जिसमें ट्रिब्यूनल के उस आदेश को चुनौती दी गई थी जिसमें उसकी पुनर्विचार याचिका को खारिज कर दिया गया था। इस याचिका में दावेदार के पक्ष में इस आधार पर अवार्ड वापस लेने की मांग की गई थी कि दावेदार का दुर्घटना की तारीख पर बीमा नहीं किया गया था और उसने जाली बीमा दस्तावेज बनाए थे।

हाईकोर्ट ने कहा कि ट्रिब्यूनल ने पुनर्विचार आवेदन को खारिज कर दिया, क्योंकि बीमा कंपनी ने दावा याचिका में अपना लिखित बयान भी दाखिल नहीं किया। इसके अलावा, विवादित दस्तावेज को मामले में साक्ष्य के रूप में पेश नहीं किया गया, इसलिए पुनर्विचार आवेदन खारिज कर दिया गया।

कोर्ट ने दावा न्यायाधिकरण को साक्ष्य के स्तर से दावा याचिका पर नए सिरे से विचार करने का निर्देश दिया।

अनीता बनाम रामबिलास मामले पर भरोसा करते हुए कहा गया:

"यदि यह साबित हो जाता है कि पक्षकार में से एक ने अदालत में धोखाधड़ी की है तो केवल सीपीसी की धारा 151 के तहत पुनर्विचार याचिका पर सुनवाई की जा सकती है।"

ऑर्डर डाउनलोड करने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें

Monday, August 29, 2022

Transfer Orders Cannot Be Passed In Absence Of Vacancy, Must Show Place Of New Posting: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government to ensure that if transfers are made after the period of general transfers, no request for transfers should be entertained or orders made unless there is a vacant place.

The Bench  observed,

"In the present case, none of the procedures are followed. Despite the observations by the Division Bench of this Court in M.Arun Prasad's case (supra) and also the Government, Circulars referred to above, time and again orders of transfer are being passed without showing places for posting."

"In the present case, as stated earlier, there was no vacant place while considering the representation of respondent No.6 to be transferred and posted in the place of the petitioner. It is also noticed that the case of respondent No.6 is on the basis of the letter of the Member of the Legislative Assembly. Nevertheless, the procedure requires to be followed."

Friday, August 26, 2022

Drawer Liable Even If Details Of Cheque Was Filled Up By Some Other Person; Handwriting Expert's Report Cannot Rebut Presumption U/s 139 NI Act: Supreme Court

Read Judgment

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 - Sections 138,139 - A drawer handing over a cheque signed by him is liable unless it is proved by adducing evidence at the trial that the cheque was not in discharge of a debt or liability. The evidence of a hand-writing expert on whether the accused had filled in the details in the cheque would be immaterial to determining the purpose for which the cheque was handed over. Therefore, no purpose is served by allowing the application for adducing the evidence of the hand-writing expert - The presumption which arises on the signing of the cheque cannot be rebutted merely by the report of a hand-writing expert. Even if the details in the cheque have not been filled up by the drawer but by another person, this is not relevant to the defense whether the cheque was issued towards payment of a debt or in the discharge of a liability. 

The Supreme Court observed that a drawer of a cheque is liable even if the details in the cheque have been filled up not by the drawer, but by some other person.

The presumption which arises on the signing of the cheque cannot be rebutted merely by the report of a hand-writing expert, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna observed.

Referring to Section 139 NI Act, the Apex Court bench noted that a drawer who signs a cheque and hands it over to the payee is presumed to be liable unless the drawer adduces evidence to rebut the presumption that the cheque has been issued towards payment of a debt or in the discharge of a liability.

"For such a determination, the fact that the details in the cheque have been filled up not by the drawer, but by some other person would be immaterial. The presumption which arises on the signing of the cheque cannot be rebutted merely by the report of a hand-writing expert. Even if the details in the cheque have not been filled up by drawer but by another person, this is not relevant to the defense whether cheque was issued towards payment of a debt or in discharge of a liability."

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Touching private parts of child will attract POCSO offence; absence of injury irrelevant: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court recently held that touching private parts with sexual intent would be construed as sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

"The absence of injury mentioned in the medical certificate will not make any difference to her case because the very nature of the offence of sexual assault defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act mentions that even touching a private part with sexual intent is sufficient to attract the provisions of Section 7 read with Section 8 of the POCSO Act." 
The Court ruled that the defence of the appellant that no injury was found on the survivor's body was irrelevant and, therefore, refused to interfere with the trial court's order convicting the appellant.

Judgment copies should be accessible, digitally signed; courts should avoid uploading scanned copies of judgments: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has asked Courts and tribunals to avoid uploading on their websites scanned versions of printed copies of their judgments [State Bank of India and anr vs Ajay Kumar Sood].

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said that judicial institutions should ensure that judgment copies uploaded are accessible and signed using digital signatures.

"Courts and tribunals must also ensure that the version of the judgments and orders uploaded is accessible and signed using digital signatures. They should not be scanned versions of printed copies," the Court said.

The practice of printing and scanning documents is a futile and time-consuming process which does not serve any purpose, the Court added.

"The practice should be eradicated from the litigation process as it tends to make documents as well as the process inaccessible for an entire gamut of citizens.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

High Court Can Grant "Transit Anticipatory Bail" To Person Apprehending Arrest Even In Absence Of FIR: Gujarat HC

Read Order

The Gujarat High Court has made it clear that a person apprehending arrest can seek "transit anticipatory bail" so as to obtain time to approach the competent Court having territorial jurisdiction in the matter, even in the absence of registration of FIR.

A bench of Justice Nikhil S. Kariel observed,

"if for an offence of the like nature which had been committed within the State of Gujarat, this Court being competent to decide the application and being competent to grant anticipatory bail to the said applicants, in the considered opinion of this Court, it would also be competent for this Court to grant transit anticipatory bail in favour of the applicants even where there is no FIR filed against the applicants in a State other then the State of Gujarat and whereas the applicants have only projected reasonable apprehension of their arrest before this Court."

The bench heavily relied on the Bombay High Court's judgment in NK Nayar & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., 1985 CriLJ 1887.

The observation was made while dealing with an application filed by the wife and father-in-law of one Jimit Shanghavi, who had committed suicide at his residence in Maharashtra and had left behind a note mentioning domestic disputes, resulting in depression.

The Applicants stated that while there was no FIR against them, the suicide note probably implicated them and thus, there was a reasonable apprehension of arrest. They sought transit anticipatory bail for a reasonable period of time to approach the Court in Maharashtra.

The APP opposed the application on the ground that transit anticipatory bail may not be granted where FIR was absent since as such there was no reasonable apprehension of their arrest.

Justice Karile, while reiterating that anticipatory bail can be granted without FIR, identified the main issue worth consideration as whether the High Court can grant protection to a person apprehending arrest in a different state in absence of FIR, till the hearing of the case is taken up.

Answering this question in the affirmative, Justice Kariel granted relief for 30 days and cautioned that if the Applicants failed to approach the competent court in Maharashtra, the transit anticipatory bail would automatically be cancelled. 

Provident Fund & Other Pecuniary Benefits Received By Legal Heirs Of Deceased Have No Co-Relation With Motor Accident Claim: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court

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The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court have ruled that Provident Fund, Pension, Insurance, bank balance, shares, fixed deposits, etc., are all pecuniary advantages receivable by heirs on account of one's death but all these have no correlation with the amount receivable as compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, a statute occasioned only on account of accidental death.

"The main reason is that all these amounts are earned by the deceased on account of contractual relations entered into by him with others. It cannot be said that these amounts have accrued to dependents or legal heirs of the deceased on account of his death in a motor vehicle accident. The claimants/ dependents are entitled to just compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act as a result of the death of deceased in a motor vehicle accident."

The bench was hearing an appeal against an award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Kupwara on a Claim petition whereby the tribunal had directed the appellant Insurance Company to pay compensation in the amount of Rs. 32,43,212/- along with 7.5% interest per annum from the date of institution of claim till realization, on the grounds made mention of therein.

The appellants challenged the award inter alia primarily on the ground that the tribunal had failed to consider that deceased was a government employee, working in the Forest Department as a Junior Assistant and posted in Forest Division, Kupwara, which implied that his legal heirs would be entitled to full salary for a period of seven years and, therefore, it was incumbent upon the Tribunal to take into consideration the said fact while assessing the payment of compensation, but this aspect was ignored by the Tribunal while passing impugned Award.

Adjudicating upon the matter Justice Koul observed that the deductions cannot be allowed from the amount of compensation either on account of insurance or on account of pensionary benefits or gratuity or grant of employment to kin of deceased. The bench underscored.

"The claimants/ dependents are entitled to just compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act as a result of death of deceased in a motor vehicle accident. Thus, the natural corollary is that the advantage that accrues to the estate of deceased or to his dependents as a result of some contract or act which deceased performed in his life time cannot be said to be the outcome or result of death of deceased even though these amounts may go into the hands of dependents only after his death", the bench explained.

Deliberating further on the said proposition of law the bench observed that it is now an established principle of service jurisprudence that pension and gratuity are the property of the deceased and they are more in the nature of deferred wages. The deceased employee works throughout his life expecting that on his retirement he will get a substantial amount as pension and gratuity and these amounts are also payable on death, whatever be the cause of death. Therefore, applying the same principles, the said amount cannot be deducted, the court maintained.

In order to buttress the stand taken the bench found it worthwhile to record the observations made by Supreme Court in Helen C. Rebello (Mrs) and others v. Maharashtra State Transport Corporation and another, (1999) wherein SC held that any sorts of funds receivable by heirs on account of one's death have no correlation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned only on account of accidental death. Such an amount will not come within the periphery of the Motor Vehicles Act, to be termed as pecuniary advantage liable for deduction and that family pension is also earned by an employee for benefit of his family in the form of his contribution in the service in terms of the service conditions receivable by heirs after his death and heirs receive family pension even otherwise than accidental death.

Elaborating further the bench examined various SC judgements and reiterated that compassionate appointment in the case of death of an employee in harness, could also not be stated to be an advantage receivable by heirs on account of one's death and had no correlation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned on account of accidental death. Compassionate appointments may have nexus with the death of an employee while in service but it is not necessary that it should have a correlation with accidental death, the bench recorded.

"I have given my thoughtful consideration to the submissions made by learned counsel for respondents/claimants and do not find any merit in the Appeal as the Tribunal has given just compensation in favour of claimants and the same does not warrant any interference," the bench concluded while dismissing the appeal.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Triple Riding on motorcycle: Madras High Court sets aside compensation to deceased rider’s family

The Madras High Court recently set aside an order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) granting compensation to the family of a man who died in a motorcycle accident while riding the motorcycle with two pillion riders [National Insurance Company Limited v S Muthu].

The court also reduces compensation awarded to the kin of pillion riders Taking note of the fact that three persons were on a motorcycle at the time of the accident, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court set aside the compensation amount awarded by a tribunal to the family members of the deceased rider and reduced the amount awarded to the family members of the deceased pillion riders.
Video cameraman Balu alias Balakrishnan was riding a motorcycle with lightman Moorthi alias Sathyamoorthi and still photographer Augustine on the pillion when the vehicle ran over a heap of sand on the road and hit a roadside tree. While Balakrishnan died on the spot, Sathyamoorthi and Augustine died on the way to the hospital. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Tiruchi awarded compensation of ₹3.60 lakh to the family of Sathyamoorthi, ₹4 lakh to the family of Augustine and ₹4.50 lakh to the family of Balakrishnan. The National Insurance Company challenged the order. Justice R. Tharani observed that in the present case the rider of the two-wheeler had allowed two other persons to ride pillion. He hit the heap of sand on the road and then hit the tree. Balakrishnan was the tortfeasor and he had borrowed the vehicle from his brother. The claimants were not entitled to claim any compensation, the judge said and set aside the compensation awarded by the tribunal to the family of Balakrishnan.
The judge also reduced the compensation awarded by the tribunal to the families of Sathyamoorthi and Augustine to ₹1.80 lakh and ₹2 lakh respectively.
The judge permitted the insurance company to get a refund of the amount if it was deposited.
Three persons were travelling on a motorcycle at the time of the accident, which was against the rules. Hence, both the pillion riders contributed 50% to the negligence, the judge said and reduced the compensation amount by 50%.

Consumer forum directs Zomato to provide one free meal, ₹10,000 after On Time or Free order gets cancelled

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) at Chandigarh recently directed food delivery service Zomato to provide a consumer one free meal and compensation of ₹10,000 for deficiency in service on not fulfilling its On Time or Free delivery scheme [Ajay Kumar Sharma v Zomato].

The order was made by President Justice Raj Shekhar Attri and Member Justice Rajesh K Arya who were of the view that such alluring advertisements or campaigns should not be published by Zomato if they cannot fulfil them.

"For deficiency in rendering service and for indulgence into unfair trade practice on the part of the respondents and also for suffering immense physical harassment & mental agony, the respondents are liable to compensate the appellant," it was recorded.

"The feelings of the appellant would have definitely got hurt, when he came to know about the cancellation of the order by the respondents on their own and at that time, how he would have, with heavy heart, told the same to his children who were already waiting for the meal at late night hours."

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Allahabad HC Holds Police Officer Guilty Of Contempt For Violating 'Arnesh Kumar Guidelines', Sentences Him To 14 Day Imprisonment

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The Allahabad High Court last week sentenced a police officer to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days after holding him guilty of contempt for deliberately bypassing the mandate of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. the State of Bihar.

As Per the Arnesh Kumar judgment, the arrest should be the exception where the offence is punishable with less than 7 years imprisonment, and notice for appearance under Section 41A CrPC should be served on the accused in such cases instead of arrest. The arrest can be made in exceptional circumstances in such cases, but the reasons must be recorded in writing.

In the instant case, the contemnor [Chandan Kumar, Incharge of Police Station, Kanth, District Shahjahanpur] though served a notice under Section 41-A Cr.P.C. on the accused, but, he had willfully and deliberately recorded in the GD that the accused declined to accept the terms and condition of the notice.

In fact, he tried to give a communal colour to the matter by stating that since the accused belongs to a Muslim community and therefore, there was an apprehension of communal riots, if he was not arrested.

Contractor Cannot Be Blacklisted For Life; Blacklisting Order Without Specifying Period Unsustainable : Supreme Court

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Award of tender - Contractor cannot be blacklisted for life -One cannot be blacklisted for life. The order of blacklisting to the extent that it has not specified the period cannot be sustained.

The Supreme Court recently observed that a contractor cannot be blacklisted for life.

"One cannot be blacklisted for life. The order of blacklisting to the extent that it has not specified the period cannot be sustained", observed a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath.

Though the contractor approached the Allahabad High Court, no relief was granted. In further appeal, the Supreme Court interfered with the blacklisting order to the extent it did not specify the period.

"Since the order was passed way back in 2013 and the writ petition was dismissed on 05.09.2018, we deem it appropriate to exercise the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to pass an order of blacklisting the appellant for a period of five years from the date the order was passed", the Court observed.