Criminal Contempt by an Advocate by misbehavior with Judicial Officer.

Criminal Contempt:

The High Court found the contemnor along with 2-3 junior advocates entered the chamber of the CJM and misbehaved as well as attempted to assault him.

An advocate is duty bound to act as per the higher status conferred upon him as an officer of the court. He plays a vital role in preservation of society and justice delivery system. Advocate has no business to threaten a Judge or hurl abuses for judicial order which he has passed. In case of complaint of the Judge, it was open to the advocate to approach concerned higher authorities but there is no licence to any member of the Bar to indulge in 5 such undignified conduct to lower down the dignity of the Court. Such attempts deserve to be nipped at the earliest as there is no room to such attack by a member of noble profession.

The role of a lawyer is indispensable in the justice delivery system. He has to follow the professional ethics and also to maintain high standards. He has to assist the court and also defend the interest of his client. He has to give due regard to his opponent and also to his counsel. What may be proper to others in the society, may be improper for him to do as he belongs to an intellectual class of the society and as a member of the noble profession, the expectations from him are accordingly higher. Advocates are held in high esteem in the society. The dignity of court is in fact dignity of the system of which an advocate being officer of the court. The act of the advocate in the present case is not only improper but requires gross condemnation.

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Valuation of imported goods by Customs Officer.

Customs Valuation (Determination of Value of Imported Goods) Rules, 2007: Rule 4 to 9 and 12:

The requirements of Rule 12, therefore, can be summarised as under:

(a) The proper officer should have reasonable doubt as to the transactional value on account of truth or accuracy of the value declared in relation to the imported goods.

(b) Proper officer must ask the importer of such goods further information which may include documents or evidence;

(c) On receiving such information or in the absence of response from the importer, the proper officer has to apply his mind and decide whether or not reasonable doubt as to the truth or accuracy of the value so declared persists.

(d) When the proper officer does not have reasonable doubt, the goods are cleared on the declared value.

(e) When the doubt persists, sub-rule (1) to Rule 3 is not applicable and transaction value is determined in terms of Rules 4 to 9 of the 2007 Rules.

(f) The proper officer can raise doubts as to the truth or accuracy of the declared value on ‘certain reasons’ which could include the grounds specified in clauses (a) to (f) in clause (iii) of the Explanation.

(g) The proper officer, on a request made by the importer, has to furnish and intimate to the importer in writing the grounds for doubting the truth or accuracy of the value declared in relation to the imported goods. Thus, the proper officer has to record reasons in writing which have to be communicated when requested.

(h) The importer has to be given opportunity of hearing before the proper officer finally decides the transactional value in terms of Rules 4 to 9 of the 2007 Rules.

16. Proper officer can therefore reject the declared transactional value based on ‘certain reasons’ to doubt the truth or accuracy of the declared value in which event the proper officer is entitled to make assessment as per Rules 4 to 9 of the 2007 Rules. What is meant by the expression “grounds for doubting the truth or accuracy of the value declared” has been explained and elucidated in clause (iii) of Explanation appended to Rule 12 which sets out some of the conditions when the ‘reason to doubt’ exists. The instances mentioned in clauses (a) to (f) are not exhaustive but are inclusive for there could be other instances when the proper officer could reasonably doubt the accuracy or truth of the value declared.

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Consideration of published but secret documents

Review of judgement in Rafale case:

The fact that the three documents had been published in the Hindu and were thus available in the public domain has not been seriously disputed or contested by the respondents. No question has been raised and, in our considered opinion, very rightly, with regard to the publication of the documents in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. The right of such publication would seem to be in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

No law enacted by Parliament specifically barring or prohibiting the publication of such documents on any of the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution has been brought to our notice.

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Determination of Turnover of Business:

Interpretation of Section 6­B(1) by the Karnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957:

This Court also noticed the economic superiority principle for the purpose of levy of turnover tax while holding that the interpretation of statute would not depend upon contingency. It is trite law which the Court would ordinary take recourse to golden rule of strict interpretation while interpreting taxing statutes. In construing penal statutes and taxation statutes, the Court has to apply strict rule of interpretation.

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Back wages for the period of suspension.

Back wages after set aside of conviction:

This Court in Ranchhodji Chaturji Thakore (supra) considered the case of an employee who sought back wages for the period he was kept out of duty during the pendency of a criminal case for his involvement in an offence under Section 302, IPC. The claim of the Petitioner therein was that he was entitled to full wages on his acquittal by the Criminal Court. This Court rejected the said submission by holding that the question of payment of back wages would arise only in case of termination of service, pursuant to findings recorded in a departmental enquiry. In the event of the dismissal order being set aside by the Court, the delinquent employee would be entitled to claim back wages as he was unlawfully kept away from duty by the employer. This Court was of the opinion that an employee against whom criminal proceedings are initiated would stand on a different footing in comparison to an employee facing a departmental inquiry. The employee involved in a crime has disabled himself from rendering his services on account of his incarceration in jail. Subsequent acquittal by an Appellate Court would not entitle him to claim back wages.

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What is death by accident?

Whether a death due to malaria occasioned by a mosquito bite in Mozambique, constituted a death due to accident?

The word ‘accident’ is defined as (i) as accident, an unforeseen injuries occurrence, something that does not come in the usual course of event or that cannot be reasonably anticipated, (ii) an unforeseen and injurious occurrence due to mistake, negligence, neglect or misconduct; an unanticipated and untoward event that cause(s) harm.

In a policy of insurance which covers death due to accident, the peril insured against is an accident: an untoward happening or occurrence which is unforeseen and unexpected in the normal course of human events. The death of the insured in the present case was caused by encephalitis malaria. The claim under the policy is founded on the hypothesis that there is an element of uncertainty about whether or when a person would be the victim of a mosquito bite which is a carrier of a vector- borne disease.

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Investigation u/s 212 of Companies Act:

Investigation into the affairs of the Company:

There is no denying the fact that, the Competent Authority vide its order dated 20.06.2018 directed the SFIO to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the subject entities, in public interest. There is also no quarrel with the circumstance that, the period specified by the Competent Authority in the said order dated 20.06.2018 lapsed on 19.09.2018. There is also no dispute with regard to the fact that, the SFIO sought an extension of time, from the Competent Authority, to carry out further investigation under the mandate of the provisions of Section 212 of the said Act, only on 13.12.2018, admittedly two and half months after the period granted to them by the Competent Authority for the said purpose, had come to an end by efflux of time.

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Procedure for release of produce seized under Forest Act.

Power of seizure of produce under Forest Act, 1927:

Specific provisions have been made for the seizure and confiscation of forest produce and of tools, boats, vehicles and articles used in the commission of offences. Upon a seizure under Section 52(1), the officer effecting the seizure has to either produce the property before the Authorised Officer or to make a report of the seizure under sub-section (2) of Section 52. Upon being satisfied that a forest offence has been committed, the Authorised Officer is empowered, for reasons to be recorded, to confiscate the forest produce together with the tools, vehicles, boats and articles used in its commission. Before confiscating any property under sub-section (3), the Authorised Officer is required to send an intimation of the initiation of the proceedings for the confiscation of the property to the Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the offence. Where it is intended to immediately launch a criminal proceeding, a report of the seizure is made to the Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the offence.

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Transfer of title of land by ostensible owner:

Effect of Transfer of Property Act, Section 43:

The amount of deposit under Section 134 of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition Act was made on October 28, 1961 and it was on the same day that the sale deed was executed by Matbar Mal. It is clear that Matbar Mal erroneously represented to the vendee that he was authorised to transfer the property and professed to transfer such property for consideration. The very execution of the sale deed on the same day as the deposit of the requisite amount under Section 134 is significant enough to establish that the sale deed was the result of an erroneous representation by Matbar Mal. It is also clear that the present plaintiffs who are the sons of the vendor, Matbar Mal cannot possibly claim to be transferees in good faith which indeed they do not claim to be. Section 43 clearly applies to the situation.

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Improper investigation can not result in conviction

Prosecution for rape and murder:

The case of the prosecution is that the accused had some liquor at the spot from liquor bottles and from a handi. Empty liquor bottles, a handi and some glasses were seized from the scene of crime. There is no DNA or finger prints on the glass and liquor bottles to connect the accused with the crime. In fact, PW20 – IO has admitted that the finger print report did not implicate the accused. At this stage, it is required to be noted that the accused’ DNA samples were collected during the investigation and in fact were sent for DNA analysis, but the prosecution never presented the report to the Court. No pubic hair, DNA, semen or blood of the accused were found on any of the victims. It appears that the samples were collected from the accused and were sent for analysis, but the result did not incriminate the accused.

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