Scope of section 23-C of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957

Validity of Rule 44-BB framed under Section 15 read with Section 23-C of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 by Gujarat Government.

By way of Rule 44-BB, movement of sand beyond the border of the State of Gujarat was prohibited. Rule 44-BB reads as under:

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Expeditious Trial of Commercial Suits

Object of Commercial Courts:

Though the Legislature, by enacting the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, intended expeditious disposal of suits which qualify as a commercial suits thereunder, but it is found that in most of the commercial suits, applications as this, for delayed filing of documents or for condonation of delay in taking requisite steps in such suits, are being filed and which were envisaged by the Commercial Courts Act when fixing the timelines for disposal of such cases, to be an exception rather than norm.

Duty of all stakeholders:

The effort to expedite, endeavoured by the Commercial Courts Act, cannot be only by the Courts, as appears to be understood, but must be by all the stakeholders i.e. litigants as well as the counsels. They are required to pay extra attention to,

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Limitation period to approach National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal:

The Green Tribunal has been established under a constitutional mandate provided in Schedule VII List I Entry 13 of the Constitution of India, to implement the decision taken at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The Tribunal is a specialized judicial body for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment. The right to healthy environment has been construed as a part of the right to life under Article 21 by way of judicial pronouncements. Therefore, the Tribunal has special jurisdiction for enforcement of environmental rights.

Scope of appeal to Supreme Court:

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Review by court after dismissal of SLP in Supreme Court

Doctrine of Merger:

(i) Where an appeal or revision is provided against an order passed by a court, tribunal or any other authority before superior forum and such superior forum modifies, reverses or affirms the decision put in issue before it, the decision by the subordinate forum merges in the decision by the superior forum and it is the latter which subsists, remains operative and is capable of enforcement in the eye of law.

(ii) The jurisdiction conferred by Article 136 of the Constitution is divisible into two stages. The first stage is upto the disposal of prayer for special leave to file an appeal. The second stage commences if and when the leave to appeal is granted and the special leave petition is converted into an appeal.

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Right to Information

Much before the enactment of RTI Act, which came on the statute book in the year 2005, Supreme Court repeatedly emphasised the people’s right to information to be a facet of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. It has been held that the right to information is a fundamental right and flows from Article 19(1)(a), which guarantees right to speech. This right has also been traced to Article 21 which concerns about right to life and liberty. There are umpteen number of judgments declaring that transparency is the key for functioning of a healthy democracy.

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Transfer of property by ostentatious owner

Right of Purchaser of property.

Sale without title.:

Facts of the case:

i) that the original plaintiff purchased the suit land by a registered sale deed dated 06.01.1990, executed by late Pranab Kumar Bora on payment of full sale consideration;

ii) that as on 06.01.1990, the suit land was ceiling surplus land and the government was the owner;

iii) that the land in question became ceiling free land on 14.09.1990;

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What is the meaning of “experience as company secretary”?

Facts:

Appellant was working as Assistant Company Secretary for the period between June 2008 to May 2010 in Utkal Investments Limited and that she was working as Management Trainee in the Delhi Stock Exchange Association Limited for the period between April 2005 to June 2006, and as the Management Trainee in ONGC for the period between May 2003 to June 2004.

It was held that: Her appointment as Management Trainee cannot be equated and/or considered as appointment ‘as’ a Company Secretary.

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Liability of registered owner of the vehicle

Liability after Sale of Vehicle:

It is true that in terms of Section 50 of the Act, the transfer of a vehicle ought to be registered within 30 days of the sale. Section 50(1) of the Act obliges the transferor to report the fact of transfer within 14 days of the transfer. In case the vehicle is sold outside State, the period within which the transfer ought to be reported gets extended. On the other hand, the transferee is also obliged to report the transfer to the registering authority within whose jurisdiction the transferee has the residence or place of business where the vehicle is normally kept. Section 50 thus prescribes timelines within which the transferor and the transferee are required to report the factum of transfer. As per Sub-Section 3 of said Section 50, if there be failure to report the fact of transfer, fine could be imposed and an action under Section 177 could thereafter be taken if there is failure to pay the amount of fine. These timelines and obligations are only to facilitate the reporting of the transfer. It is not as if that if an accident occurs within the period prescribed for reporting said transfer, the transferor is absolved of the liability.

Even though in law there would be a transfer of ownership of the vehicle, that, by itself, would not absolve the party, in whose name the vehicle stands in RTO records, from liability to a third person … … … Merely because the vehicle was transferred does not mean that such registered owner stands absolved of his liability to a third person. So long as his name continues in RTO records, he remains liable to a third person.

[Source: Prakash Chand Daga vs. Saveta Sharma, decided by SC on Dec. 14, 2018]

Powers of National Company Law Tribunal

Effect of Rule 5

The real reason for omission of Rule 5(2) in the substituted Rule 5 is because it is necessary to state, only once, on the repeal of the SIC Act, that proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act shall continue to be dealt with by the High Court. It was unnecessary to continue Rule 5(2) even after 29.06.2017 as on 15.12.2016, all pending cases under Section 20 of the SIC Act were to continue to be dealt with by the High Court before which such cases were pending. Since there could be no opinion by the BIFR under Section 20 of the SIC Act after 01.12.2016, when the SIC Act was repealed, it was unnecessary to continue Rule 5(2) as, on 15.12.2016, all pending proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act were to continue with the High Court and would continue even thereafter. This is further made clear by the amendment to Section 434(1)(c), with effect from 17.08.2018, where any party to a winding up proceeding pending before a Court immediately before this date may file an application for transfer of such proceedings, and the Court, at that stage, may, by order, transfer such proceedings to the NCLT. The proceedings so transferred would then be dealt with by the NCLT as an application for initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code. It is thus clear that under the scheme of Section 434 (as amended) and Rule 5 of the 2016 Transfer Rules, all proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act pending before the High Court are to continue as such until a party files an application before the High Court for transfer of such proceedings post 17.08.2018. Once this is done, the High Court must transfer such proceedings to the NCLT which will then deal with such proceedings as an application for initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code.

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Judicial Review of Defence Procurement Agreement

The Rafale Aircraft Controversy

(Perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry)

Scope of Judicial Review:

It is our considered opinion/view that the extent of permissible judicial review in matters of contracts, procurement,
etc. would vary with the subject matter of the contract and there cannot be any uniform standard or depth of judicial review which could be understood as an across the board principle to apply to all cases of award of work or procurement of goods/material. The scrutiny of the challenges before us, therefore, will have to be made keeping in mind the confines of national security, the subject of the procurement being crucial to the nation’s sovereignty.

Decision Making Process

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