Frivolous Public Interest Litigation must be avoided!

Writ Petition on false facts:

The entire judicial system has been unnecessarily brought into disrepute for no good cause whatsoever. It passes comprehension how it was, that the petitioner presumed, that there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary. There is an averment made in the writ petition that it is against the highest judicial functionaries; that FIR has been recorded. We do not find reflection of any name of the Judge of this Court in the FIR. There is no question of registering any FIR against any sitting Judge of the High Court or of this Court as it is not permissible as per the law laid down by a Constitution Bench of 5 Hon’ble Judges of this Court in the case of K. Veeraswami v. Union of India (1991) 3 SCC 655 wherein this Court observed that in order to ensure the independence of the judiciary the apprehension that the Executive being largest litigant, it is likely to misuse the power to prosecute the Judges. Any complaint against a Judge and investigation by the CBI if given publicity, will have a far reaching effect on the Judge and the litigant public. The need, therefore, is of judicious use of action taken under the Act. There cannot be registration of any FIR against a High Court Judge or Chief Justice of the High Court or the Supreme Court Judge without the consultation of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and, in case there is an allegation against Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, the decision has to be taken by the Hon’ble President, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the said decision. Continue reading “Frivolous Public Interest Litigation must be avoided!”

Restitution is a remedy against unjust enrichment or unjust benefit.

The concept of restitution is a common law principle and it is a remedy against unjust enrichment or unjust benefit. The court cannot be used as a tool by a litigant to perpetuate illegality. A person who is on the right side of the law, should not have a feeling that in case he is dragged in litigation, and wins, he would turn out to be a loser and wrong­doer as a real gainer, after 20 or 30 years.

It is a settled law that when there is stay of proceedings by court, no person can be made to suffer for no fault on his part and a person who has liability but for the interim stay, cannot be permitted to reap the advantages on the basis of interim orders of the court. In Amarjeet Singh v. Devi Ratan, (2010) 1 SCC 417, it was held that no person can suffer from the act of court and unfair advantage gained by a party of interim order must be neutralised. The Court should never permit a litigant to perpetuate illegality by abusing the legal process. It is the bounden duty of the court to ensure that dishonesty and any attempt to abuse the legal process must be effectively curbed and the court must ensure that there is no wrongful, unauthorised or unjust gain for anyone by the abuse of process of the court. No one should be allowed to use the judicial process for earning undeserved gains or unjust profits. The object and true meaning of the concept of restitution cannot be achieved unless the courts adopt a pragmatic approach in dealing with the cases. The Court observed: Continue reading “Restitution is a remedy against unjust enrichment or unjust benefit.”

Consumer Law in India in 2019

Highlights of the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019:

1. District forum is renamed as District Commission

2. The Opposite Party needs to deposit 50% of the amount ordered by District Commission before filing appeal before State Commission, earlier the ceiling was of maximum of Rs. 25,000/-, which has been removed.

3. The limitation period for filing of appeal to State Commission is increased from 30 days to 45 days, while retaining power to condone the delay.

4. State Commission shall have a minimum of 1 President and 4 Members

5. The original pecuniary jurisdiction of District Commission shall be uptil Rs. 1 Crore, State Commission from 1 Cr – 10 Cr. And NCDRC to be more than Rs. 10 crore

6. Now complainant can also institute the complaint within the territorial jurisdiction of the Commission where the complainant resides or personally works for gain besides what was provided earlier Continue reading “Consumer Law in India in 2019”

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;

Continue reading “Transfer of property by ostentatious owner”

Specific Performance of Development Agreement between Builder and Owner

Meaning of “development agreement”:

The expression “development agreement” has not been defined statutorily. In a sense, it is a catch-all nomenclature which is used to be describe a wide range of agreements which an owner of a property may enter into for development of immovable property. As real estate transactions have grown in complexity, the nature of these agreements has become increasingly intricate. Broadly speaking, (without intending to be exhaustive), development agreements may be of various kinds:

(i) An agreement may envisage that the owner of the immovable property engages someone to carry out the work of construction on the property for monetary consideration. This is a pure construction contract;

(ii) An agreement by which the owner or a person holding other rights in an immovable property grants rights to a third party to carry on development for a monetary consideration payable by the developer to the other. In such a situation, the owner or right holder may in effect create an interest in the property in favour of the developer for a monetary consideration;

(iii) An agreement where the owner or a person holding any other rights in an immovable property grants rights to another person to carry out development. In consideration, the developer has to hand over a part of the constructed area to the owner. The developer is entitled to deal with the balance of the constructed area. In some situations, a society or similar other association is formed and the land is conveyed or leased to the society or association;

(iv) A development agreement may be entered into in a situation where the immovable property is occupied by tenants or other right holders. In some cases, the property may be encroached upon. The developer may take on the entire responsibility to settle with the occupants and to thereafter carry out construction; and

(v) An owner may negotiate with a developer to develop a plot of land which is occupied by slum dwellers and which has been declared as a slum. Alternately, there may be old and dilapidated buildings which are occupied by a number of occupants or tenants. The developer may undertake to rehabilitate the occupants or, as the case may be, the slum dwellers and thereafter share the saleable constructed area with the owner. Continue reading “Specific Performance of Development Agreement between Builder and Owner”

Plea of fraud after 16 years delay

Plea of fraud raised at the stage of execution of decree.

The assignment of agreement, which was basis of decree sought to be challenged claiming the signatures on the deed to bea forgery but no explanation offered for delay of 16 years in raising the question.

Kalyani executed an agreement for sale on 27.12.1968 in favour of second plaintiff-Vasudevan Pillai. Second plaintiff assigned the aforesaid agreement on 05.08.1978 in favour of one Rajayyan and the said Rajayyan assigned the agreement in favour of third plaintiff-Selvi on 10.03.1983. As pointed out earlier, all the three plaintiffs filed final decree application in I.A. No.120 of 1985. After the disposal of the matter by the first appellate court and when the second appeal was pending before the High Court, second plaintiff Vasudevan Pillai filed an affidavit on 07.01.2013 before the trial court – District Munsiff Court, Kuzhithurai alleging that a fraud has been played on him and denying the right of third plaintiff-Selvi to pursue the final decree application. Continue reading “Plea of fraud after 16 years delay”

Procedure for disposal of Second Appeal by High Court.

Framing of question of law:

High Court framed 6 questions of law at the time of admission of appeal but delivered no judgement on those questions. However it framed two other questions in the judgement and decided the appeal. Procedure if legal?

First, though it rightly framed six substantial questions of law at the time of admission of the appeal on 30.11.2002 as arising in the case but erred in not answering these questions.

The High Court had the jurisdiction to decide the second appeal only on the six substantial questions of law framed at the time of admitting the appeal. In other words, the jurisdiction of the High Court to decide the second appeal was confined only to six questions framed and not beyond it. Continue reading “Procedure for disposal of Second Appeal by High Court.”

Extinguishment of right, title and interest in property

Effect of Re-grant of Land.

Whatever so-called rights, title and interest which the original holders derived from the orders of re-grant in 1973 in the suit property in their favour, the same stood extinguished by efflux of time.

The reason was that in order to keep such new rights intact and enforceable, the original holders (three PATIL) were under a legal obligation to have filed a suit for claiming a declaration and possession of the suit land and this ought to have been done by them within 12 years from the date of re-grant, i.e., 1973.

They, however, failed to do so within 12 years and when they actually tried to exercise their rights by filing the suit in 2004 (after 31 years from 1973), by then it was too late to exercise such rights in law. By that time, their rights in the suit land stood extinguished. Continue reading “Extinguishment of right, title and interest in property”

Arbitration Clause referring to 1940 Act

Applicability of Arbitration Act, 1996.

What is material for the purposes of the applicability of 1996 Act is the agreement between the parties to refer the disputes to arbitration. If there be such an arbitration agreement which satisfies the requirements of Section 7 of 1996 Act, and if no arbitral proceeding had commenced before 1996 Act came into force, the matter would be completely governed by the provisions of 1996 Act. Any reference to 1940 Act in the arbitration agreement would be of no consequence and the matter would be referred to arbitration only in terms of 1996 Act consistent with the basic intent of the parties as discernible from the arbitration agreement to refer the disputes to arbitration. Continue reading “Arbitration Clause referring to 1940 Act”

Scope of application of principle of res judicata

Resjudicata u/s 11 of CPC:

The law on the subject of Res Judicata may be stated as follows:

(1) The general rule is that all issues that arise directly and substantially in a former suit or proceeding between the same parties are res judicata in a subsequent suit or proceeding between the same parties. These would include issues of fact, mixed questions of fact and law, and issues of law.

(2) To this general proposition of law, there are certain exceptions when it comes to issues of law:

(i) Where an issue of law decided between the same parties in a former suit or proceeding relates to the jurisdiction of the Court, an erroneous decision in the former suit or proceeding is not res judicata in a subsequent suit or proceeding between the same parties, even where the issue raised in the second suit or proceeding is directly and substantially the same as that raised in the former suit or proceeding. This follows from a reading of Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure itself, for the Court which decides the suit has to be a Court competent to try such suit. When read with Explanation (I) to Section 11, it is obvious that both the former as well as the subsequent suit need to be decided in Courts competent to try such suits, for the “former suit” can be a suit instituted after the first suit, but which has been decided prior to the suit which was instituted earlier. An erroneous decision as to the jurisdiction of a Court cannot clothe that Court with jurisdiction where it has none. Obviously, a Civil Court cannot send a person to jail for an offence committed under the Indian Penal Code. If it does so, such a judgment would not bind a Magistrate and/or Sessions Court in a subsequent proceeding between the same parties, where the Magistrate sentences the same person for the same offence under the Penal Code. Equally, a Civil Court cannot decide a suit between a landlord and a tenant arising out of the rights claimed under a Rent Act, where the Rent Act clothes a special Court with jurisdiction to decide such suits. As an example, under Section 28 of the Bombay Rent Act, 1947, the Small Causes Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide proceedings between a landlord and a tenant in respect of rights which arise out of the Bombay Rent Act, and no other Court has jurisdiction to embark upon the same. In this case, even though the Civil Court, in the absence of the statutory bar created by the Rent Act, would have jurisdiction to decide such suits, it is the statutory bar created by the Rent Act that must be given effect to as a matter of public policy. (See, Natraj Studios (P) Ltd. v. Navrang Studios & Anr., (1981) 2 SCR 466 at

482). An erroneous decision clothing the Civil Court with jurisdiction to embark upon a suit filed by a landlord against a tenant, in respect of rights claimed under the Bombay Rent Act, would, therefore, not operate as res judicata in a subsequent suit filed before the Small Causes Court between the same parties in respect of the same matter directly and substantially in issue in the former suit.

(ii) An issue of law which arises between the same parties in a subsequent suit or proceeding is not res judicata if, by an erroneous decision given on a statutory prohibition in the former suit or proceeding, the statutory prohibition is not given effect to. This is despite the fact that the matter in issue between the parties may be the same as that directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit or proceeding. This is for the reason that in such cases, the rights of the parties are not the only matter for consideration (as is the case of an erroneous interpretation of a statute inter parties), as the public policy contained in the statutory prohibition cannot be set at naught. This is for the same reason as that contained in matters which pertain to issues of law that raise jurisdictional questions. We have seen how, in Natraj Studios (supra), it is the public policy of the statutory prohibition contained in Section 28 of the Bombay Rent Act that has to be given effect to. Likewise, the public policy contained in other statutory prohibitions, which need not necessarily go to jurisdiction of a Court, must equally be given effect to, as otherwise special principles of law are fastened upon parties when special considerations relating to public policy mandate that this cannot be done.

(iii) Another exception to this general rule follows from the matter in issue being an issue of law different from that in the previous suit or proceeding. This can happen when the issue of law in the second suit or proceeding is based on different facts from the matter directly and substantially in issue in the first suit or proceeding. Equally, where the law is altered by a competent authority since the earlier decision, the matter in issue in the subsequent suit or proceeding is not the same as in the previous suit or proceeding, because the law to be interpreted is different.

[Source: Canara Bank vs N.G. Subbaraya Setty decided by SC on 20 April, 2018]