Effect of exhibition of document in evidence

Document exhibited as proved.

Section 36 of the Stamp Act is in these terms:-
“Where an instrument has been admitted in evidence, such admission shall not, except as provided in section 61, be called in question at any stage of the same suit or proceeding on the ground that the instrument has not been duly stamped.”

That section is categorical in its terms that when a document has once been admitted in evidence, such admission cannot be called in question at any stage of the suit or the proceeding on the ground that the instrument had not been duly stamped. The only exception recognised by the section is the class of cases contemplated by s. 61, which is not material to the present controversy. Section 36 does not admit of other exceptions. Where a question as to the admissibility of a document is raised on the ground that it has not been stamped, or has not been properly stamped, it has to be decided then and there when the document is tendered in evidence. Once the Court, rightly or wrongly, decides to admit the document in evidence, so far as the parties are concerned, the matter is closed.

Continue reading “Effect of exhibition of document in evidence”

Locus Standi of Consignee to sue

Locus standi of Consignee to sue.

Suit by consignor for damages from Railways —  A consignee is not necessarily the owner of the goods and merely because consignee is different, the title of goods cannot be presumed to have been passed to the consignee.

Ordinarily, it is the consignor who can sue if there is damage to the consignment, for the contract of carriage is between the consignor and the railway administration. Where the property in the goods carried has passed from the consignor to some-one-else, that other person may be able to sue.

It is true that a railway receipt is a document of title to goods covered by it, but from that alone it does not follow, where the consignor and consignee are different, that the consignee is necessarily the owner of goods and the consignor in such circumstances can never be the owner of the goods. The mere fact that the consignee is different from the consignor does not necessarily pass the title to the goods from the consignor to the consignee, and the question whether title to goods has passed to the consignee will have to be decided on other evidence. It is quite possible for the consignor to retain title in the goods himself while the consignment is booked in the name of another person.

It was contended that as an endorse to a document of title he was in any case entitled to maintain the suit. The trial court found on the evidence that it had been proved satisfactorily that Ishwara Nand was the owner of the goods. It also held that as an endorse of a document of title he was entitled to sue. These findings of the trial court on the evidence were accepted by the High Court in these words :-

“It was not contended before us that the finding arrived at by the learned court below that the plaintiff had the right to sue was wrong, nor could, in view of the overwhelming evidence, such an issue be raised. The evidence on the point has already been carefully analysed by the court below. We accept the finding and confirm it. It was also pointed out that Ishwara Nand was the endorsed consignee and in that capacity he had in any case a right to bring the suit. The correctness of this statement was not challenged before us.”

Thus there are concurrent findings of the two courts below that Ishwara Nand was the owner of the goods and that was why the railway receipt was endorsed in his favour. In these circumstances he is certainly entitled to maintain the suit. The contention that the plaintiffs in the two suits could not maintain them. must therefore be rejected.

[Source: Union of India v.  West Punjab Factories, Ltd., AIR 1966 SC 395: 1966(2) Audh LT 269: 1966(1) SCR 580]

Sovereign Immunity in Commercial Matters?

Scope of Sovereign Immunity:

Business or commercial activities carried out by one Country in the territory of another country ordinarily not entitled to plead sovereign immunity.

Principle of sovereign Immunity

There is no agreed principle except this: that each State ought to have proper respect for the dignity and independence of other States. Beyond that principle there is no common ground. It is left to each State to apply the principle in its own way, and each has applied it differently. Some have adopted a rule of absolute immunity which, if carried to its logical extreme, is in danger of becoming an instrument of injustice. Others have adopted a rule of immunity for public acts but not for private acts, which has turned out to be a most elusive test. All admit exceptions. There is no uniform practice. There is no uniform rule. So there is no help there.
Continue reading “Sovereign Immunity in Commercial Matters?”

What is cause of action?

A plaint before it can be entertained and registered as suit, it must plead cause of action.

What is cause of action?

While scrutinizing the plaint averments, it is the bounden duty of the trial Court to ascertain the materials for cause of action. The cause of action is a bundle of facts which taken with the law applicable to them gives the plaintiff the right to relief against the defendant. Every fact which is necessary for the plaintiff to prove to enable him to get a decree should be set out in clear terms. It is worthwhile to find out the meaning of the words “cause of action”. A cause of action must include some act done by the defendant since in the absence of such an act no cause of action can possibly accrue.

In A.B.C. Laminart Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. vs. A.P. Agencies, Salem (1989) 2 SCC 163, Supreme Court explained the meaning of “cause of action” as follows: Continue reading “What is cause of action?”

Law of Limitation in India

Understanding Limitation Act, 1963

Every remedy has a period of limitation within which it can be invoked. The right to seek relief is extinguished after the period of limitation. In India the statute of limitation is called as Limitation Act which was enacted in the year 1963.

Though Act of 1963 is not the exclusive as remedies provided before various Tribunals under different statutes are governed by limitation under that statute yet the principles laid down in the cases decided in respect of Limitation Act would apply to those statutes as well.

This book covers the Limitation Act, 1963 and also the selected leading judgments of Supreme Court of India and Various High Courts of India. Wherever possible live links to judgments are provided.

The ebook is easily comprehensible by lawyers and laymen alike. Do use the feature of search to land at what you are looking for.

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Application of Limitation Act on Execution Proceedings

Objection application to Execution:

Execution proceedings are governed by Order 21 of

Civil Procedure Code 1908

Condonation of delay in seeking to set aside ex parte order:

Section 5 of the present Limitation Act, 1963, states that any appeal or any application under any of the provisions of Order 21, Civil Procedure Code, 1908, may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the appellant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period. The Explanation is omitted as unnecessary. Therefore, with reference to applications under Order 21, Civil Procedure Code, there is the statutory bar in applying section 5 of the Limitation Act.

Continue reading “Application of Limitation Act on Execution Proceedings”

Pleading by an agent

Without pleadings, a party can not claim to be a mere agent of somebody.

Civil Procedure Code, 1908, Order 8 Rule 2.

Appellant cannot be permitted to say that though all the rights vested in it but it merely remained the agent of the Central Government. Acceptance of such a submission would require interpreting the expression `vesting’ as holding on behalf of some other person. Such a meaning cannot be given to the expression `vesting’.

It is a settled legal proposition that an agent cannot be sued where the principal is known. In the instant case, the appellant has not taken plea before either of the courts below. In view of the provisions of Order VIII Rule 2 CPC, the appellant was under an obligation to take a specific plea to show that the suit was not maintainable which it failed to do so. The vague plea to the extent that the suit was bad for non-joinder and, thus, was not maintainable, did not meet the requirement of law. The appellant ought to have taken a plea in the written statement that it was merely an `agent’ of the Central Government, thus the suit against it was not maintainable. More so, whether A is an agent of B is a question of fact and has to be properly pleaded and proved by adducing evidence.

[Source: National Textile Corp.Ltd vs Nareshkumar Badrikumar Jagad, decided by Sup Ct. on 5 September, 2011]

Obligation of lessee to hand over possession

Duty of lessee to hand over possession:

Transfer of Property Act, 1882; Section 108(q):

“on the determination of the lease, the lessee is bound to put the lessor into possession of the property”

Law in general prescribes and insists upon a specified conduct in human relationship or even otherwise. Within the limits of the law, courts strive to take note of the moral fabric of the law. In the instant case, under the terms of the lease, the property had to be handed over to the lessor. Besides under Section 108(q) of the Transfer of Property Act, on the determination of the lease, the lessee is bound to put the lessor into possession of the property. Since the landlord has not assented to the lessee’s continuance in possession of the property, the lessee will be liable to mesne profits which can again be recovered only in term of his wrongful possession. Continue reading “Obligation of lessee to hand over possession”

Transfer of matrimonial proceedings: Use video conferencing instead.

Forum Non Conveniens.

The doctrine of forum non conveniens can be applied in matrimonial proceedings for advancing interest of justice. Under the said doctrine, the court exercises its inherent jurisdiction to stay proceedings at a forum which is considered not to be convenient and there is any other forum which is considered to be more convenient for the interest of all the parties at the ends of justice.

In Spiliada Maritime (1986)3 All ER 843 case the House of Lords laid down the following principle:

“The fundamental principle applicable to both the stay of English proceedings on the ground that some other forum was the appropriate forum and also the grant of leave to serve proceedings out of the jurisdiction was that the court would choose that forum in which the case could be tried more suitably for the interest of all the parties and for the ends of justice.”

The criteria to determine which was a more appropriate forum, for the purpose of ordering stay of the suit, the court would look for that forum with which the action had the most real and substantial connection in terms of convenience or expense, availability of witnesses, the law governing the relevant transaction and the places where the parties resided or carried on business. If the court concluded that there was no other available forum which was more appropriate than the English court, it would normally refuse a stay. If, however, the court concluded that there was another forum which was prima facie more appropriate, the court would normally grant a stay unless there were circumstances militating against a stay. It was noted that as the dispute concerning the contract in which the proper law was English law, it meant that England was the appropriate forum in which the case could be more suitably tried. Continue reading “Transfer of matrimonial proceedings: Use video conferencing instead.”

Difference between dead claim and time barred claims

Time barred claims are claimed barred by statute of limitation.

The Chief Justice or his Designate may however choose to decide whether the claim is a dead (long-barred) claim or whether the parties have, by recording satisfaction, exhausted all rights, obligations and remedies under the contract, so that neither the contract nor the arbitration agreement survived. When it is said that the Chief Justice or his Designate may choose to decide whether the claim is a dead claim, it is implied that he will do so only when the claim is evidently and patently a long time barred claim and there is no need for any detailed consideration of evidence.

An illustration of dead claim

If the contractor makes a claim a decade or so after completion of the work without referring to any acknowledgement of a liability or other factors that kept the claim alive in law, and the claim is patently long time barred, the Chief Justice or his Designate will examine whether the claim is a dead claim (that is, a long time barred claim).

On the other hand, if the contractor makes a claim for payment, beyond three years of completing of the work but say within five years of completion of work, and alleges that the final bill was drawn up and payments were made within three years before the claim, the court will not enter into a disputed question whether the claim was barred by limitation or not. The court will leave the matter to the decision of the Tribunal.

If the distinction between apparent and obvious dead claims, and claims involving disputed issues of limitation is not kept in view, the Chief Justice or his designate will end up deciding the question of limitation in all applications under section 11 of the (Arbitration and Conciliation) Act.

[Source: Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. v. M/s SPS Engineering Ltd.,2011 (2) SCALE 291 ]

Thus the claims which are  apparently barred by limitation and  are not in the realm of dispute which needs to be proved or disproved by evidence are dead claims.