Procedure for speedy justice in matters of dishonour of cheques.

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

Compounding the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 on payment of the cheque amount and in the alternative for exemption from personal appearance.
How the proceedings for an offence under Section 138 of the Act can be regulated where the accused is willing to deposit the cheque amount? Whether in such a case, the proceedings can be closed or exemption granted from personal appearance or any other order can be passed?

i) Offence under Section 138 of the Act is primarily a civil wrong. Burden of proof is on accused in view presumption under Section 139 but the standard of such proof is “preponderance of probabilities”. The same has to be normally tried summarily as per provisions of summary trial under the Cr.P.C. but with such variation as may be appropriate to proceedings under Chapter XVII of the Act. Thus read, principle of Section 258 Cr.P.C. will apply and the Court can close the proceedings and discharge the accused on satisfaction that the cheque amount with assessed costs and interest is paid and if there is no reason to proceed with the punitive aspect.

ii) The object of the provision being primarily compensatory, punitive element being mainly with the object of enforcing the compensatory element, compounding at the initial stage has to be encouraged but is not debarred at later stage subject to appropriate compensation as may be found acceptable to the parties or the Court. Continue reading “Procedure for speedy justice in matters of dishonour of cheques.”

Advertisements

Transfer of Matrimonial Dispute at the behest of Wife

Is video conferencing is an alternative to transfer of proceedings?

Power to transfer any proceedings from one court in India to another is vested in the Supreme Court under article 19-A of the Constitution. Similar powers are conferred by Section 25 of Civil Procedure Code. In an earlier case, Supreme Court opined that video conferencing could be a good alternative instead of transfer. It observed:

One cannot ignore the problem faced by a husband if proceedings are transferred on account of genuine difficulties faced by the wife. The husband may find it difficult to contest proceedings at a place which is convenient to the wife. Thus, transfer is not always a solution acceptable to both the parties. It may be appropriate that available technology of videoconferencing is used where both the parties have equal difficulty and there is no place which is convenient to both the parties. We understand that in every district in the country videoconferencing is now available. In any case, wherever such facility is available, it ought to be fully utilised and all the High Courts ought to issue appropriate administrative instructions to regulate the use of videoconferencing for certain category of cases. Matrimonial cases where one of the parties resides outside court’s jurisdiction is one of such categories. Wherever one or both the parties make a request for use of videoconferencing, proceedings may be conducted on videoconferencing, obviating the needs of the party to appear in person. In several cases, this Court has directed recording of evidence by video conferencing.

Continue reading “Transfer of Matrimonial Dispute at the behest of Wife”

Payment of interest in equity in India

Unjust enrichment by withholding the amount can be compensated by award of Interest:

Effect of Interest Act

Interest can be awarded in terms of an agreement or statutory provisions. It can also be awarded by reason of usage or trade having the force of law or on equitable considerations. Interest cannot be awarded by way of damages except in cases where money due is wrongfully withheld and there are equitable grounds therefore, for which a written demand is mandatory.

Clariant International Limited and Another v. Securities and Exchange Board of India, (2004) 8 SCC 524 at 539

When there is no specific provision for grant of interest on any amount due, the court and even tribunals have been held to be entitled to award interest in their discretion, under the provisions of Section 3 of the Interest Act and Section 34 of the Civil Procedure Code. Continue reading “Payment of interest in equity in India”

Impleadment of legal heirs in a suit filed against dead person

Suit against dead person.

Question:
Whether the legal representatives of one of the defendants can be impleaded under Order 1 Rule 10 of the Code where such defendant expired prior to the filing of the suit, particularly when the application filed by the plaintiff to bring the legal representatives of the deceased on record under Order 22 Rule 4 of the Code was dismissed earlier as not maintainable.

Facts:

In the matter on hand, the sale was made in favour of defendant no. 7, and the validity of the sale deed was the subject matter of the suit. The purchaser of the property, i.e. defendant no.7, though dead at the time of filing the suit, was made one of the defendants erroneously. The persons who are now sought to be impleaded under Order 1 Rule 10 of the Code are the legal representatives of the deceased defendant no. 7.

Conclusions: Continue reading “Impleadment of legal heirs in a suit filed against dead person”

Escheat: Forum for adjudication of claim

Escheat: Intestate death resulting in vesting of property in Government.

Collector taking over the property u/s. Section 29 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. No recourse made to Administrator General Act, 1963. No adjudication of facts by a Judicial Forum. Validity of.

Section 29 in The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is as under:

29 Failure of heirs .—If an intestate has left no heir qualified to succeed to his or her property in accordance with the provisions of this Act, such property shall devolve on the government; and the government shall take the property subject to all the obligations and liabilities to which an heir would have been subject.

Section 29, it may be noted, embodies a principle but does not provide a procedural mechanism for adjudication upon disputed questions. The canvas of the controversy before the Court is an abundant indication of matters which were seriously in dispute. The contention of the state that the property would devolve upon it as a result of Mohan Lal being presumed to be dead and having left behind no legal heir is seriously in question. Such a matter could not have been adjudicated upon by the Collector by assuming to himself a jurisdiction which is not conferred upon him by law. Continue reading “Escheat: Forum for adjudication of claim”

Unregistered lease of agricultural land

Bar on unregistered document under Registration Act, 1908

Section 49 of Registration Act, 1908:

Effect of non-registration of documents required to be registered.—No document required by section 17 or by any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882)], to be registered shall—
(a) affect any immovable property comprised therein, or
(b) confer any power to adopt, or
(c) be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power, unless it has been registered: 54 Provided that an unregistered document affecting immovable property and required by this Act or the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882), to be registered may be received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877 (3 of 1877) 55, 56  or as evidence of any collateral transaction not required to be effected by registered instrument.

Continue reading “Unregistered lease of agricultural land”

Appeal to High Court u/s 27-A of Wealth Tax Act

Nature of appeal u/s 27-A of Wealth Tax Act

Section 27-A of the Act, which provides a remedy of appeal to the High Court against the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, is modeled on existing Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as “the Code”). Indeed, as would be clear, the language of Section 27-A of the Act and Section 100 of the Code is identical. Both the Sections are, therefore, in pari materia. It is a case where Section 100 of the Code is bodily lifted from the Code and incorporated in Section 27-A of the Act with minor additions and alterations. Continue reading “Appeal to High Court u/s 27-A of Wealth Tax Act”

Recording of reasons

Necessity to record reasons by Appellate Court

In this regard Order XLI Rule 31 CPC  reads as follows:

“Order XLI. Appeals from Original Decrees

31. Contents, date and signature of judgment.- The judgment of the Appellate Court shall be in writing and shall state—

(a) the points for determination;

(b) the decision thereon;

(c) the reasons for the decision; and

(d) where the decree appealed from is reversed or varied, the relief to which the appellant is entitled, and shall at the time that it is pronounced be signed and dated by the Judge or by the Judges concurring therein.”

On a perusal of the said Rule, it is quite clear that the judgment of the appellate court has to state the reasons for the decision. It is necessary to make it clear that the approach of the first appellate court while affirming the judgment of the trial Court and reversing the same is founded on different parameters as per the judgments of this Court.

Application of mind Continue reading “Recording of reasons”

Justice to witnesses

Witnesses appearing in courts also need justice

Now when we speak of the ends of justice, we mean justice not only to the defendant and to the other side but also to witnesses and others who may be inconvenienced.

It is an unfortunate fact that the convenience of the witness is ordinarily lost sight of in this class of case and yet be is the one that deserves the greatest consideration. As a rule, he is not particularly interested in the dispute but he is vitally interested in his own affairs which he is compelled to abandon because a Court orders him to come to the assistance of one or other of the parties to a dispute. His own business has to suffer. He may have to leave his family and his affairs for days on end. He is usually out of pocket. Often he is a poor man living in an out of the way village and may have to trudge many weary miles on foot. And when he gets there, there are no arrangements for him. He is not given accommodation; and when he reaches the Court, in most places there is no room in which he can wait. He has to loiter about in the verandahs or under the trees, shivering in the cold of winter and exposed to the heat of summer , wet and miserable in the rains: and then, after wasting hours and sometimes days for his turn, he is brusquely told that he must go back and come again another day. Continue reading “Justice to witnesses”