Election Law: Withdrawal of Nomination.

Proper procedure or withdrawal of a contesting candidate.

Relevant law is section 37 of Representation of Peoples Act, which is as under:

37. Withdrawal of candidature.—
(1) Any candidate may withdraw his candidature by a notice in writing which shall contain such particulars as may be prescribed and shall be subscribed by him and delivered before three O’clock in the afternoon on the day fixed under clause (c) of section 30 to the returning officer either by such candidate in person or by his proposer,  or election agent who has been authorised in this behalf in writing by such candidate.
(2) No person who has given a notice of withdrawal of his candidature under sub-section (1) shall be allowed to cancel the notice. 3[(3) The returning officer shall, on being satisfied as to the genuineness of a notice or withdrawal and the identity of the person delivering it under sub-section (1), cause the notice to be affixed in some conspicuous place in his office.

Election result in case of fraudulent withdrawal:

When there are only two contesting candidates, and one of them is under a statutory disqualification, votes cast in favour of the disqualified candidate may be regarded as thrown away, irrespective of whether the voters who voted for him were aware of the disqualification. This is not to say that where there are more than two candidates in the field for a single seat, and one alone is disqualified, on proof of disqualification all the votes cast in his favour will be discarded and the candidate securing the next highest number of votes will be declared elected. In such a case, question of notice to the voters may assume significance, for the voters may not, if aware of the disqualification have voted for the disqualified candidate. Continue reading

Doctrine of lis pendens in India

Definition of lis pendens:

Lis pendens literally means a pending suit, and the doctrine of lis pendens has been defined as the jurisdiction, power, or control which a court acquires over property involved in a suit pending the continuance of the action, and until final judgment therein”. It was observed there “Expositions of the doctrine indicate that the need for it arises from the very nature of the jurisdiction of Courts and their control over the subject-matter of litigation so that par- ties litigating before it may not remove any part of the subject matter outside the power of the Court to deal with it and thus make the proceedings infructuous.

Doctrine of lis pendens is statutorily incorporated in Section 52 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882 of India, which is as under: Continue reading

Legislative intent is presumed to be reasonable.

Principles of Interpretation

Presumption is that legislature acts by reason and justice.

It is proper to assume that the lawmakers who are the representatives of the people enact laws which the society considers as honest, fair and equitable. The object of every legislation is to advance public welfare. In other words as observed by Crawford in his book on Statutory Constructions the entire legislative process is influenced by considerations of justice and reason. Justice and reason constitute the great general legislative intent in every piece of legislation. Consequently where the suggested construction operates harshly, ridiculously or in any other manner contrary to prevailing conceptions of justice and reason, in most instances, it would seem that the apparent or suggested meaning of the statute, was not the one intended by the law-makers. In the absence of some other indication that the harsh or ridiculous effect was actually intended by the legislature, there is little reason to believe that it represents the legislative intent.

“We are unable to persuade ourselves to believe that the legislature intended to ignore the rights of persons having legal title to possession and wanted to make a gift of any building to a trespasser howsoever recent the trespass might have been if only he happened to be in physical possession of the building on the date of vesting. We are also unable to discern any legislative policy in support of that construction.”

Bhudan Singh vs Nabi Bux, AIR 1970 SC 1880, (1969) 2 SCC 481, 1970 2 SCR 10

Examination of a witness at any stage u/s 311 of Cr.P.C.

Power to summon material witness, or examine person present:

Section 311 of Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 is as under:

Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witness, or. recall and re-examine any person already examined; and the Court shall summon and examine or recall and re-examine any such person if his evidence appears to it to be essential to the just decision of the case.

Exercise of power to recall any or to summon any person:

In Jamatraj Kewalji Govani Vs The State Of Maharashtra Air 1968 Sc 178: 1968 Cri LJ 231 was a case arising out of Section 540 of old Cr. P. C. and in respect of prosecution under Section 135 of Customs Act. A custom inspector searched the shop of accused and seized certain watches from the accused which were alleged to be smuggled. Continue reading

Appeal against acquittal under Negotiable Instruments Act.

Dismissal of complaint of dishonour of cheque.

What is the remedy for complainant in case of dismissal of complaint filed under section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act?

To file an appeal under section 372 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or to seek leave to appeal under section 378 of Cr.P.C.?
If the victim also happens to be the complainant and the appeal is against acquittal, he is required to take leave as provided in Section 378 of the Criminal Procedure Code but if he is not the complainant, he is not required to apply for or obtain any leave. For the appeal against inadequacy of compensation or punishment on a lesser offence, no leave is necessary at the instance of avictim, whether he is the complainantor not.
[Source: Bhavuben Dineshbhai Makwana vs. State of Gujarat, 2013Crl.L.J. 4225 (Guj)(FB)]
The complainant in a case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act cannot challenge the order of acquittal before the Sessions Court under the proviso to Section 372 of the Cr.P.C. and his remedy is only to file an appeal to the High Court with special leave under Section 378 (4) Cr.P.C.
(Source: Shibu Joseph vs. Tomy K.J, ILR 2013 (4) Ker.866)
Thus the remedy available to the complainants under Section 138 N.I. Act against order of acquittal is only to seek special leave before filing an appeal under Section 378 (4) Cr.P.C. before the High Court. In the instant case, the appellant has not sought any such leave. Consequentially the appeals filed by the appellant are dismissed as not maintainable.


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

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.

Delay in seeking reference to arbitration

Application to court seeking reference to arbitration:

Section 8 of THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT, 1996 is as under:

Power to refer parties to arbitration where there is an arbitration agreement.—
(1) A judicial authority before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party so applies not later than when submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, refer the parties to arbitration.
(2) The application referred to in sub-section (1) shall not be entertained unless it is accompanied by the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof.
(3) Notwithstanding that an application has been made under sub-section (1) and that the issue is pending before the judicial authority, an arbitration may be commenced or continued and an arbitral award made.

Effect of delay, laches & waiver:

Though section 8 does not prescribe any time limit for filing an application under that section, and only states that the application under section 8 of the Act should be filed before submission of the first statement on the substance of the dispute. Continue reading

Arrest and bail for harassment for dowry

Bail in offence of demand for dowry and harassment of wife for dowry:

Statistics of arrests u/s 498-A of IPC:

The institution of marriage is greatly revered in this country. Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives. The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers and grand-mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested. “Crime in India 2012 Statistics” published by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs shows arrest of 1,97,762 persons all over India during the year 2012 for offence under Section 498-A of the IPC, 9.4% more than the year 2011. Nearly a quarter of those arrested under this provision in 2012 were women i.e. 47,951 which depicts that mothers and sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their arrest net. Its share is 6% out of the total persons arrested under the crimes committed under Indian Penal Code. It accounts for 4.5% of total crimes committed under different sections of penal code, more than any other crimes excepting theft and hurt. The rate of charge-sheeting in cases under Section 498A, IPC is as high as 93.6%, while the conviction rate is only 15%, which is lowest across all heads. As many as 3,72,706 cases are pending trial of which on current estimate, nearly 3,17,000 are likely to result in acquittal.

Misuse of arrest & its consequences:

Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and cast scars forever. Law makers know it so also the police. There is a battle between the law makers and the police and it seems that police has not learned its lesson; the lesson implicit and embodied in the Cr.PC. It has not come out of its colonial image despite six decades of independence, it is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not considered a friend of public. Continue reading