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Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation – Not a right but can be used if its denial gives rise to violation under Article 14: Supreme Court

The doctrine of legitimate expectation cannot be claimed as a right in itself, but can be used only when the denial of a legitimate expectation leads to the violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. This judgment was pronounced by the division bench comprising hon’ble Justice Dhananjay Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra at Supreme Court in the matter of The State of Jharkhand and others v. Brahmputra Metallics Ltd., [CA No. 3860-3862/2020]. The doctrine of legitimate expectation in public law is premised on the principles of fairness and non-arbitrariness surrounding the conduct of public authorities.  

The respondents in the present appeal challenged the judgment of hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Jharkhand and alleged that they are qualified to claim a rebate or derivation of 50% of the sum evaluated towards electricity obligation for FYs 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. The respondent claims its qualification based on the Industrial Policy 2012 (informed by the litigant on 16 June 2012) and a statutory notification dated 8 January 2015 gave under Section 9 of the Bihar Electricity Duty Act 1948 which was adopted for the State of Jharkhand under the provision of Bihar Reorganization Act of 2000 with effect from 15 November 2000. The respondents relied upon the doctrine of promissory estoppel.  

The division bench of High Court of Judicature at Jharkhand allowed the petition instituted by the respondents under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution and held that there was no specific reason for the delay and that “but for the lethargic approach of the state authorities” the exemption should have been issued within a month of the issuance of the Industrial Policy 2012. The effect of the belated notification was to deny industrial units of the benefit of the promise held out by the State government. The Jharkhand HC observed that it was not the case of the State government that it did not intend to give the benefit to these industrial units since, as a matter of fact, it had issued a notification, though belatedly, on 8 January 2015. Since the unit of the respondent commenced commercial production on 17 August 2011, whereas the Industrial Policy is of 2012, the doctrine of promissory estoppel cannot be extended “backwards in favor of the respondent. The court also explained the case by relying on the doctrine of promissory estoppel, doctrine of consideration and doctrine of legitimate expectations. This Court has given an expansive interpretation to the doctrine of promissory estoppel in order to remedy the injustice being done to a party who has relied on a promise.

The division bench of Supreme Court while upholding the judgment of High Court of Judicature at Jharkhand stated that the respondent would not be entitled to a rebate/deduction for FY 2011-12. In terms of Clause 35.7(b) of the Industrial Policy 2012, the entitlement ensues from the financial year following the commencement of production. The respondent commenced production on 17 August 2011. Hence, the order of the High Court would have to be confirmed for FYs 2012-13 and 2013-14. In conclusion, we are in agreement with the conclusion of the High Court that the respondent was entitled to an exemption from electricity duty, although for the reasons indicated in this judgment. Further, the relief granted would stand confined to FYs 2012-13 and 2013-14.  We shall therefore attempt to provide a cogent basis for the doctrine of legitimate expectation, which is not merely grounded on analogy with the doctrine of promissory estoppel. The need for this doctrine to have an independent existence was articulated by Justice Frankfurter of the US Supreme Court relied upon the judgment of Vitarelli v. Seton. Therefore, the appeals shall stand disposed of in the above terms. There shall be no order as to costs.

 

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car excident

Karnataka High Court rules that Motor Accident Claims Tribunal shall consider the victims injuries and loss of future aspects and award adequate compensation.

In cases where there are motor accidents involved and person suffers injuries due to the fault of the other person, the victim should be awarded adequate compensation considering his injuries and future grievances/loss. In case of no proof of income the guidelines and compensation fixed by the State’s Legal Authority should be granted. The Karnataka High Court held this in the case of Hussain Basha v. Panduranga & Ors., MFA. No. 102566 of 2018 (MV).

The facts of the case are the Petitioner sustained grievous injuries in a Motor Vehicle Accident in April 2016 near Ballari district due to rash and negligent driving by the driver of a tractor. As a result of the accident the Petitioner suffered serious injuries and his right was amputated up to the shoulder level. The Petitioner filed a claim for compensation of Rs. 76,50,000/- in the Tribunal. The tribunal considered the arguments and evidence and as there was no proof of income of the petitioner the tribunal considered his income to be of Rs. 7500/- per month and awarded a compensation of Rs. 16,64,500/- along with interest of 7% from date of petition till its realization. The Petitioner was aggrieved by the award and filed a Petition in the High Court seeking enhancement of compensation.

The High Court considered the contention of the Petitioner that before the accident he was a mechanic and earned an income of Rs. 15,000/- per month. The High Court also took notice of the fact that there was a disability of 90 % due to the accident. The High Court stated that the Tribunal erred in granting compensation to the Petitioner, if there is no proof of income the Tribunal should grant commission as per the amount fixed by the State’s Legal Authority. In this case the amount fixed by the Legal Authority was Rs. 8500/-. The court further relied on the case of Pappu Deo Yadav v. Naresh Kumar & Ors. (AIR 2020 SC 4424), in which a division bench stated that “a victim who suffers a permanent or temporary disability in an accident is entitled to compensation that covers aspects like pain, suffering and trauma, loss of income, including future earning, medical expenses and loss of expectations of life.” Considering the above stated case laws the court was of the opinion that a victim of motor accidents based on his injuries can be granted compensation for future losses. The Karnataka High Court in this case enhanced the sum that was decided by the Tribunal and awarded the Petitioner a sum of Rs. 24,11,600/- (Rs. 94,500/-, which is 90% of his annual income x 17 multiplier + 40% towards loss of future prospects + loss of pleasures of life and longevity and loss of beauty).

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Change of Educational stream stands rejected- Karnataka HC

In present India, academic, education, career, and profession had always a dominant factor in the minds of young scholars and academicians. Students often stay bewildered regarding their educational course or subject even after choosing one. Therefore the Karnataka High Court in the case of Mr.Arnav Singh v. Organizing Chairman Jee (Advanced), 2019 & Ors.(WRIT PETITION NO. 9543\2020 ‘EDN-RES), the Hon’ble Court held that “ this writ petition being devoid of merits is liable to be rejected and accordingly it is. However, this rejection shall not come in the way of answering respondents otherwise considering petitioner’s request for change of branch, if there is any alteration in the circumstances favouring him”.
The facts of the case initiate when the Petitioner who was an IIT student of Engineering ( Physics stream) approaches the apex court, seeking direction to the respondent to allow him “to change the Branch/ Academic stream of his choice….
On hearing the learned counsel from both the sides, the court declined to interfere in the aforesaid matter, for the following reasons. Firstly, there was no change in his rank, as the petitioner’s claim for an award of 5 marks was been declined by the respondent, thus his rank had remained intact.
The claim of students for a change of discipline is being governed by clause 4.9 of “Courses of Study 2019-2020”. It states that “(c) Change of the branch will be permitted strictly in the order of merit, in each category, as determined by CGPA at the end of the first year, subject to the limitation that the actual number of students in the third semester in the branch to which transfer is to be made should not exceed its sanctioned strength by more than 15% and the strength of the branch from which transfer is being sought does not fall below 85% of its sanctioned strength.”Thus the petitioner doesn’t stand fit and proper to the stated clause. An affidavit furnishing the mandated details in the form of an affidavit dated 24.11.2020 was directed by this Court vide order dated 06.11.2020 and accordingly the responding respondent filed an affidavit stating clearly that the above-mentioned subject-matter standard has been in force since the academic year 2014-15; while 15 students have been permitted to change the branch so far, in all of these cases. A table containing the minimum material data of these 15 candidates has also been produced by the institution; Annex-B to the affidavit also states; Change of branch was permitted only in the case where the student was otherwise qualified for admission to the branch (to which change was made at the time time of entry to IIT Delhi according to his/her JEE (Advanced) rank at the time of entry to IIT Delhi.
In the statement of the learned Panel Counsel for the respondent-IIT, there is also the force that there are 5 or 6 candidates above the ranking of the petitioner and that their demand for a change of branch has not
been favoured and therefore the petitioner should not attempt to march over those candidates who, while they are not before the court, are comparatively more meritorious.

Thus taking the present situation and circumstances into consideration, the Court denied a change, however, it had also agreed that if there is an alteration or modifications of situations or circumstances then the petitioner student can be helped and considered for the same.

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high court jammu kashmir

Negligent Mistakes by the exam taker will not make the controller of the exam liable: Jammu & Kashmir High Court

The wrong mention of Question Booklet number in the OMR sheet resulted in wrong evaluation by the computer for which the respondents cannot be held liable. This judgment was pronounced by the division bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court at Srinagar consisting hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Rajnesh Oswal in the matter of Arshid Ahmad Allayee v. State of J&K and others, [LPASW NO. 113/2018].

The petitioner in the present writ petition alleged that he was maliciously kept out of zone of selection and claimed that he attempted more than 60 questions which were correct.  An online application was made open by the respondents for enlistment of Constables in IRP Battalion/Executive Police as per the arrangements of J&K Special Enlistment Rules, 2015, according to the District-wise/class shrewd separation gave in the Advertisement Notice. The litigant, who presented his online application, was assigned Roll no.1700297. The litigant in the wake of qualifying the actual estimation test sat in the composed assessment directed on eighth of October, 2017. The appealing party was given question booklet bearing no. 2905409 in the written examination.

The learned writ court observed that the error committed by the appellant was not trivial given the fact that the recruitment process was technologically driven with minimal human intervention. The wrong mention of Question Booklet number in the OMR sheet resulted in wrong evaluation by the computer for which the respondents cannot be held liable. Distinguishing the judgments relied upon by the learned counsel representing the appellant i.e. Khurshid Aijaz Vs. J&K BOPEE & Ors., 2016(1) S.L.J 248 (HC) and Gh. Hassan Ganai Vs. State of J&K & Ors, 2015(1) S.L.J 207, the Writ Court dismissed the petition, being meritless and vacated the interim direction issued by it on 26th of December, 2017.

The division bench of J&K High Court while upholding the observations made by the writ court relied upon The State of Tamil Nadu and others v. G. Hemalathaa & anr [CA No. 6669/2019] where the court rejected the plea of a candidate who had committed mistake and had acted contrary to the mandatory instructions of signing the OMR sheets and stated that in view of the settled legal position on the point in issue, we are left with no option but to agree with the view taken by the Writ Court, which view, as stated above, is in consonance with law laid down by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, we find no merit in this appeal and the same is dismissed.

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reservation

No reservation for in-service Doctors this year: Supreme Court

There will be reduction of 50% of seats in Super Specialty courses in Tamil Nadu if the Government Order is carried out, which is detrimental to their chances of admission. Admittedly no reservation for in-service Doctors was implemented since 2016. And, no reservation could be permitted for in-service Doctors for this year, as the admission process is at the final stages, this was held in the case of Dr. Prerit Sharma &Ors. v. Dr. Bilu B.S. & Ors.(W.P.(C) No. 1299 of 2020)

Writ Petition was filed by Dr. Bilu B.S., the Respondent No.1. in the appeal arising out of SLP (C) No.12891 of 2020 in the Kerala High Court seeking implementation of reservation to 40 per cent of the seats in Super Specialty Medical Courses for in-service Doctors in terms of the law laid down by this Court in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India (2020) SCC Online P. 699. By an order dated 05.10.2020, a learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court refused to grant stay of counselling to the 40 per cent seats for in-service quota. Aggrieved thereby, the first Respondent filed the Writ Appeal which was allowed by a Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala by an order dated 07.10.2020. And further, Directorate of Medical Education, New Delhi and, Director General, Health Services were directed to follow the order and take subsequent actions.

The said order of Kerala High Court on 07.10.2020, was challenged by the Petitioners who are post-graduate degree holders in Medicine and who have qualified the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), 2020 for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-2021. And subsequently the counselling was postponed by the National Medical Commission.

The petitioners contended that, it is not possible to implement the direction issued by the High Court in its order dated 07.10.2020 for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021. Also, the information bulletin for the entrance examination for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses has already been issued in which no reservation has been provided for in-service candidates, it is practically impossible to introduce any new reservation norms for the current academic year as the admission process has already commenced.

However, the respondents argued that administrative inconvenience cannot be a ground to interfere with the order passed by the High Court directing implementation of reservation to in-service doctors in accordance with the Kerala Medical Officers Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008. And thus, this Court should not interfere with the order passed by the High Court as it would result in immense loss to the in-service doctors in the State of Kerala.

The court was of opinion that, “The process for admissions to Super Specialty Medical Courses started on 03.08.2020 and it was made clear to all the competing candidates that there shall be no reservation to Super Specialty Medical Courses. The Government order issued by the State of Tamil Nadu on 07.11.2020 reserving 50 per cent seats for in-service doctors would be detrimental to the interests of the meritorious Doctors as 50 per cent of the available seats in the State of Tamil Nadu in Super Specialty Medical Courses will not be available to them.”

Conclusively, the court directed that “the counselling for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020- 2021 shall proceed by the competent authority without providing for reservations to in-service doctors for the academic year 2020-2021. However, court reiterated that the above direction would be operative only for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021.”

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