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Allahabad High Court Issues A Mandamus To Reinstate The Registration Certificate of Petitioner With Effect From 18.8.2022, Along with Consequential Benefits.

Title: M/S Vidya Coal Depot v. Additional Commissioner Grade (Appeal) Ii And Another 

Decided on: 5th October 2023 

WRIT TAX No. – 394 of 2023:AHC:192420 

Coram: HON’BLE PIYUSH AGRAWAL. 

Introduction  

The High court of Allahabad has entertained Writ Tax since G.S.T. Tribunal is not functional in the State of Uttar Pradesh pursuant to the Gazette notification of the Central Government. The petitioner has assailed the order passed by Assistant Commissioner Sector-14 Commercial Tax, Agra cancelling the GST registration of the petitioner under Section 29 (2) of U.P.G.S.T. Act. A mandamus has been sought for restoration of the registration of petitioner. 

Facts of the case 

Smt. Vidya Devi is the proprietor of the petitioner firm carrying the business of purchase and sale of coal on retail basis for which the GSTIN was granted. Since the petitioner’s turn over was below Rs. 50 lacs, it opted for compounding scheme under Section 9(1) of U.P.G.S.T Act as provided under Section 10 of the Act. On 24.09.2022, a show cause notice was issued by respondent no.2 to cancel the registration of the petitioner with the direction of the TTZ authority and written direction by JC (SIB) B Agra for cancellation of registration of all coal depot. The petitioner replied through registered post on 3.10.2022. Not being satisfied with the reply, the registration of petitioner was cancelled order dated 14.10.2022. Aggrieved by the order, petitioner preferred an appeal, but was rejected by order dated 1.12.2022. Hence the writ petition was filed.  

Court Analysis and Decision  

The petitioner has not violated Section 29 read with Rule 21 of UPGST Act and Rules framed therein. The registration of the petitioner has been cancelled at the behest of direction issued by JC (SIB) B, Agra as well as the direction of TTZ authority, but neither a copy of such direction has been provided at any stage to the petitioner nor the same was annexed along with the copy of notice issued to the petitioner. It was wrongly mentioned that no reply was submitted by the petitioner. The record reveals that along with the cancellation order, an appendix order was filed in the counter affidavit. It appears that to improve the case of the revenue such appendix has been annexed for the first time by the officer/respondent in the counter affidavit. The Apex Court in the case of Mohinder Singh Gill Vs. The Chief Election Commissioner, held that State authority cannot be permitted to supplement fresh reasons by means of affidavit and the the appendix along with the cancellation order cannot be any aid to the respondent authority. 

It is a matter of common knowledge that under the GST Act, A/c book are to be maintained by every person. In absence of such, no violation of rule of UPGST Act, be made out against the petitioner. Once, there is no violation of Section 29 read with rule 21, any action taken for cancellation of registration cannot sustain in the eye of law. Thus, the judge has quashed the orders dated 14.10.2022 & 01.12.2022 and has issued a mandamus to the respondent-authorities No.1 to 3 to reinstate the registration certificate of petitioner immediately with effect from 18.8.2022 with all consequential benefits. 

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Written by- K R Bhuvanashri 

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The Allahabad High Court criticized the National Minorities Commission for overstepping its authority and summoning officers without valid grounds.

Case Title: Divine Faith Fellowship Church and Another vs. State of U.P. And 5 Others 2023

Decided on: 26th September, 2023

Writ no. – C No. – 30476 of 2023

CORAM : Hon’ble Mahesh Chandra Tripathi,J. Hon’ble Prashant Kumar,J.

INTRODUCTION

The case of “Divine Faith Fellowship Church and Another vs. State of U.P. And 5 Others” in 2023 involves a dispute where a church-owned property in Uttar Pradesh, India, had been illegally occupied.

The petitioners, a Christian organization, sought legal action through the U.P. Commission for Minorities and later the National Commission for Minorities. The case primarily focuses on whether these commissions had the authority to adjudicate and order actions related to the property dispute and whether their actions exceeded their statutory jurisdiction.

Facts of the case:

The petitioners, an NGO associated with a church, claimed ownership of property including Shop no. 13/1.They sought to evict an unauthorized occupant from Shop no. 13/1. The U.P. Commission for Minorities treated the case as a civil matter and ordered an FIR against the occupant.

The National Commission for Minorities got involved, issuing orders to assist the petitioners. The dispute centered on whether these commissions had the authority to handle the property dispute, leading to a legal challenge. The Allahabad High Court ultimately ruled that the commissions had exceeded their jurisdiction in this case.

Courts Analysis and Decision.

The court highlighted the limited statutory functions of these commissions, primarily aimed at safeguarding minority interests. Emphasized that these commissions do not possess the authority to adjudicate property disputes.

Criticized the practice of summoning government officers and pressuring them to pass orders beyond their jurisdiction. Reiterated that public officers should not be called to court unnecessarily. Deplored the commissions’ tendency to function as if they were courts, calling it an abuse of their position. Noted that such actions could result in the removal of commission members. Ultimately, the court dismissed the petition and affirmed that the commissions had acted beyond their authorized functions in the property dispute, underscoring the importance of respecting the separation of powers between the judiciary and executive branches.

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The Allahabad High court has ruled that Congress party must pay a sum of ₹2.66 crore to the UPSRTC for the utilisation for its vehicle during 1980s.

Title: UP Congress Committee vs State of UP And Others.

Decided on: 05-10-2023.

Writ C No. – 3740/1998.

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Vivek Chaudhary, Hon’ble Justice Manish Kumar.

Introduction:

The Allahabad High Court directed the Congress Party to pay over ₹2.66 crore to the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) within three months for using its buses and taxis between 1981 and 1989.

A division bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary and Justice Manish Kumar rejected the allegation of political vendetta raised by Congress and said that the amount should be paid along with an interest of 5 percent from the date it is due.

Facts of the Case:

Dispute between UP Congress Committee (UPCC) and Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (U.P.S.R.T.C.) wherein U.P.S.R.T.C. claims Rs. 2,68,29,879.78 from UPCC for using its vehicles during UPCC’s government tenure.

A recovery notice dated 10.11.1998 triggered the legal battle thereafter UPCC filed a writ petition, arguing the recovery notice’s legality under the U.P. Public Moneys (Recovery of Dues) Act, 1972.

The case has been pending since 1998 without resolution and Documents show unpaid bills for vehicles used in political activities. UPCC claims these were instructed by the State Government.

The primary legal issue is whether the amount can be recovered as land revenue under the Act, despite no specific agreement.

Court’s Analysis and Decision:

The court notes that while there may not be a specific agreement for recovery under the Act of 1972, the petitioner did use the services of U.P.S.R.T.C. for its political activities, and bills were raised for these services.

The petitioner UPCC is directed to pay to the respondents U.P.S.R.T.C. the entire due of Rs.266 Lakhs along with an interest of 5% from the date it is due within a period of three months.

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Police’s Inability To Timely Serve Summons, Execute Coercive Processes Violates Right To Speedy Trial Of Accused: Allahabad High Court

CASE TITLE:  Bhanwar Singh @ Karamvir vs. State of U.P. 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 288

DECIDED ON: 24.08.2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Ajay Bhanot,J.

INTRODUCTION

In a significant observation, the Allahabad High Court has said that the failure of the state police to serve the summons and execute coercive processes issued by the court is affecting the fundamental rights of the accused and their right to obtain bail in a timely manner.

FACTS

It is noteworthy that sections such as 61, 62, 70, 72, 74, 78, etc., of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) impose an obligation on law enforcement authorities to promptly deliver summons and carry out other enforcement actions like bailable and non-bailable warrants issued by courts.

Justice Ajay Bhanot’s bench highlighted that an “independent and effective” internal accountability mechanism within the police force is urgently required to ensure the timely delivery of summons and execution of enforcement measures.

The bench additionally underscored that the substantial problem of absent witnesses and the inadequacy of the police’s response to enforce summonses and enforcement measures expose a structural weakness that jeopardizes the integrity of the justice system.

“The incapability of the police to serve summonses and implement enforcement measures within the stipulated timeframe, as mandated by the learned trial courts, is a systemic issue and a significant obstruction in the criminal justice process. This deficiency in police performance leads to witness absence in court and results in prolonged trial delays, eroding public trust in the justice dispensation system,” the bench commented, emphasizing that police authorities cannot overlook internal deficiencies and senior officials cannot evade responsibility.

In light of this, the Court suggested that appointing focal officers at various levels to ensure witness appearance could be an effective solution to address the crisis. However, the Court pointed out that this approach would be effective only if the designated officers were in leadership positions within the police hierarchy at respective levels.

Furthermore, the Court recommended that such focal officers should be authorized to coordinate with police forces at different tiers, whether at the district, zone, state, or inter-state level.

Notably, the Court also proposed that the statutory duty imposed on police authorities to compel witness attendance as per court orders should be integrated into the responsibilities of the designated focal officers, who would be held accountable accordingly.

The performance of these officials should be evaluated based on these criteria and corrections should be made by the department when deviations occur, the Court remarked.

These significant observations were made by the Court while granting bail to an accused individual, as the Court noted the recurring failure of the police to serve summonses and execute enforcement measures, which, in turn, impacts the rights of accused individuals seeking bail.

The Court also examined status reports submitted by trial courts (in the context of the bail matter), revealing that trial delays were attributed to the police’s failure to deliver summonses and execute enforcement measures in a timely manner to ensure witness attendance on scheduled trial dates.

Highlighting the interconnectedness of the constitutional liberty under Article 21 and the statutory right to bail for undertrial prisoners, the Court emphasized that the prolonged detention of accused individuals due to trial delays violates their fundamental liberties, especially when the delay is not caused by the accused.

CASE ANALYSIS AND DECISION

The Court noted that while legal provisions exist to address instances where police officers fail to serve summonses or carry out enforcement actions, pursuing such actions through statutory means results in unnecessary legal disputes and consumes valuable judicial resources.

In this context, the Court emphasized that the courts’ authority to initiate criminal or contempt proceedings against errant police officials for their failures needs to be complemented by “effective internal protocols that assign responsibility and establish accountability within the police force.”

The Court further pointed out that the state must introduce and consider the formulation of regulations that establish a robust accountability framework within the police department for this purpose. Highlighting that the state has previously been advised to take necessary action in this matter, the Court urged the authorities to meticulously examine these aspects and expedite the implementation of these measures.

“The failure of the police authorities and the negligence of the State Government in acknowledging their legal obligations and constitutional duties will result in a miscarriage of justice. Lengthy incarcerations of prisoners occur because the police authorities do not ensure the timely appearance of witnesses, thereby disregarding orders issued by trial courts. This failure of justice is particularly severe for many detainees who come from marginalized segments of society and are hindered by poverty and lack of legal awareness,” the Court observed while directing the distribution of its order to the Director General of Police (DGP), Government of Uttar Pradesh, and the Director of the Judicial Training and Research Institute (JTRI) in Lucknow.

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Relationship Between Logic & Experience Important While Invoking Precedents’: Allahabad High Court Rejects Anticipatory Bail

CASE TITLE:  Kusum Devi And Another v. State of U.P. and Another [Criminal Misc Anticipatory Bail Application U/S 438 CR.P.C. No. – 1907 of 2023]

DECIDED ON: 24.08.2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Krishan Pahal,J.

INTRODUCTION

On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court emphasized the significance of comprehending the interplay between reasoning and practical knowledge when utilizing legal precedents to determine cases with resemblant facts and conditions. The court underscored that a mechanical application of these principles is inappropriate. In line with this perspective, Justice Krishan Pahal dismissed the plea for anticipatory bail made by the mother of a deceased individual who had passed away by suicide in her residence.

FACTS

Reportedly, the spouse of the person providing information resided with his parents due to his father’s illness, and his earnings were directed to his father’s bank account. The informant was staying at her maternal residence when she was informed about her husband’s suicide. She received an alleged suicide note from her husband’s phone, which was being used by her father-in-law. Subsequently, she lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against her in-laws.

The legal representatives for the applicants argued that imprisonment would harm the reputation of the female defendants. They pointed out that one of the co-accused individuals had already been granted regular bail, and no direct witness was available in the ongoing case. Additionally, they highlighted the delay of one month in filing the FIR, and with the chargesheet submitted, there was minimal risk of evidence tampering. Hence, the counsel contended that the circumstances were appropriate for granting anticipatory bail.

The applicants drew support from the rulings of the Supreme Court in the cases of Kamlesh & Anr. vs. The State of Rajasthan & Anr., and Vinod Kumar Sharma & Anr. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., along with the decision of the Allahabad High Court in Dr. Rajni Tripathi vs. State of U.P. In these cases, the courts determined that seeking anticipatory bail under Section 483 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) remains valid even after the rejection of an application filed under Section 482 of the CrPC.

Furthermore, the applicants referred to the instance of Udit Arya vs. State of U.P, where the Allahabad High Court granted anticipatory bail despite the initiation of proceedings under Section 82 of the CrPC. Conversely, the informant’s representative cited the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prem Shankar Prasad vs. State of Bihar & Anr., highlighting that anticipatory bail was not viable after the conclusion of proceedings under Section 82 (regarding a proclamation for an absconding person) and Section 83 (regarding the attachment of property of an absconding person).

CASE ANALYSIS AND DECISION

The court noted that concerning the current applicants, their prior challenge to the chargesheet had not succeeded, whereas in the case of Kamlesh, the practice at the Rajasthan High Court involved challenging the First Information Report (F.I.R.) through a Section 482 Cr.P.C. petition. This procedure allowed the consideration and decision of the application under Section 438 Cr.P.C., even after challenging the F.I.R.

In a differentiation from the Vinod Kumar case, the court observed that the precedent established in that case, suggesting that the term ‘regular bail’ encompasses the provisions of Section 483 of the CrPC, did not directly apply to the circumstances of the present case.

“The learned Senior Counsel for the applicants has also drawn upon the judgment in Vinod Kumar Sharma (above-mentioned), which suggests that the phrase ‘regular bail’ includes the provisions laid out in Section 438 Cr.P.C. This argument is valid and indeed, even after a decision for regular bail is granted, the option for anticipatory bail remains. However, this legal precedent does not pertain to the current situation. We must assess this case based on its individual merits. Furthermore, the judgment of this Court in the case of Dr. Rajni Tripathi (previously mentioned) has been built upon the aforementioned verdict of the Apex Court in the case of Vinod Kumar Sharma (aforementioned). Therefore, these decisions are not applicable to the current circumstances.”

Furthermore, the court pointed out that the proclamation under Sections 82 and 83 of the CrPC had concluded over six months ago and that the suicide had occurred within the applicants’ residence. Consequently, the exception established in the Udit Arya case would not be pertinent to the present scenario.

Lastly, the court determined that the applicants’ attempt to assert that the case was per incuriam (decided without considering relevant law) did not hold, and as a result, the request for anticipatory bail was dismissed.

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