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Bombay High Court quashes PIL which is poorly drafted and presented; calls it haphazard to the justice system

TITLE : Forum for fast Justice V University of Mumbai

CORAM : Hon’ble Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya

DATE :  15th  January 2024

CITATION : PIL No.49 of 2024

FACTS

A PIL was filed to direct the university and BCI to verify whether all law colleges under the jurisdiction of Mumbai University has functioning legal aid cells and to grant funds to run legal aid cells. The maintainability of the petition was challenged in the current case. It was argued by the petitioners that the PIL is not vague and invoked Article 39-A of the constitution.

LAWS INVOLVED

Article 39-A of the Constitution of India provides for “equal justice” and “free legal aid” and it was for the State to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice.

ISSUES

Whether the PIL is maintainable

JUDGEMENT

The court observed that the petitioners did not present any material on record which proves that the state is not fulfilling its objective on legal aid. There is no legal basis to the petitioner’s claim. The petitioner has also not proved maintainability in the court.

The court took reference to another PIL which was considered to be baseless. It stated that poorly drafted and haphazardly presented petitions will not be entertained by the court. It firmly held that :

“the judicial system operates with limited time and resources, and frivolous or poorly presented PILs burden the Court and hinder the resolution of other genuine and urgent cases”

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Bombay HC dismisses petition which seeks for arbitration when the conciliation proceeding was abruptly terminated.

TITLE : Bafna udyog v Micro and Small enterprises, Facilitation council

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Neela Gokhale

DATE :  16th  January 2024

CITATION : Arbitration Petition No.201 of 2023

FACTS

The petitioner seeks appointment of a retired judge to conduct the arbitration proceedings. The petitioner also requests the court to direct the respondent to produce all records required for the proceedings. The petitioner is registered under MSMED Act, 2006. The respondent owes Rs. 92,41,072 to the petitioner with future interest as per the act.

The dispute among the parties remained unsolved. The petitioner contends that the respondent acknowledged the debt he owes. The petitioner filed a conciliation proceeding which upon getting failed has approached for arbitration under Section 11(6) of the arbitration act. The respondents did not show up during the proceedings even after issuing notice.

LAWS INVOLVED

Section 11(6) states that an arbitrator would be appointed by the arbitral forum if none of the parties take initiative to appoint an arbitrator or fails to seek for an arbitrator.

ISSUES

Whether the petitioner was right in asking for an arbitration proceeding?

JUDGEMENT

The court observed that the arbitration proceeding would be invalid as per the MSMED Act. There is an alternative remedy available in law to first observe failure of conciliation proceeding and then approach for arbitration. In the present matter, the conciliation proceeding was terminated which is against Section 18(3) of the MSMED Act which states that only after failure of conciliation proceeding, an arbitration recourse can be proceeded with.

The petiton was dismissed on the grounds of maintainability.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Defence representative for a workman is not permissible under inquiry proceedings : Bombay HC

Lawyer shows the scales of justice in hand on a blurred background.

TITLE : Ajit Bhagwan Sawant V M/s Parveen Industries Pvt Ltd.

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Sandeep V Marne

DATE :  8th January 2024

CITATION : WP No. 11801 Of 2023

FACTS

The primary issue in the petition is about right of a workman to avail services of a legal practitioners to defend himself in the inquiry process by the labor officer. The appeal is on the basis of the industrial court rejecting the application for permission to defend the workman. The petitioner is working in the defendant company and has been subjected to domestic inquiry. The inquiry officer is a person practicing law and is a qualified advocate. The petitioner claim that the inquiry officer hurried the proceeding without granting enough opportunity to defend him. The petitioner had filed for an interim application under Section 30(2) of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971.

LAWS INVOLVED

Bombay Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules 1959 gives the power to another workman or trade union member to defend a workman under enquiry.

Section 21 of the MRTU and PULP act, no workman shall be allowed to appear or act or allowed to be represented in any proceedings relating to unfair labour practices.

ISSUES

Whether the employee can be permitted to engage services of a legal practitioner as a defence representative?

JUDGEMENT

Under the Model Standing Orders imposes a restriction on the right of the workman to choose his defence representative. The court held that the employer has the right to impose such restriction. Further, it was held that as per the provisions of Clause 25 of the Model Standing Orders the defence representative can only be a workman working in the same department or an office-bearer of trade union of which he is a member.

The advocate is not appointed by the company and not an employee of the respondent company.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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The Bombay HC quashes industrial court orders with regards to payment of wages

TITLE : The Maharashtra State Co-operative V Smt. Bhagyashree Pravin Kulkarni

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Sandeep V Marne

DATE :  5th  January 2024

CITATION : WP No. 13300 Of 2023

FACTS

The petition was filed by the Maharashtra State Co-operative Marketing Federation challenging the order of Industrial Court. The industrial court granted protection to the respondent in the form of direction to the petitioners to pay wages from the date of transfer to the contractor. The respondent was employed as a typist in the petitioner company on a daily wage basis. The respondent claimed that the action of the petitioners from transferring her from one organization to another was illegal. Despite being transferred, she wasn’t paid as per the new organization standard. The respondent filed that the wage was paid through the previous workplace and not the current one.

ISSUES

Whether the orders passed by industrial court is valid?

JUDGEMENT

The court held that the interim application filed by the respondent is totally baseless. The industrial court held that the wages must be paid as taking effect from the date of transfer. The industrial court also directed the federation to pay wages from the date of transfer again, albeit her drawing wages from the second company. The court also directed to ensure that the increment of 5 years from 2019 is paid to the respondent, from Rs.500 to Rs.600.

The court declared that the industrial court has misdirected and is unsustainable. The respondent is already protected in the form of continuation of services. Further, it was held that the respondent did not contend the same for 5 years, therefore the demand of the respondent is not entertainable.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Additional compensation would not be granted in cases where the limitation period has barred and when an alternative remedy is available – Bombay HC

TITLE : Sardar v The state of Maharashtra

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Ravindra v Ghuge

DATE :  15th  January 2024

CITATION : WP No. 14842 Of 2023

FACTS

The petition was filed under Article 226 and 227 of the constitution of India. The petitioner’s case was that his land was acquired by the government for public project under Section 4 of the Land acquisition Act,1894. A compensation of Rs. 1,26,110 was granted and it did not consider the value of 40 teak trees, 25 mango trees, 35 berry trees and 2 gooseberry trees and a well attached to the land. The petitioner has asked for an enhancement of compensation. It was contended that the petitioner had not used alternative remedies under Section18 of the Act. The petitioners father has received the compensation of Rs. 1,45, 566 without any protest.

LAWS INVOLVED

As per Section 18 of the Act, any person who has not accepted the compensation to make an application to the collector within a period of 6 weeks from the date of the award, if the interested person represented before the collector was present of in any other cases, within 6 months of the award.

ISSUES

Whether the petitioner entitled to additional compensation?

JUDGEMENT

The court held that the petitioner’s father has already received the compensation without any protest. The court found that no reference was made under Section 18 of the Act. The court in furtherance held that the petitioner has approached this court after 18 years withtout availaing alternative remedy available in law.

The writ was found to be without any merits and was subsequently dismissed.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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