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Delhi High Court Clarifies Scope of Seizure under Section 67 of CGST Act

Title:  Deepak Khandelwal Proprietor v. Commissioner of CGST and Anr.

Decided on:  17th August, 2023

+  W.P.(C) 6739/2021

CORAM: HON’BLE MR JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU & HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PURUSHAINDRA KUMAR KAURAV

Introduction

The Delhi High Court, in a recent case, delved into the interpretation of Section 67 of the CGST Act, 2017, pertaining to the seizure of documents, books, and items during search operations. The court highlighted the legislative intent behind the provision and clarified the extent to which seizure can be carried out.

Facts

The petitioner, engaged in trading non-ferrous metals, faced a search operation at his residence under Section 67(2) of the CGST Act, resulting in the seizure of items, currency, and subsequent arrest. The petitioner sought the release of the seized assets, including two silver bars and mobile phones.

Analysis

The court analyzed the provisions of Section 67 of the CGST Act to discern its legislative intent. It noted that the power to seize items, books, or documents under Section 67(2) is solely for the purpose of examination, inquiry, or proceedings under the Act. The court emphasized that the intent is to uncover tax evasion and ensure taxable supplies are taxed. It clarified that the provision does not empower the seizure of currency or valuable assets solely based on unaccounted wealth.

Held

The court ruled that under Section 67(3) of the Act, items seized under Section 67(2) and not relied upon for issuing notices under the Act or its rules must be returned within thirty days of notice issuance. The court emphasized that the seizure provisions are not meant for recovering unaccounted wealth or tax evasion. Therefore, it directed the respondents to release the seized currency and valuable assets from the petitioner’s possession.

Conclusion

The Delhi High Court’s interpretation of Section 67 clarifies the boundaries of seizure powers under the CGST Act, emphasizing that the provision is not intended for seizing unaccounted wealth or assets. The court’s analysis reaffirms the legislative purpose and ensures that the scope of seizure remains aligned with its original intent.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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Delhi High Court Takes Strides Against Pollution: Directs Municipal Corporation to Combat Waste Dumping and Industrial Pollution

Title:  Court On Its Own Motion v. South Municipal Corporation Of Delhi & Ors.

Decided on:  18th August, 2023

+  W.P.(C) 1280/2020

CORAM: HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA & HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV NARULA

 

Introduction

The Delhi High Court has issued directives to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take stringent actions against violating units, prevent illegal dumping, and combat pollution caused by electronic, plastic, and medical waste dumping, as well as industrial units in certain villages, including Mundka. The Court’s suo moto cognizance of the matter was initiated based on a letter received in July 2019, raising concerns about pollution in Mundka Village due to various waste types and growing plastic businesses in various villages.

Facts

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula took notice of the matter in response to a letter highlighting pollution issues related to waste dumping and industrial units. The complainant particularly emphasized pollution caused by electronic, plastic, and medical waste dumping in Mundka Village. The Court issued a notice on February 7, 2020, and received status reports from the Respondents.

Analysis

The Court examined the actions taken by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in response to the pollution concerns. The SDMC reported actions against illegal units and emphasized adherence to pollution control norms set by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). They sealed illegal units, monitored waste disposal, and imposed Environmental Damage Charges (EDC).

The NDMC also reported actions against illegal units and confiscation of stored plastic on agricultural land. It highlighted actions against units involved in the plastic trade and industrial units in various areas.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) reported on areas under its jurisdiction and actions taken against non-conforming units. It demonstrated efforts to regulate waste disposal and industrial units through pollution control norms. The Court noted that the MCD is actively monitoring and enforcing closure of illegal factories operating in non-conforming and residential areas.

Held

Based on the reports from various municipal bodies, the Court found that actions were being taken to address the pollution concerns raised in the letter. The Court recognized the efforts made by SDMC, NDMC, and MCD in regulating and monitoring non-conforming industrial units and waste disposal. As a result, the petition was disposed of.

Conclusion

The Delhi High Court’s proactive approach in addressing environmental concerns and directing municipal bodies to take necessary actions showcases its commitment to combat pollution and ensure the proper enforcement of pollution control norms and regulations.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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Delhi High Court Advocates Seamless Integration of Rainwater Harvesting in Climate Resilience Planning

Title:  RK Kapoor vs National Capital Territory of Delhi & Ors.

Decided on:  18th August, 2023

+  W.P.(C) 4975/2014

CORAM: HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA & HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV NARULA

Introduction

The Delhi High Court, presided over by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula, recently addressed the significance of rainwater harvesting in the context of climate resilience planning in Delhi. The Court emphasized the need for innovative strategies, public education, and proactive measures to confront emerging environmental challenges.

Facts

The case stemmed from a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate RK Kapoor, focusing on water conservation in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). The PIL specifically highlighted the importance of implementing rainwater harvesting initiatives to address the pressing issue of water scarcity in the region. Kapoor pointed out successful rainwater harvesting practices in various Indian states and other countries as exemplary models.

Analysis

The Court recognized the urgency of water conservation in rapidly evolving urban landscapes. It emphasized the need to prepare for extreme weather events, such as the recent flooding in Delhi, which underscored the importance of implementing recommendations outlined in the Sub-Committee Report. Furthermore, the Court stressed the significance of exploring innovative water conservation strategies, especially in light of unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change. It highlighted the need to integrate rainwater harvesting systems with sewer, drainage, and water storage systems to maximize rainwater utilization.

Held

The Court commended the petitioner’s efforts and directed authorities to seamlessly integrate rainwater harvesting into climate resilience planning. It emphasized the importance of public education and practical implementation guidance to promote a cultural shift toward sustainable water practices. The case was disposed of with these directives in mind.

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The Designs Act of 2000 does not extend protection beyond what is required to create a mandatory incentive for design activity: Delhi High Court

Title:  HERO MOTOCORP LIMITED Vs SHREE AMBA INDUSTRIES

Decided on:  16th August, 2023

+  CS(COMM) 1078/2018 & I.A. 11007/2018 (O-XXVI R-9 of CPC)

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE AMIT BANSAL

 

Introduction

The Delhi High Court recently addressed a case involving a trademark dispute between Mankind Pharma Limited and Novakind Bio Sciences Private Limited. The key contention revolved around the use of the common suffix “KIND” in their respective trademarks. The Court’s decision emphasized the significance of maintaining clear distinction between pharmaceutical products to prevent confusion among healthcare professionals and consumers.

Facts

Mankind Pharma Limited, a prominent participant in the Indian pharmaceutical industry, adopted the trademark “MANKIND” as part of its trading style in 1986. The company incorporated the suffix “KIND” in the names of several pharmaceutical preparations it manufactured and sold. Mankind Pharma expressed concerns regarding Novakind Bio Sciences Private Limited’s utilization of the mark “NOVAKIND” for its pharmaceutical products. Mankind Pharma contended that the inclusion of “KIND” in Novakind’s mark infringed upon its registered trademark. Mankind Pharma issued a cease-and-desist notice to Novakind, urging it to desist from using the contested mark.

Analysis and Held

In the matter, a Single Judge Bench presided over by Justice C. Hari Shankar handled the case. The Court acknowledged that while physicians and chemists might prefer Mankind Pharma’s products due to their efficacy, the shared “KIND” suffix could lead to confusion. The Court stressed that even the slightest possibility of confusion is unacceptable when it comes to medicines, especially prescription drugs.

The Court pointed out that the use of the “KIND” suffix is not exclusive to pharmaceutical preparations. Consequently, individuals with average intelligence and imperfect memory could associate Novakind’s “NOVAKIND” product with the KIND family of marks owned by Mankind Pharma. This likelihood of association satisfied the legal requirement for infringement under Section 29(2)(b)10 of the Trade Marks Act. Both marks were found to be deceptively similar and used for identical goods, supporting the finding of trademark infringement.

The Court further emphasized that individuals with limited means, who rely on less expensive medical services, might be particularly prone to associating medicines with their manufacturers. Due to the varying effectiveness of the same drug produced by different companies, the Court highlighted the need for distinct trademarks to prevent confusion and potential health risks.

In conclusion, the Delhi High Court upheld that the trademarks of Mankind Pharma and Novakind Bio Sciences were deceptively similar. The Court endorsed Mankind Pharma’s concerns regarding potential confusion among healthcare professionals and consumers, leading to its decision against Novakind’s use of the contested mark.

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Delhi High Court’s Jurisdictional Ruling: Venue vs Seat of Arbitration and Time Extension for Arbitral Proceedings

Title:  Reliance Infrastructure Limited v. Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited

Decided on:  14th August, 2023

+  O.M.P.(MISC.)(COMM.) 161/2020 and IA No. 9377/2020

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SACHIN DATTA

Introduction

The Delhi High Court recently rendered a significant decision regarding the distinction between the ‘venue’ and ‘seat’ of arbitration, as well as the extension of time for completing arbitral proceedings. The case involved a petition seeking an extension of time for issuing an arbitral award under Section 29A(4) and (5) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Facts

The petitioner, a participant in Rural Electrification works in Uttar Pradesh, initiated arbitration proceedings due to disputes arising from contracts. The General Conditions of Contract (GCC) mentioned that disputes would be resolved through arbitration, with Delhi having exclusive jurisdiction. Subsequently, the petitioner sought an extension for the Sole Arbitrator to issue the arbitral award.

Analysis

The central issue before the Court was the distinction between the ‘venue’ and ‘seat’ of arbitration and the significance of an exclusive jurisdiction clause. The Court underscored that when an arbitration clause designates a specific ‘venue,’ it essentially anchors the arbitral proceedings to that location, making it the ‘seat’ of arbitration. Thus, the Court exercising supervisory jurisdiction over the designated ‘venue’ becomes the supervisory authority for the arbitral process, even if a general exclusive jurisdiction clause exists for a different court. The Court examined various judgments and legal precedents to establish this principle.

The Court highlighted the fact that the LOA’s ‘exclusive jurisdiction’ clause was general and did not specifically pertain to arbitration, while the GCC Clause 48.1.2 designating Delhi as the ‘venue’ of arbitration took precedence. This reinforced Delhi as the ‘seat’ of arbitration. The Court clarified that the Arbitration Act empowers courts to extend the Arbitrator’s mandate even after the award’s deadline, upon sufficient cause shown.

Held

The Court declared its territorial jurisdiction over the arbitration proceedings and the petition’s maintainability. It granted the petition, allowing an extension of one year from the date of the judgment for completing the arbitration proceedings and issuing the arbitral award. The Court emphasized that the Sole Arbitrator had not shown any lack of expedition in the proceedings.

Conclusion

The Delhi High Court’s ruling highlights the significance of accurately designating the ‘seat’ of arbitration based on the specified ‘venue’ and clarifies that exclusive jurisdiction clauses do not undermine the seat’s authority. The Court’s decision also underscores the flexibility of the Arbitration Act to grant extensions for arbitral proceedings.

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