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Employees cannot be denied relief when their entitlements are refused due to unreasonable factors: Supreme Court

Case title: Union of India (UOI) and Ors. Vs. D.G.O.F. Employees Association and Ors.

Case no.: Civil Appeal No. 1663 of 2016

Decided on: 09.11.2023

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice A.S Bopanna, Hon’ble Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha

FACTS OF THE CASE:

An association of workers at the Ordnance Factory Board’s headquarters is the respondent. In order to align with similarly placed employees of the Central Secretariat Service (‘CSS’), equivalent posts in the Armed Force Headquarters Civil Service (‘AFHCS’), and comparable other cadres, they requested an increase in the pay scales of Assistant and Personal Assistants of the Ordnance Factory Board, Headquarters. It did not receive approval from the Ministry of Defence. The Respondents came before the CAT in response to their complaints. Additionally, the CAT rejected the prayer, which led to the High Court’s writ proceedings.

The High Court, after reviewing the case, concluded that the Respondent’s members had previously been treated as equals to CSS/CSSS employees, with equal pay and benefits. While setting aside the CAT’s order, the High Court determined that the Respondents were entitled to the benefit under paragraph 3.1.9 of the VI Central Pay Commission’s recommendations.

ISSUE RAISED:

Whether the employees at the headquarters are in the same positions as the CSS/CSSS employees?

APPELLANTS CONTENTION:

The appellant argued that unless there is obvious discrimination or arbitrariness can be proven, the judiciary’s authority to review pay scale decisions is restricted. Regarding the clause found in the VI CPC’s recommendations, the appellants attempt to invoke paragraph 3.1.14, which suggested a replacement pay scale. The respondents’ reliance on paragraph 3.1.9 is contested, with the argument that it does not apply to OFB employees and does not offer any additional benefits. In this context, it is evident that the High Court took into account both the pay scale specified in the VI CPC and the intention stated in paragraph 3.1.9 that called for parity, having noted that the successive CPC recommendations had led to parity in pay scales and that, in light of such equal treatment historically, the Court had also taken these factors into consideration.           

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court held that the court may step in when there is no disagreement about the qualifications, responsibilities, and duties of individuals holding equivalent posts or ranks but they are treated differently simply because they work for different departments or the criteria used to classify someone is clearly unfair, arbitrary, or irrational. Because they work in the Ordnance Factory headquarters and are thus in a similar position to the Assistants in CSS/CSSS Army Headquarters and other similarly placed organisations mentioned in the recommendations, the conclusion regarding pay parity in the case of the employees who are members of the first respondent is primarily in place.

Court on review of the High Court’s impugned judgement reveals that the High Court, having considered both the legal and factual aspects, did not proceed in such a way as to equate two sets of employees in different organisations. However, in light of the Pay Commission’s recommendation and the applicability of the pay scales suggested to similarly situated employees working at the headquarters, recognising discrimination despite historical similarity has only corrected the error and does not necessitate intervention. Therefore, Appeal denied.

 

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A registered sale deed where the full consideration is paid would operate from the date of its execution: Supreme Court

Case title: Kanwar Raj Singh vs Gejo

Case no.: Civil Appeal No. 9098 of 2023

Decided on: 02.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice Abhay S. Oka, Hon’ble Justice Pankaj Mithal

 

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The current appeal stems from a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The appellant sued for a declaration. She sought a declaration of ownership over the land measuring 71 kanals 8 marlas (“suit property”), citing the executed and registered sale deed. According to the case of the original plaintiff, Smt. Gejo, the first defendant made an interpolation in the sale deed before it was registered, adding that only one-third of a share measuring 23 kanals and 8 marlas was sold. The first defendant contested the suit, claiming that what was sold was the area of 23 kanals and 8 marlas, which was his one-third share of the suit property.

The trial court ruled in favour of the suit. On appeal to the District Court, the Additional District Judge granted the appeal and determined that the correction in the sale deed was genuine and not fraudulent. The plaintiff sought a second appeal before the High Court. The appeal was allowed by the impugned judgement, and the Trial Court’s decree was restored.

ISSUE RAISED:

Can a compulsorily registerable document, once registered under the Registration Act, operate from a date prior to its registration?

LEGAL PROVISIONS INVOLVED:

According to Section 47 of The Registration Act of 1908, a registered document is effective from the time it would have begun to operate if no registration was required. Thus, when a compulsorily registerable document is registered in accordance with the Registration Act, it can begin to operate on a date prior to its registration. The date of the operation will vary depending on the nature of the transaction.

Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act of 1984 defines a sale. A sale is a transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or promised, or a partial payment and partial promise.

Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act requires that all sale deeds for property worth more than Rs. 100/- be registered. Thus, a vendor-executed sale deed becomes an instrument of sale only after it is registered.

APPELLANTS CONTENTIONS:

The learned counsel contended that the sale took effect on the date the sale deed was registered, not the date it was executed. He contended that the sale deed conveys the same information as the registered sale deed. He claimed that even the agreement for sale signed prior to the execution of the sale deed refers to the sale of a third of the first defendant’s share, not the entire property.

The counsel relied on a Constitution Bench decision in the case of Ram Saran Lall v. Domini Kuer and contended that, under the said decision, the sale was completed when the sale deed was registered, and thus the description of the property recorded in the registered sale deed will prevail.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT:

The court ruled that the consideration was paid in full on the date the sale deed was executed. The sale deed was registered with an interpolation concerning the description/area of the property sold. The first defendant admitted that the interpolation occurred after the execution but before the registration. According to Section 47 of the Registration Act, a registered sale deed in which the entire consideration is paid becomes effective on the date of execution. As a result, the original sale deed will be effective. Therefore, the court concluded that the high court’s decision was correct and dismissed the appeal.

 

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Unscrupulous Litigants Should Not Go Scot-Free: Supreme Court

Case title: Dinesh Gupta vs The state of Uttarpradesh

Case no.: S.L.P.(Crl.) No.3343 of 2022

Decided on: 11.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice Vikram Nath, Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Bindal

FACTS OF THE CASE:

Owner of M/s D.D. Global Capital Pvt. Ltd., Karan Gambhir has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Sushil, Rajesh, Dinesh, Baljeet Singh, and other individuals. Among the private limited companies implicated are BDR, Gulab Buildtech, and Verma Buildtech. To reverse the summons order and FIR, Dinesh and Rajesh Gupta filed a petition in High Court. According to the complaint, Karan’s business gave Gulab Buildtech and Verma Buildtech short-term loans that were later converted into debt equity with the promise of large returns.

Despite purportedly forging a share pledge agreement, the complainant was able to secure a sizeable shareholding. Unannounced approval of amalgamation plans decreased the company’s ownership stake. Lawsuit after the accused disregarded the complainant’s requests for loan repayment. IPC Sections 420, 467, and 120-B are the subject of a charge sheet that the police have filed. The appeals took place after the High Court denied the petitions to set aside the summoning order and FIR.

APPELLANTS CONTENTION:

The appellant contended that a purely civil dispute involving financial transactions between corporations is being framed as a criminal case. Despite the fact that the company has no connection to Gautam Budh Nagar and that all transactions between the parties took place in New Delhi, the complaint was filed in Gautam Budh Nagar.

RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:

They claimed that the accused, working together, defrauded the complainant of crores of rupees by falsely promising higher returns. The High Court’s order contains no errors. The appeals are well-deservedly dismissed.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court determined that if the FIR in question is pursued further, it will constitute an absolute abuse of court process. This is a clear case of malicious prosecution. Regardless of the commercial nature of the dispute, a criminal complaint was filed and a FIR was registered. Abuse of power and legal machinery undermines public trust in the judiciary. FIR and criminal proceedings were quashed, and the complainant was fined ₹25 lakhs to prevent future abuse of judicial remedies.

The court ruled that the respondents should be subject to stringent terms and conditions, including costs. It’s time to firmly examine any lawsuits that have been started and are riddled with deceit, secrecy, and forum shopping. Even state actions or the conduct of government servants who are parties to such malicious litigation should be severely reprimanded. Turning a civil matter into a criminal case not only overburdens the criminal justice system, but also violates the principles of fairness and proper legal conduct.

 

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Supreme court Uphelds the fine Imposed by National consumer court in a case of medical negligence

Case title: P.C Jain vs DR. R.P Singh

Case no.: SLP(Civil) No(s). 683-685 of 2023

Decided on: 29.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice B.R Gavai, Hon’ble Justice Sandeep Mehta

 

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The present case involves the respondent’s medical negligence towards the appellant. The appellant-complainant, P.C. Jain, has lost vision in his left eye as a result of the respondent Dr. R.P. Singh’s medical negligence during a surgical procedure. The appellant filed a complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The commission awarded a fine of 2 lakhs with 12% interest.

The respondent filed an appeal with the state commission, which was denied on the basis of territorial jurisdiction. Angered, the appellant filed an appeal with the national commission. It reversed the state commission’s decision and reduced the interest rate to 6%.

The respondent filed a review petition. The review application was considered and granted ex parte order.

Being dissatisfied with the aforementioned order, the appellant-complainant filed a review application before the national commission, objecting to the ex-parte order. However, the national commission rejected the review application.

APPELLANTS CONTENTION:

The appellant-complainant claims that the respondent Dr. R.P. Singh misrepresented to the national commission that he had deposited only Rs. 2 lakhs, which were paid to the appellant-complainant P.C. Jain in 2011. In fact, the appellant P.C. Jain specifically claims that he has received no compensation for the loss of vision he suffered as a result of the respondent Dr. R.P. Singh’s medical negligence. The national commission granted Dr. R.P. Singh’s review petition ex parte without notice to the complainant.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

 The court overturned the national commission’s orders and ordered respondent Dr. R.P. Singh to pay appellant P.C. Jain Rs. 2 lakhs in compensation, plus interest at the rate of 12% annually, starting on the day the complaint was filed and continuing until the money was actually received. Within two months of today, the respondent Dr. R.P. Singh must give the appellant-complainant the compensation as instructed above; if not, the interest rate will increase to 15% annually.

The court imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000/- on the respondent Dr. R.P. Singh for procuring the order by making a false representation that the amount of compensation had been paid to the appellant-complainant P.C. Jain.

 

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Power to record additional evidence should only be exercised when the party was prevented from presenting the evidence in the trial: Supreme Court

Case title: Ajitsinh Chehuji Rathod vs State of Gujarat & Anr.

Case no.: SLP(Crl.) No(s). 16641 of 2023

Decided on: 29.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice B.R Gavai, Hon’ble Justice Sandeep Mehta

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The current SLP appeal is based on a Gujarat High Court order. The appellant was charged with violating Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, alleging that a cheque in the amount of Rs. 10 lakhs issued by the appellant in favour of the complainant Shri Mahadevsinh Cahndaasinh Champavat was dishonoured “for insufficient funds and account dormant” when presented in the bank.

During the trial, the appellant filed an application with the learned trial Court requesting that the cheque be sent to a handwriting expert for comparison of the handwriting and signature appearing on it, claiming that his signatures had been forged on the cheque in question. The trial Court denied the application and convicted the appellant. On appeal, the high court rejected and upheld the conviction. As a result, the Supreme Court is hearing the appeal.

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

The appellant filed the appeal with an application under Section 391 CrPC. According to Section 391 of the CrPC, the power to record additional evidence should only be exercised when the party making such request was prevented from presenting the evidence in the trial despite due diligence, or when the facts giving rise to such prayer were discovered at a later stage during the pendency of the appeal and that non-recording of such evidence may result in the failure of justice.

The NI Act’s Section 118 Subclause (e) clearly presumes that endorsements made on a negotiable instrument are made in the order that they appear on the document. Therefore, the holder of the disputed cheque, who is the complainant in this instance, benefits from the presumption that the endorsements on it are authentic.

APPELLANTS CONTENTIONS:

After comparing the admitted signature of the accused appellant with the signature on the disputed cheque, the appellant filed an application to have the handwriting expert’s opinion. In the aforementioned application, there was also a request to summon the relevant Post Office officer in order to support the defence’s argument that the accused appellant never received the notice required by Section 138 of the NI Act.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court ruled that a certified copy of a bank-issued document is admissible under the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act of 1891 even without any formal proof. Thus, we believe that if the appellant wanted to prove that the signatures on the cheque issued from his account were not genuine, he could have obtained a certified copy of his specimen signatures from the Bank and made a request to summon the concerned Bank official in defence to give evidence about the genuineness or otherwise of the signature on the cheque.

The court stated that, despite having the opportunity, the accused appellant did not question the bank official examined in defence to establish his plea of purported mismatch of signature on the cheque in question, and thus, they are of the firm opinion that the appellate Court was not required to come to the appellant’s aid and assistance in collecting defence evidence at his behest. The presumptions under the NI Act, while rebuttable, work in favour of the complainant. As a result, it is up to the accused to rebut such presumptions by presenting appropriate defence evidence, and the Court cannot be expected to assist the accused in gathering evidence on his behalf. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed.

 

 

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