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In an NDPS case, the High Court has granted bail owing to a 10-gram discrepancy in the inventory of seized charas: Bombay High Court

Title: Sunil Shishupal Nayak v. State of Maharashtra

Decided on: OCTOBER 23, 2023

Writ C No. – Bail Application NO. 1450 OF 2023

CORAM: M. S. Karnik, J

INTRODUCTION

Sunil Shishupal Nayak requested bail in this case in order to face charges under sections 8(c), 20(c), and 29 of the NDPS Act. There was a discrepancy in Charas possession in this case. The applicant claimed that drying caused a weight change after being arrested with one kilogram and ten grams of Charas. The NDPS Act’s provisions and the significance of the weight disparity were the deciding factors in the court’s decision regarding the bail application.

FACTS OF THE CASE

In a case filed on April 16, 2022, Sunil Shishupal Nayak was charged under the NDPS Act for having a large quantity of “Charas.” A weight disparity surfaced during the legal proceedings; at first, Nayak was discovered in possession of 1 kg and 10 grams of Charas, which were deemed to be commercial quantities; however, the recorded weight was only 1 kg following a 59-day drying period. The charges and penalties in the case were contingent upon Charas’s legal classification. Nayak requested bail, which would have affected his freedom to stand trial.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND DECISION

 The court granted bail to Sunil Shishupal Nayak, who was charged under the NDPS Act in connection with a “Charas” possession case involving a weight discrepancy, was granted bail by the court. The court declined to make any pretrial rulings, emphasizing that matters pertaining to the weight of the contraband should be resolved during the trial. The results of the investigation, Nayak’s prolonged detention, and his lack of previous criminal history all played a role in the decision. Conditions attached to bail were put in place to make sure he cooperated with the court system.

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Written by- Kusuma R

Bombay Hc

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The Calcutta High Court has emphasized that maritime claims require supporting evidence and should not be characterized by harsh or oppressive measures.

Title: Hindustan Aegis LPG Ltd. vs. Owners of Vessel MT TSM Pollux.

Decided on:  19th October, 2023.

Writ C No. – 9266889

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya.

INTRODUCTION

Alleged carelessness and damage to marine loading arms at Haldia Oil Jetty Port I give rise to an admiralty jurisdiction dispute in the case of Hindustan Aegis LPG Ltd. vs. Owners of Vessel MT TSM Pollux. The plaintiff requests compensation, but the court challenges the claim’s validity and emphasizes the need for supporting documentation and just compensation. The case brings to light the intricacies of admiralty law, and an order is made for a joint survey to evaluate the harm.

FACTS OF THE CASE

In this instance, an incident happened in September 2023 at Haldia Oil Jetty Port I, where the ship MT TSM Pollux harmed Hindustan Aegis LPG Ltd.’s marine loading and unloading arms.

The plaintiff filed a claim under Section 73 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, alleging the owners of the vessel were negligent. As long as the loss is predictable and a direct result of the breach, Section 73 provides compensation for losses resulting from contract violations.

The plaintiff’s claim was examined by the court, which emphasized the need for supporting documentation and just compensation.

 To evaluate the damage, a cooperative survey was mandated. This case serves as a reminder of the intricacies involved in admiralty law and how Section 73 is applied to determine compensation.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND DECISIONThe court acknowledges the plaintiff’s claim for damages caused to marine equipment by the vessel MT TSM POLLUX. Due to the urgency of the matter, the court orders the arrest of the vessel to secure the plaintiff’s claims. The document specifies the conditions for the arrest order, including a deadline for the plaintiff to pay court fees and the possibility of the order being vacated if the defendant deposits a specified amount as security. Various authorities are instructed to assist in implementing the arrest order, and the document sets a returnable date for the application. It also warns that failure to pay the court fees will result in the dismissal of the suit. 

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Written by- Kusuma R

Calcutta Hc

 

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The Paddy Land Act prohibits digging wells on paddy land for commercial purposes. The Kerala High Court.

Title: Hema Anil v State of Kerala.

Decided on: 18th, October 2023

Writ C No. – 23660 Of 2023

CORAM: The Honorable Mr. Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas.

INTRODUCTION

The Kerala High Court is considering a case concerning the commercial use of paddy land, specifically the drilling of wells for a packaged drinking water manufacturing facility. Hema Anil, the petitioner, requested authorization to drill a well for this business venture. The Panchayat and the Ground Water Department, however, expressed worries regarding the legality and ecological effects of such actions. This case emphasizes the value of protecting wetlands and paddy fields in Kerala, India, as well as the interpretation of pertinent laws and regulations.

FACTS OF THE CASE

Hema Anil requested permission to drill a well on paddy land in this case before the Kerala High Court in order to pursue a business venture that would involve the production of packaged drinking water. The property’s suitability for well construction was verified by the Ground Water Department. Nonetheless, the Panchayat and the authorities brought up legal and ecological issues. The main question in the case is whether drilling wells on paddy land for profit complies with Kerala’s applicable laws and regulations. In the end, the court denied the writ petition, highlighting the need to protect wetlands and paddy fields for their ecological value.

COURTS ANALYSIS AND DECISION

The Kerala High Court emphasized the ecological significance of protecting these areas by outlawing well-digging on paddy land for profit. It rejected the petition, highlighting the fact that commercial operations on such lands run counter to the goals of the law.

“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- Kusuma R

Kerala Hc

 

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Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and held that the Court in exercise of power under Article 226 of Constitution of India does not substitute its view for the view of the competent authority.

Title: RABINDRA KUMAR SAHA versus UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

Judgment delivered on: 18th July, 2023

+ W.P.(C) 9118/2023 & CM APPL. 34697/2023

CORAM:  HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV SACHDEVA

      HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANOJ JAIN

Introduction

The fact that the petitioner’s term has been reduced alone does not mean that the decision was not made with the organization’s best interests in mind.  The Delhi High Court denied the plea and ruled that, in using its powers granted by Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, the court cannot substitute its own judgement for that of the appropriate authorities.

Facts of the case

The petitioner requests the quashing of the decision dated 09.06.2023, among other things, on the grounds that it is against the posting policies issued by the respondent on 14.05.1999 and 15.01.2013. Additionally, the petitioner asks the respondent to issue a directive allowing him to keep his position as Chief Engineer (P) at Project Chetak.

By the impugned order dated 09.06.2023, petitioner has been posted to Headquarters, Director General Border Road (DGBR) at New Delhi.

The petitioner challenges the ruling on the grounds that the petitioner’s posting duration was reduced from the customary tenure of two to three years. Furthermore, it is argued that the correct and mandated posting and transfer procedure was not followed in this particular instance. The petitioner’s claims that the proper posting procedure requires the suggestion of posting at his level to be routed via the Additional Director General (HQs) for determination at the level of DGBR.

Analysis of the court

It is a well-established legal principle that the Court, when exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, does not replace the opinion of the competent authority with its own. The decision was made by the appropriate authority, the DGBR, taking into account organisational restrictions and organisational interest. The fact that the petitioner’s term has been reduced on its own does not mean that the decision was not made with the organization’s best interests in mind.

The posting policy, which the petitioner also cites, states that postings must take organisational needs into account and that these needs would take precedence over all other factors.

Given the structure of the organisation, the officer’s personal interests will take a back seat to organisational and functional requirements, which will take precedence over all other factors. There is no question that the Director General of Border Road is the senior and most competent authority with regard to posting. The contested posting order was issued by the Director General Border Road, or DGBR, of the relevant authority.

The competent authority has taken into account both the petitioner’s representation and the ADG (North-West)’s proposal, but due to organisational limitations, he has chosen not to recall either and has rejected the representation.

Additionally, we reject the claim made by the petitioner’s knowledgeable attorney that the proper procedure was not followed. The Director General Border Roads has final say in all matters.

It is not implied that the responsible authority did not take into account all pertinent factors and organisational interest only because it is claimed that the suggestion for the posting was not routed through the ADG (HQs). It is also undisputed that the ADG (HQs) recommendations are not binding on the DGBR, the final decision authority, as the DGBR is a superior authority to the ADG (HQs). It is also undisputed that the DGBR has the authority to reject the ADG’s recommendations.

We believe that the decision made by the competent authority, the DGBR, does not require interference even if there was a procedural error in not passing the file through the ADG (HQs), given that the DGBR has already considered the recommendation and representation and taken a decision in the organization’s best interest. The respondent’s argument that the file should not be sent to ADG (HQs) and that correct procedure has already been followed is, of course, unaffected by this.

we find that no malafide can be attributed to the respondent and impugned posting order does not warrant any interference by this Court.

Merely because there is an instance of an officer whose posting orders have been repeatedly changed citing organizational interest would not imply that in the case of the petitioner, organizational interest has not been kept in mind.

we find that there is no infirmity in the posting order or that the same warrants interference in exercise of power under Article 226 of Constitution of India. We find no merit in the petition.

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Written By Shreyanshu Gupta

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Delhi High Court Dismissed the writ of certiorari and granted petitioner liberty to argue their matter before Armed forces tribunal

Title: LT COL PRAVAL PETER RETD & ORS. versus UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

Reserved on: 14th July, 2023

Pronounced on: 18 th July, 2023

+ W.P.(C) 3042/2023 & CM APPL. 11815/2023

CORAM: HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. JUSTICE SATISH CHNADRA SHARMA

    HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV NARULA

Introduction

Delhi High Court Dismissed the writ of certiorari and granted petitioner liberty to argue their matter before Armed forces tribunal, Keeping in mind the principles outlined in the judgment of Squadron Leader Neelam Chahar and also keeping in mind a more prudent redressal path for petitioner which is more efficient and effective.

Facts of the case

The petitioners, who were ‘premature retirees’ from the Indian Army and Air Force, held Permanent Commissions before their early retirement. According to them, their retirement pension and other perks were Due to their failure to fulfil the required twenty years of service, which is a requirement for getting a full pro-rata service pension, it was unjustly denied to them.

The Petitioners were allegedly forced to retire early after successfully completing 10 years of service, but before reaching the twenty-year milestone, due to reasons beyond their control. Despite the fact that this early exit was approved by the appropriate authority, the petitioners argued that the respondents had conveniently ignored the pre-commissioning military training and reserve service periods, which when taken into account would total more than the required twenty years of service for the grant of a service pension. They should be qualified for the pension because these periods were essential and contributed to their overall service time.

The Petitioners demand service pension, even on a pro rata basis, due to them on reason of their early retirement, based on the afore-noted inconsistencies in computation of their service periods and application of criteria for providing benefits to them.

They had previously filed a writ petition [W.P.(C) 11893/2021], but due to the nature of the reliefs requested, it was rejected by order dated October 22, 2021, with the liberty to continue agitating the subject by launching a public interest lawsuit [“PIL”].

Petitioners elucidated their personal interest in the matter and urged the Court to consider their case within the ambit of the aforesaid writ petition, rather than as a PIL.

The policy dated February 19, 1987, which reportedly served as the basis for Respondents’ decision to deny benefits of pro-rata pension and other benefits like pension commutation and ex-servicemen status, was among the policies that Petitioners sought to have declared invalid in the instant petition in the nature of a PIL. They also sought a writ of certiorari to overturn the existing policy, non-statutory pension regulations, and other related instructions.

Analysis of the court

According to Regulation 34 of the Pension Regulations for the Army, 2008, which stipulates a minimum qualifying service of twenty years as a prerequisite for officers to receive service or retiring pension, the impugned communication, dated April 24th, 2019, cited in the aforementioned prayer clause, is Respondents’ decision.

Respondents claim that because the Petitioners are considered premature retirees, they are not eligible to benefit from Ministry of Defence policy dated 19th February, 1987.

It is important to emphasise at this point that the Petitioners fall under the purview of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, and have access to a specialised forum for airing their complaints, the Armed Forces Tribunal (the “AFT”). However, the Petitioners opted to file a writ petition before this Court given to the ambiguity surrounding AFT’s ability to consider issues about the constitutionality of subordinate legislations, including rules, regulations, notices, and circulars.

Fortunately for the Petitioners, a recent decision by the full bench of this Court in Squadron Leader Neelam Chahar v. Union of India and Others, W.P.(C) 9139/2019, has clarified the issue surrounding the competence of the AFT to entertain petitions challenging circulars, statutory rules, regulations, and policies. The court held that the Armed Forces Tribunal is competent to hear the challenge to the vires of the subordinate legislations, rules, regulations, notification.

We feel that the AFT, given its specialised character, would provide a more swift determination for the Petitioners’ complaints given the recent clarification provided by the judgement mentioned above and taking into account the larger circumstances. There is no question that the Petitioners have a direct, personal interest in the issue, which usually precludes using a PIL. We are also aware that the petitioners who filed the current PIL did so with the freedom provided by a coordination bench, and that their perception of our decision to refer their case to the AFT may be unjust given that they have been exploring legal options since 2021 without receiving any redress.

However, our understanding relating to the jurisdiction of the AFT, has evolved in the wake of the judgment referenced above. Therefore, it becomes prudent to steer the Petitioners towards a path of redressal that is more fitting, efficient, and effective i.e., the AFT.

The current PIL is dismissed, together with any related ongoing petitions. The Petitioners are given the freedom to express the complaints made in their petition before the Armed Forces Tribunal while keeping in mind the guidelines provided in the aforementioned Squadron Leader Neelam Chahar judgement.

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Written By – Shreyanshu Gupta

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