MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIMS: Investment of Compensation Amount in FDs
Sufficient discretion has been given to the Motor Accident Tribunals not to insist on investment of the compensation amount in long term fixed deposit and to release even the whole amount in the case of literate persons. However, the Tribunals are often taking a very rigid stand and are mechanically ordering in almost all cases that the amount of compensation shall be invested in long term fixed deposit. They are taking such a rigid and mechanical approach without understanding and appreciating the distinction drawn by the Supreme Court in the case of minors, illiterate claimants and widows and in the case of semi-literate and literate persons. These guidelines were issued by the Apex Court only to safeguard the interests of the claimants, particularly the minors, illiterates and others whose amounts are sought to be withdrawn on some fictitious grounds. As held, the guidelines were not to be understood to mean that the Tribunals were to take a rigid stand while considering an application seeking release of the money.
A.V. Padma v. R. Venugopal, C.A. No. 1095 of 2012; Decided on 27-1-2012 (SC) [Cyriac Joseph and T.S. Thakur, JJ.]
DISHONOUR OF CHEQUES: Offence by Company
The offence under the Negotiable Instruments Act which was previously non-compoundable in view of section 320 (9) of the Code of Criminal Procedure has now become compoundable. However, no special procedure has been prescribed under the Act relating to compounding of an offence. In the absence of special procedure relating to compounding, the procedure under section 320 of the Code shall automatically apply in view of clear mandate of sub-section (2) of section 4 of the Code.
In the case of a company, sanction of a scheme under section 391 of the Companies Act, does not amount to automatic compounding of an offence under section 138 read with section 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act even without the consent of the complainant.
JIK Industries Limited v. Amarlal V. Jumani, Crl. A. No. 263 of 2012; Decided on 1-2-2012 (SC) [Asok Kumar Ganguly and Jagdish Singh Khehar, JJ.]
INTER-CASTE MARRIAGES: Status of Offsprings
In an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the determination of the caste of the offspring is essentially a question of fact to be decided on the basis of the facts adduced in each case. The determination of caste of a person born of an inter-caste marriage or marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal cannot be determined in complete disregard of attending facts of the case. In an inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal there may be a presumption that the child has the caste of the father. This presumption may be stronger in the case where in the inter-caste marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the husband belongs to a forward caste. But by no means the presumption is conclusive or irrebutable and it is open to the child of such marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the mother who belonged to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe. By virtue of being the son of a forward caste father he did not have any advantageous start in life but on the contrary suffered the deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other member of the community to which his/her mother belonged. Additionally, that he was always treated a member of the community to which her mother belonged not only by that community but by people outside the community as well.
Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika v. State of Gujarat, C.A. No. 654 of 2012; Decided on 18-1-2012 (SC) [Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, JJ.]
BAIL: Criminal Antecedents
Merely on the basis of criminal antecedents of an accused, the claim of bail cannot be rejected. It is the duty of the court to find out the role of the accused in which he has been charged and other circumstances such as possibility of fleeing away from the jurisdiction of the court.
In the instant case, the accused was a sitting Member of Parliament facing several criminal cases. It was also not in dispute that most of the cases ended in acquittal for want of proper witnesses or pending trial. The complainant, President of a political party alleged that he was going towards the venue of a meeting with his convoy being led by 10 to 15 supporters who were riding on motorcycles. At that moment, the accused came from behind in the convoy of cars and immediately after crossing the car of the complainant and his supporters, the accused came out of his vehicle armed with a gun along with his supporters who were also carrying guns and they started giving kick blows to one of the motorcycle riders who fell down and pillion riders of the said motor cycle were fired upon killing one of them. The accused was arrested after about 12 days and is in jail since 24-8-2009. The trial has commenced by examining the two witnesses. The High Court granted him conditional bail and the Supreme Court has upheld the order.
Maulana Mohd. Amir Rashadi v. State of UP, Crl. A. No. 159 of 2012; Decided on 16-1-2012 (SC) [P. Sathasivam and J. Chelameswar, JJ.]
CORRUPTION CASES: Complaint by a Citizen
There is no provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which bars a citizen from filing a complaint for prosecution of a public servant who is alleged to have committed an offence.
Grant or refusal of sanction is not a quasi judicial function and the person for whose prosecution the sanction is sought is not required to be heard by the Competent Authority before it takes a decision in the matter. If the Competent Authority is satisfied that the material placed before it is sufficient for prosecution of the public servant, then it is required to grant sanction. The requirement to take the decision with a reasonable dispatch is of the essence in such a situation. As suggested, all proposals for sanction placed before any Sanctioning Authority, empowered to grant sanction for the prosecution of a public servant must be decided within a period of three months of the receipt of the proposal by the concerned authority.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy v. Dr. Manmohan Singh, 2012 (2) SCALE 12 (SC); Decided on 31-1-2012 [G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly, JJ.]
2G SPECTRUM CASE: Cancellation of Licences
The Unified Access Service licences with 2G Spectrum granted to private respondent on the basis of ‘first-come-first served’ policy and on the basis of 2001 prices by invoking theory of ‘level playing field’, are declared illegal and are quashed. As directed by the Supreme Court, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India shall make fresh recommendations for grant of licences and allocation of spectrum in 2G band in 22 Service Areas by auction.
Respondents Nos. 2,3 and 9 who have been benefited at the cost of Public Exchequer by a wholly arbitrary and unconstitutional action taken by the DOT for grant of UAS Licences and allocation of spectrum in 2G band and who off-loaded their stakes for many thousand crores in the name of fresh infusion of equity or transfer of equity have been directed to pay cost of ` 5 crore each. Respondents Nos. 4,6,7 and 10 shall pay cost of ` 50 lakhs each.
Spectrum has been internationally accepted as a scarce, finite and renewable natural resource which is susceptible to degradation in case of inefficient utilization. It has a high economic value in the light of the demand for it on account of the tremendous growth in the telecom sector. It has been held that the State is the legal owner of the natural resources as a trustee of the people and although it is empowered to distribute the same, the process of distribution must be guided by the constitutional principles including the doctrine of equality and larger public good. The State and/or its agencies cannot give largessee to any person according to the sweet will and whims of the political entities and/or officers of the State.
Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India, WP (C) No. 423 of 2010; Decided on 2-2-2012 (SC): 2012 (2) SCALE 180 (SC) [G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly, JJ.]