Acquittal of Husband under Section 498-A IPC

It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution for redressal of his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot ipso facto be treated as cruelty. But, when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A IPC, leveled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has been meted out on the husband. Rani Narasimha Sastry v. Rani Suneela Rani, (2020) 18 SCC 247. 

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Arbitration Agreement – Scope of Arbitrator’s Jurisdiction

        Arbitration being a matter of contract, the parties are entitled to fix boundaries as to confer and limit the jurisdiction and legal authority of the arbitrator. An arbitration agreement can be comprehensive and broad to include any dispute or could be confined to specific disputes. The issue of scope of arbitrator’s jurisdiction invariably arises when the disputes that are arbitrable are enumerated or the arbitration agreement provides for exclusions as in case of excepted matters. The arbitration agreement may be valid, but the Arbitral Tribunal in view of the will of the parties expressed in the arbitration agreement, may not have jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute. The will of the parties as to the scope of arbitration is a subjective act and personal to the parties. Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, (2021) 2 SCC 1.

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Application for Permanent  Alimony— under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act

As per Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the prayer for permanent alimony is to be accorded consideration by the Court at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, on application made to it for the purpose by either the wife or the husband, as the case may be. There is nothing in Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which may suggest that an application for permanent alimony cannot be filed during the suit proceedings. Though, once filed, it is to be addressed at the time of passing the decree or at any time subsequent thereto. Therefore, if any such application is filed, framing an issue in that regard is not prohibited. Though, such issue would have to be addressed at the time of final decision of the petition. Thus, if any such issue has been framed in a divorce petition, it is expected that a Family Court would decide the same at the time of deciding the petition or any time thereafter. Om Tiwari v. Shikha Tiwari, 2021 (147) ALR 335.  

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Joint Liability Under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act

A person who is the signatory to the cheque and the cheque is drawn by that person on an account maintained by him and the cheque has been issued for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability and the said cheque has been returned by the bank unpaid, such person can be said to have committed an offence. Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act does not speak about the joint liability. Even in case of a joint liability, in case of individual persons, a person other than a person who has drawn the cheque on an account maintained by him, cannot be prosecuted for the offence under Section 138 of the NI Act. A person might have been jointly liable to pay the debt jointly, but if such a person who might have been liable to pay the debt jointly, cannot be prosecuted unless the bank account is jointly maintained and that he was a signatory to the cheque. Alka Khandu Avhad v. Amar Syamprasad Mishra, (2021) 4 SCC 675.

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Divorce On the Ground of – Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

In R. Srinivas Kumar v. R. Shametha, 2020 (138) ALR 265, divorce was granted on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, after examining various judicial pronouncements. It has been noted that such powers are exercised not in routine, but in rare cases, in view of the absence of legislation in this behalf, where it is found that a marriage is totally unworkable, emotionally dead, beyond salvage and has broken down irretrievably. That was a case where parties had been living apart for the last twenty two years and reunion was found to be impossible. Not only is the continuity of this marriage fruitless, but it is causing further emotional trauma and disturbance to both the parties. Munish Kakkar v. Nidhi Kakkar, 2021 (145) ALR 202.

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Establishment of a Competing Business – Cannot Give Rise To A Legal Wrong

        The establishment of a competing business which may have an adverse impact on his profitability cannot give rise to a legal wrong. Such actions are clearly barred on the principle of damnum  sine injuria which essentially holds that the law does not recognize any remedy unless it is established that the person had suffered a legal wrong or to put it differently a wrong which is recognized or is recognizable in law. In the case of Jasbhai Motibhai Desai v. Roshan Kumar, (1976) 1 SCC 671 it was held as under:         “Thus, in substance, the appellant’s stand is that the setting up of a cinema house in the town will adversely affect his, monopolistic commercial interest, causing pecuniary harm and loss of business from competition. Such harm or loss is not wrongful in the eye of law, because it does not result in injury to a legal right or a legally protected, interest, the business competition causing it being a lawful activity. The reason why the law suffers a person knowingly to inflict harm of this description on another, without holding him accountable for it, is that such harm done to an individual is a gain to the society at large. Amir Kumar Mishra v. Union of India, 2021 (145) ALR 1.  

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Appointment of Arbitrator – Under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Sub-section (6) of Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 provides that where, under an appointment procedure agreed upon by the parties, (i) a party fails to act as required under that procedure; or (ii) the parties, or the two appointed arbitrators, fail to reach an agreement expected of them under that procedure; or (iii) a person including an institution, fails to perform any function entrusted to him or it under that procedure, the appointment of arbitrator(s) is to be made upon an application made by the party concerned. M/s S.K. Industries v. State of U.P., 2021 (145) ALR 190.  

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Rectification of Contract — Can be Subject Matter of a Suit for Specific Performance

A perusal of Section 26(1) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 would show that when through fraud or mutual mistake of parties, a contract or other instrument in writing does not express the real intent of the parties, then either party or his representative in interest may either institute a suit to have the instrument rectified or as defendant, may, in addition to any defence open to him, ask for rectification of the instrument. Importantly, under Section 26(3) of the Specific Relief Act, a party may pray in a rectification suit for specific performance and if the court thinks fit, may after rectifying the contract, grant specific performance of the contract. Thus, what is made clear by this Section is that the rectification of a contract can be the subject matter of a suit for specific performance, which, can be the subject matter of an arbitral proceeding. Deccan Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. Regency Mahavir Properties, 2021 (144) ALR 250.

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Family Settlement – Clause Contemplating Preferential Offer

When in an agreement it is stated that the property cannot be sold without concurrence of the three brothers in writing, there cannot be any doubt about its meaning. It means what it says which is that should a brother want to sell the property, the other two brothers must agree in writing. This clause cannot be described as vague. This is different from the aspect as to whether it is a clog on ownership or whether it is otherwise unenforceable but it cannot be described as being vague. The second contention is that when a decision is taken by the brothers permitting sale by a third brother, then, first preference is to be given to both the other brothers. What is intended is that after the written concurrence is obtained for selling in order that property is not sold to a third party/stranger, the other two brothers are given an opportunity to buy that property. This portion of the clause cannot also be described as vague as such. No doubt, it could be argued that the price at which the offer is to be made is not expressly mentioned. It only contemplates a preferential offer being treated as a condition precedent to a brother affecting a sale outside of a family to a stranger. The price can only be understood as market price which would be the fair price. Tilak Raj Bakshi v. Avinash Chand Sharma, (2020) 15 SCC 605.

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Family Settlement – Governed By A Special Equity Principle

In Hari Shankar Singhania v. Gaur Hari Singhania, (2006) 4 SCC 658 it was held as under:

            “A family settlement is treated differently from any other formal commercial settlement as such settlement in the eye of the law ensures peace and goodwill among the family members. Such family settlements generally meet with approval of the courts. Such settlements are governed by a special equity principle where the terms are fair and bona fide, taking into account the well – being of a family.             Technicalities of limitation, etc. should not be put at risk of the implementation of a settlement drawn by a family, which is essential for maintaining peace and harmony in a family.” Tilak Raj Bakshi v. Avinash Chand Sharma, (2020) 15 SCC 605.

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