Monthly Archives: March 2015

“Food” and “Foodstuff” – Meaning of

The meaning of “foodstuff” according to lexicographers is as follows:
1. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary – A substance suitable for consumption as food.
2. Collins English Dictionary – Any material, substance, etc. that can be used as food.
3. Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners – A type of food.
The aforesaid clarifies that the expression “foodstuff” in itself does not constitute a class of products but only encompasses the products which fall into the category of “food”. This necessitates examination of the term “food” to ascertain import of “foodstuffs”.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Third Edition) defines “food” as “what one takes into the system to maintain life and growth”. According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, “food” means:
“material consisting of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and supplementary substances….that is taken or absorbed into the body of an organism in order to sustain growth, repair and all vital processes and to furnish energy for all activity of the organism.
Something that nourishes or develops or sustains.”
Therefore, “foodstuff” would refer to anything with a nutritive value which is consumed for growth or sustaining one’s life.
In Welcom Hotel v. State of A.P., (1983) 4 SCC 575, the Court while construing the term “foodstuff”, has observed that the expression “foodstuffs” is made of two expressions, “food” plus “stuff”. The expression “food” has generally been understood to mean nutritive material absorbed or taken into the body of an organism which serves for the purposes of growth, work or repair and for the maintenance of vital process. While, the stuff which is used as food would be foodstuff and therefore, foodstuff is that which is taken into the system to maintain life and growth and to supply waste of tissue. Gulati and Company v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, (2014) 14 SCC 286.

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Public Employment – Transparency

An important requirement of public employment is that of transparency. Therefore, an advertisement must specify the number of posts available for selection and recruitment. The qualifications and other schedule of recruitment process should be published with certainty and clarity. The advertisement should also specify the rules under which the selection is to be made and in absence of the rules, the procedure under which the selection is likely to be undertaken. This is necessary to prevent arbitrariness and to avoid change of criteria of selection after the selection process is commenced, thereby unjustly benefiting someone at the cost of others. Renu v. District and Sessions Judge, (2014) 14 SCC 50.

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Rent – Meaning of

In P.L. Kureel Talib Mankab v. Beni Prasad, AIR 1976 All 362, it has been said that it is an established proposition that ‘rent’ includes not only what is ordinarily described as ‘rent’ but also payment in respect of special amenities provided by the landlord. Rent includes all payments agreed by the tenant to be paid to the landlord for the use and occupation not only of the building but also of furnishing, electric installation and other amenities.
The Apex Court also in Karnani Properties Ltd. v. Miss Augustine and others, AIR 1957 SC 309, held that the ‘rent’ is comprehensive enough to include all payments agreed by the tenant to be paid to the landlord for the use and occupation not only in respect of the building and its appurtenances but also in respect of furnishings, electric installations and other amenities agreed between the parties to be provided to the tenant.
In Raj Kumar Pandey v. Rama Nand Upadhyay, while dealing with the definition of ‘rent’ in the light of the provisions of Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act held that the definition of the ‘rent’ is very comprehensive and it includes service or any other thing of value to be rendered periodically or on any other specific occasions to the transferor by the transferee to enjoy the property transferred. It also held that water tax is a part of rent unless there is contract to the contrary.
In Smt. Raj Rani Kapoor v. Bhupinder Singh, 1986 (2) ARC 457, it was held that if tenant agrees to pay taxes, two situations may arise, either the taxes are payable alongwith the rent as part thereof or the tax amount may be payable separately in addition to the rent. It is always open to the parties to agree that the house tax and water tax to be paid as part of the rent. It was further held by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Smt. Raj Rani Kapoor v. Bhupinder Singh, 1991 (17) ALR 29, that for creating relationship of landlord and tenant the landlord transfer to the tenant the right to enjoy the property for a certain time or in perpetuity and anything which the tenant pays for this transfer of right to enjoy the property will be taken to be the ‘rent’ of the property.
The word ‘rent’ has been considered in Milap Chandra Jain v. Roop Kishor, 2014 (103) ALR 484 and it has been held therein that any periodic payment made by the tenant to the landlord for the enjoyment of the property which has been leased out either in the form of money or service or other things of value would constitute ‘rent’.
In Baleshwar Singh v. K.P. Singh, 2015 (108) ALR 136, it was held that as all taxes and charges towards fixtures and fittings were being paid together with rent, they will form part of the ‘rent’. Smt. Savitri Devi Didwania v. M/s Allied Pharmaceutical, 2015 (108) ALR 767.

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Jurisdiction of Arbitrators – Construction of Contract

In McDermott International v. Burn Standard Co., (2006) 11 SCC 181, it was held as under:
“It is trite that the terms of the contract can be express or implied. The conduct of the parties would also be a relevant factor in the matter of construction of a contract. The construction of the contract agreement is within the jurisdiction of the arbitrators having regard to the wide nature, scope and ambit of the arbitration agreement and they cannot be said to have misdirected themselves in passing the award by taking into consideration the conduct of the parties. It is also trite that correspondences exchanged by the parties are required to be taken into consideration for the purpose of construction of a contract. Interpretation of a contract is a matter for the arbitrator to determine, even if it gives rise to determination of a question of law.
Once, thus, it is held that the arbitrator had the jurisdiction, no further question shall be raised and the court will not exercise its jurisdiction unless it is found that there exists any bar on the face of the award.”
In M.S.K. Projects (I)(JV) Ltd. v. State of Rajasthan, (2011) 10 SCC 573, the court held:
“If the arbitrator commits an error in the construction of the contract, that is an error within his jurisdiction. But of he wanders outside the contract and deals with matters not allotted to him, he commits a jurisdictional error. Extrinsic evidence is admissible in such cases because the dispute is not something whjich arises under or in relation to the contract or dependant on the construction of the contract or to be determined within the award. The ambiguity of the award can, in such cases, be resolved by admitting extrinsic evidence. The rationale of this rule is that nature of the dispute is something which has to be determined outside and independent of what appears in the award. Such a jurisdictional error needs to be proved by evidence extrinsic to the award. Associate Builders v. Delhi Development Authority, (2015) 3 SCC 49.

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Rent Law – Object Of

The object of rent law is to balance the competing claims of the landlord on the one hand to recover possession of building let out to the tenant and of the tenant to be protected against arbitrary increase of rent or arbitrary eviction, when there is acute shortage of accommodation. Though, it is for the legislature to resolve such competing claims in terms of statutory provisions.
In Malpe Vishwanath Acharya v. State of Maharashtra, (1998) 2 SCC 1, the Hon’ble Supreme Court emphasized the need of social legislations like the Rent Control Act striking a balance between rival interests so as to be just to law. The law ought not to be unjust to one and give a disproportionate benefit or protection to another section of the society. While the shortage of accommodation makes it necessary to protect the tenants to save them from exploitation but at the same time the need to protect tenants is coupled with an obligation to ensure that the tenants are not conferred with a benefit disproportionately larger than the one needed. Socially progressive legislation must have a holistic perception and not a short sighted parochial approach.
In Arjun Khiamal Makhijani v. Jamnadas C. Tuliani, (1989) 4 SCC 612, it was observed that provisions contained in such legislations are capable of being categorized into two: those beneficial to the tenants and those beneficial to the landlord. As to a legislative provision beneficial to the landlord, an assertion that even with regard to such provision an effort should be made to interpret it in favour of the tenant, is a negation of the very principle of interpretation of a beneficial legislation. Sidhharth Vyas v. Ravi Nath Misra, (2015) 2 SCC 701.

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