Monthly Archives: August 2017

Non-Arbitrable Disputes

Ordinarily every civil or commercial dispute whether based on contract or otherwise which is capable of being decided by a Civil Court is in principle capable of being adjudicated upon and resolved by arbitration “subject to the dispute being governed by the arbitration agreement” unless the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal is excluded either expressly or by necessary implication.
In Booz-Allen and Hamilton Inc. v. SBI Home Finance Ltd., (2011) 5 SCC 532, the Hon’ble Apex Court set down certain examples of non-arbitrable disputes such as:
(a) Disputes relating to rights and liabilities which give rise to or arise out of criminal offences;
(b) Matrimonial Disputes relating to divorce, judicial separation, restitution of conjugal rights and child custody;
(c) Matters of Guardianship;
(d) Insolvency and Winding Up.
(e) Testamentary matters, such as the grant of probate, letters of administration and succession certificates; and
(f) Eviction or tenancy matters governed by special statutes where a tenant enjoys special protection against eviction and specific courts are conferred with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the dispute.
(g) The enforcement of a mortgage has been held to be a right in rem for which proceedings in arbitration would not be maintainable. In Vimal Kishore Shah v. Jayesh Dinesh Shah, 2016 (119) ALR 428, the Hon’ble Apex Court added a seventh category of cases, namely, disputes relating to trusts, trustees and beneficiaries arising out of a trust deed and Trust Act.

In Skypak Courier Ltd.v. Tata Chemicals Ltd., 2000 (40) ALR 255, it was held that the existence of an arbitration clause will not be a bar to the entertainment of a complaint by a forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, since the remedy provided under the law is in addition to the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Kamalkant Automobiles, 2017 (123) ALR 369.

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Filed under Arbitration, Non-Arbitrable Disputes

Final Decision – In A Partition Suit

In Venkata Reddy v. Pethi Reddy, AIR 1963 SC 992, it has been laid down that the preliminary decree for partition is final. It also embodies the final decision of the court. The question of finality has been discussed thus:
“The word ‘decision’ even in its popular sense means a concluded opinion (see Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary – 3rd Edition, Vol. I, P. 743). Where, therefore, the decision is embodied in the judgment which is followed by a decree finality must naturally attach itself to it in the sense that it is no longer open to question by either party except in an appeal, review or revision petition as provided for by law. It was further observed:
The mere declaration of the rights of the plaintiff by the preliminary decree would not amount to a final decision for it is well known that even if a preliminary decree is passed either in a mortgage suit or in a partition suit, there are certain contingencies in which such a preliminary decree can be modified or amended and therefore would not become final.” T. Ravi v. B. Chinna Narasimha, 2017 (123) ALR 305.

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Filed under Civil Law, Decision

Permanent Alimony – Award of

Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 confers power upon the court to grant a permanent alimony to either spouse who claims the same by making an application. Sub-section (2) of Section 258 of the Hindu Marriage Act confers ample power on the court to vary, modify or discharge any order for permanent alimony or permanent maintenance that may have been made in any proceeding under the Act under the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of Section 25. In exercising the power under Section 25(2), the Court would have regard to the “change in circumstances of the parties”. There must be some change in the circumstances of either party which may have to be taken into account when an application is made under sub-section (2) of Section 25 for variation, modification or rescission of the order as the Court may deem just.
In Dr. Kulbhushan Kumar v. Raj Kumari, (1970) 3 SCC 129, it was held that 25% of the husband’s net salary would be just and proper to be awarded as maintenance to the wife. The amount of permanent alimony awarded to the wife must be befitting the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance. Maintenance is always dependant on the factual situation of the case and the court would be justified in moulding the claim for maintenance passed on various factors. Kalyan Dey Chowdhury v. Rita Dey Chowdhury, 2017 (123) ALR 287.

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Filed under Matrimonial Dispute, Permanent Alimony

Joint Family Property – Presumption of

In D. S. Lakshmaiah v. L. Balasubramanyam, 2003 (95) RD 622 (SC), it was held that the legal principle, therefore, is that there is no presumption of a property being joint family property only on account of existence of a Joint Hindu Family. The one who asserts has to prove that the property is a joint family property. If, however, the person so asserting proves that there was nucleus with which the joint family property could be acquired, there would be presumption of the property being joint and the onus would shift on the person who claims it to be self acquired property to prove that he purchased the property with his own funds and not out of joint family nucleus that was available. In U.R. Virupakshappa v. Sarvamangala, 2009 (107) RD 90 (SC) held that it is well settled that the presumption in regard to existence of joint family gets weaker and weaker from descendant to descendant and such weak presumption can be rebutted by adducing of some evidence of separate possession of the property in which even the burden would shift to the plaintiff to prove that the family was a joint family. Bajrangi v. D.D.C., 2017 (136) RD 181

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Filed under Hindu Law, Joint Family Property

Proceeding – Meaning of

Hon’ble Supreme Court in Babu Lal v. Hazari Lal Kishori Lal, AIR 1982 SC 818, held that the word “proceeding” is not defined in the Act. Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines it as “carrying on of an action at law, a legal action or process, any act done by authority of a court of law : any step taken in a cause by either party”. The term “proceeding” is a very comprehensive term and generally speaking means a prescribed course of action for enforcing a legal right. It is not a technical expression with a definite meaning attached to it, but one the ambit of whose meaning will be governed by the Statute. It indicates a prescribed mode in which judicial business is conducted. Jagdish Narayan Tandon v. Onkar Nath Tandon, 2017 (3) AWC 3088.

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Industrial Dispute – Jurisdiction

In Nand Ram v. Garware Polyster Ltd., (2016) 149 FLR 306, it was held that where the management at Aurangabad first took a decision to transfer the workman from Aurangabad to Pondicherry and then to close the unit at Pondicherry. It was then held that while industrial dispute of termination from service could validly be raised at Pondicherry, however, in such a case, it does not mean that the adjudication proceedings initiated at Aurangabad, where the management took a decision to close the Pondicherry unit, were without jurisdiction.
In matters of industrial dispute, the principle of part cause of action does apply and there is no rule, that only if the two or more States will be competent to make a reference. It will depend on the facts of each case. Also, it may have to be borne in mind, how much or which part of the cause of action arose inside the State where a reference happens to be made. Also, in case of two references arising in two different States, involving the same set of facts or cause of action, different tests may have to be evolved to see which of the two references arose first or which of the reference is more comprehensive or which may require to be decided first or which would suite the parties. Veritaz Health Care Ltd. v. State of U.P.¸ 2017 (3) AWC 3051.

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Provisional Assessment under Section 126 of the Electricity Act

Sub-section (1) of Section 126 of the 2003 Act provides that if on an inspection, the Assessing Authority comes to the conclusion that consumer has indulged in unauthorized use of Electricity, the Assessing Officer shall provisionally assess to the best of his judgment, the electricity charges payable by such person or by any person benefited by such use. Therefore, the condition precedent to the provisional assessment under Section 126(1) is a conclusion by the Assessing Officer that the person concerned is indulged with unauthorized use of electricity. Such satisfaction cannot be permitted to be recorded on the mere vagaries of the Assessing Officer unless a fair opportunity of hearing in defense before the said authority is provided.
It is well settled that principles of natural justice, unless excluded by the act in question or by necessary implication cannot be held to be inapplicable to the charge like unauthorized use of electric energy, which may, in some cases, also amount to investigation under Section 135 of the Act. Shishir Jain v. Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd., 2017 (3) AWC 3084.

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Filed under Electricity Laws, Provisional Assessment