Category Archives: Civil Law

No Right Accrues – To Highest Bidder

In Laxmikant v. Satyawan, (1996) 4 SCC 208, it was held as under:
“The person making the highest bid shall have no right to take back his bid. The decision of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees regarding acceptance or rejection of the bid shall be binding on the said person. The acceptance of the highest bid shall depend on the Board of Trustees. The trust shall reserve to itself the right to reject the highest or any bid.”
In State of U.P. v. Vijay Bahadur Singh, (1982) 2 SCC 365 it was laid down that there is no obligation to accept the highest bid. The Government is entitled even to change its policy from time to time according to the demands of the time.
Thus, it is apparent and explicit that even if the public auction had been completed and the respondent was the highest bidder, no right had accrued to him till the confirmation letter had been issued to him. HUDA v. Orchid Infrastructure Developers (P) Ltd., (2017) 4 SCC 243.

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Statutory Instrument – Issued under a Repealed Enactment

Section 24 of the U.P. General Clauses Act, 1904 clearly provides that a statutory instrument issued under a repealed enactment shall continue in force and be deemed to have been made or issued under the re-enacted provisions unless:

  • The re-enacted provision expressly provides otherwise; or
  • It is superseded by a statutory instrument made under the re-enacted provision.

The section further provides that the extent to which the statutory instrument under the repealed enactment shall continue is “so far as it is not inconsistent with the re-enacted provisions.”

In Chief Inspector of Mines v. Karam Chand Thapar, (1962) 1 SCR 9, the question that fell for consideration was whether or not the regulations framed under the Mines Act, 1923 continued in force after its repeal by the Mines Act, 1952. The accused was prosecuted for the violation of the regulations framed under the 1923 Act. The appellants applied for the quashing of the criminal proceedings on the ground that they were prosecuted for the breach of the regulations that had ceased to exist by the repeal of the Mines Act, 1923. The regulations were “as if enacted in this Act”, and therefore, repealed alongwith the 1923 Act. Harkesh Chand v. Krishan Gopal Mehta, (2017) 4 SCC 537.

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Legal Right – Meaning of

The meaning of the expression ‘person aggrieved’ will have to be ascertained with reference to the purpose and the provisions of the Statute. One of the meanings is that person will be held to be aggrieved by a decision if that decision is materially adverse to him. The restricted meaning of the expression requires denial or deprivation of legal rights. The expression ‘person aggrieved’ means a person who has suffered a legal grievance, i.e. a person against whom a decision has been pronounced which has lawfully deprived him of something or wrongfully refused him something.
A “legal right”, means an entitlement arising out of legal rules. Thus, it may be defined as an advantage or a benefit conferred upon a person by the rule of law. The expression “person aggrieved” does not include a person who suffers from a psychological or an imaginary injury; a person aggrieved must therefore, necessarily be one, whose right or interest has been adversely affected or jeopardised. A person aggrieved, means a person who is wrongly deprived of his entitlement which he is legally entitled to receive and it does not include any kind of disappointment or personal inconvenience. “Person aggrieved” means a person who is injured or he is adversely affected in a legal sense. Naval Kishore v. State of U.P., 2017 (122) ALR 121.

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Pre – Existing Duty Doctrine

Pre-existing duty doctrine is a principle under the Contract Act and states that if a party to a contract is under a pre-existing duty to perform, then no consideration is given for any modification of the contract and the modification is therefore voidable. In the 13th edition of Pollock and Mulla Indian Contract and Specific Relief Act in Vol. 1, it is mentioned at page 101 about the pre-existing obligation under law, which provides that:
“The performance of what one is already bound to do, either by general law or by a specific obligation to the other party, is not a good consideration for a promise; because such performance is no legal burden to the promisor, but rather relieves him of a duty. Neither is the promise of such performance a consideration, since it adds nothing to the obligation already existing.” Anuradha Samir Vennangot v. Mohandas Samir Vennangot, (2015) 16 SCC 596.

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Period of Limitation – Founded on the Principle of Public Policy

In Popat and Kotecha Property v. State Bank of India Staff Association, (2005) 7 SCC 510, it was held as under:
“The period of limitation is founded on public policy, it’s aim being to secure the quiet of the community, to suppress fraud and perjury, to quicken diligence and to prevent oppression. The statute, i.e. the Limitation Act is founded on the most salutary principle of general and public policy and incorporates a principle of great benefit to the community. It has, with great propriety, been termed a statute of repose, peace and justice. The statute discourages litigation by burying in one common receptacle all the accumulations of past times which are unexplained and have not from lapse of time become inexplicable. It has been said by John Voet, with singular felicity, that controversies are limited to a fixed period of time, lest they should be immortal while men are mortal.
Rules of limitation are not meant to destroy the rights of parties. They are meant to see that parties do not resort to dilatory tactics, but seek their remedy promptly. The object of providing a legal remedy is to repair the damage caused by reason of legal injury. The law of limitation fixes a lifespan for such legal remedy for the redress of the legal injury so suffered. Time is precious and wasted time would never revisit. During the efflux of time, newer causes would sprout up necessitating newer persons to seek legal remedy by approaching the courts. So, a lifespan must be fixed for each remedy. Unending period for launching the remedy may lead to unending uncertainty and consequential anarchy. The law of limitation is thus founded on public policy. It is enshrined in the maxim interest reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium (it is for the general welfare that a period be put to litigation). The idea is that every legal remedy must be kept alive for legislatively fixed period of time.” M/s H.K. Consumer Cooperative Society Ltd. v. State of U.P., 2017 (120) ALR 855.

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Widow Remains Legal Representative Even After Remarriage

Widow even after remarriage continues to be the legal representative of her husband as there is no provision under the Hindu Succession Act or any other law laying down that after remarriage she does not continue to be the legal representative. The right of succession accrues immediately on death of her husband and in the absence of any provision, she cannot be divested from the property vested on her due to remarriage.
Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2007 SC 1474, while considering the question as to whether a married daughter could maintain a claim petition in terms of Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act and whether she would be entitled to any compensation as she was dependent upon the deceased, considered the provisions of Sections 166 and 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure and relying upon the earlier observations of the Court in Custodian of Branches of BANCO National Ultramarion v. Nalini Bai Naique, (1989) 2 SCR 810, observed that the definition contained in Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure in inclusive in character and its scope is wide, it is not confined to legal heirs only. Instead it stipulates that a person who may or may not be legal heir competent to inherit the property of the deceased can represent the estate of the deceased person. It includes heirs as well as persons who represent the estate even without title either as executors or administrators in possession of the estate of the deceased. All such persons would be covered by the expression ‘legal representative’. As observed in Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation v. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai, (1987) 3 SCR 404, a legal representative is one who suffers on account of death of a person due to motor accident and need not necessarily be a wife, husband parent and child.
Delhi High Court in Ram Kishan v. Meena Kumari, 2011 ACJ 1211, has held that remarriage will not deprive a person from claiming compensation for the death of her/his spouse. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Smt. Baby, 2017 (2) AWC 1181.

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Word “Entertain” – Means to “proceed to consider on Merits”

In Lakshmiratan Engineering Works Ltd. v. CST¸AIR 1968 SC 488 the meaning of the expression “entertain” in the context of a provision in Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act, 1948 wherein it was held that, the expression has the meaning of “admitting to consideration”. It was held thus:
“The word “entertain” is explained by a Division Bench Judgment Kundan Lal v. Jagan Nath Sharma, AIR 1962 All 547 of the Allahabad High Court as denoting the point of time at which an application to set aside the sale is heard by the Court. The expression “entertain”, it is stated, does not mean the same thing as the filing of the application or admission of the application by the court. A similar view was taken in Dhoom Chand Jain v. Chaman Lal Gupta, AIR 1962 All 543 in which it was observed that the word “entertain” in its application bears the meaning “admitting to consideration”, and therefore when the court cannot refuse to take an application which is backed by deposit or security, it cannot refuse judicially to consider it. In Bawan Ram v. Kunj Behari Lal, AIR 1962 All 42 the deposit had not been made within the period of limitation and the question had arisen whether the court could entertain the application or not. It was decided that the application could not be entertained because Proviso (b) debarred the court from entertaining an objection unless the requirement of depositing the amount or furnishing security was complied with within the time prescribed. In Haji Rahim Bux v. Firm Sanaullah & Sons, AIR 1963 All 320, a Division Bench interpreted the words of Order 21 Rule 90, CPC by saying that the word “entertain” meant not “receive” or “accept” but “proceed to consider on merits” or “adjudicate upon”. Axis Bank v. SBS Organics Private Limited, (2016) 12 SCC 18.

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