Hindu Marriage – Status of Wife

Hindu Marriage is a sacred and holy union of husband and wife by virtue of which the wife is completely transplanted in the household of her husband and takes a new birth. It is a combination of bone to bone and flesh to flesh. To a Hindu wife her husband is God and her life becomes one of the selfless service and profound dedication to her husband. She not only shares the life and love, but the joys and sorrows, the troubles and tribulation of her husband and becomes an integral part of her husband’s life and activities. Colebrooke in his book Digest of Hindu Law, Vol.II, described the status of wife thus:
“A wife is considered as half the body of her husband, equally sharing the fruit of pure and impure acts: whether she ascends the pile after him or survives for the benefit of her husband, she is a faithful wife.”
Further Colebrooke in his book Digest of Hindu Law, Vol. II quoted the Mahabharata at page 121 thus:
“Where females are honoured, there the deities are pleased; but where they are unhonoured there all religious acts become fruitless.” Anuradha Samir Vennangot v. Mohandas Samir Vennangot, (2015) 16 SCC 596.

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Filed under Matrimonial Relationship, Status of Wife

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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HUF – Manager has a distinct role from Karta

While there can be no doubt that a Hindu Widow is not a coparcener in the HUF of her husband and, therefore, cannot act as a karta of the HUF after the death of her husband, the two expressions i.e. karta and manager may be understood to be not synonymous and the expression “manager” may be understood as denoting a role distinct from that of karta. Hypothetically, we may not take the case of HUF where the male adult coparcener has died and there is no male coparcener surviving or where the sole male coparcener is a minor. In such a situation obviously the HUF does not come to an end. The mother of the male coparcener can act as the legal guardian of the minor and also look after his role as the karta in her capacity as his legal guardian. Such a situation has been found to be consistent with the law by the Calcutta High Court in Sushila Devi Rampuria v. ITO, (1960) 38 ITR 316 rendered in the context of the provisions of the Income Tax Act and while determining the liability of such an HUF to assessment under the Act.
A similar proposition of law is also to be found in Dhujram v. Chandansingh, 1974 MPLJ 554 though, again, in a littled different context. The High court had expressed the view that the word “manager” would be consistent with the law if understood with reference to the mother as the natural guardian and not as the karta of the HUF. Shreya Vidyarthi v. Ashok Vidyarthi, (2015) 16 SCC 46.

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Power Project and Power Plant – Distinction

In Union of India v. Indian Charge Chrome, (1999) 7 SCC 314 it was held as under:
“The industrial resolution made a clear distinction between ‘power project’ which is set up for generation and distribution of electricity and a ‘power plant’ which is set up to generate power for their own requirement or captive consumption of the industrial unit. The captive ‘power plant’ cannot be considered as ‘power project’ and the two cannot be equated with each other. A power project is set up by the Government to cater to the needs of the public by generating and distributing the electricity generally while a captive power plant is set up by an industrial unit to feed power to its own plant or unit for manufacturing of goods other than power. Though it is true that an industrial unit installing a power plant to the extent of the electricity generated by it shares the burden of the Government power projects generating electricity for distribution and to that extent their purpose may be alike, the fact remains that a power generating unit in the public sector has its own limitations and shortcomings as well. An industrial unit depending on public power generation source shall have to bear with power cuts, failures and other regulations and restrictions imposed in the public interest. By installing its own power plant, the industrial unit is free to generate and avail uninterrupted power supply or the quantum and flow of electricity suited to its own requirements and thereby it can maximize its production and consequently its profits. It is therefore clear that power plant projects engaged in generation and distribution of power as its end product – the sense in which the expression has been used in the industrial policy resolution constitute a class by themselves distinct from the power plants established by industrial units generating electricity for captive consumption and not for distribution. The two classes are well defined.” Venkataraya Power Ltd. v. Commissioner of Customs, (2015) 16 SCC 295.

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Manufacture – Concept of

While dealing with the question as to whether the process of bleaching, dyeing, printing, sizing, shrinkproofing, waterproofing, rubberizing or organic processing carried on in respect of cotton or manmade grey fabric amounted to “manufacture” within the meaning of Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944, the Hon’ble Apex Court in Ujagar Prints (2) v. Union of India, (1989) 3 SCC 488, held that the generally accepted test to find out whether there was manufacturing was to see whether the application of processes brought out a change to take the commodity that it could no longer be considered as the original commodity. The said decision was applied in Aspinwall & Co. Ltd., v. CIT, (2001) 7 SCC 525 and again by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Orient Paper & Industries Ltd. v. State of M.P., (2006) 12 SCC 468.
In State of Karnataka v. Shaw Wallace & Co. Ltd., (1998) 110 STC 506 (Kant), the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka considered a case of the dealer engaged in Indian Made Foreign Liquor. The High Court held that without blending there cannot be any manufacture of IMFL. It is also to be pointed out that blending is also an essential part of the manufacturing process of IMFL. Even if the part of the process is done by the assessee and the other part under the control and the supervision of other parties, yet, the concept of manufacturing process cannot be taken out. CIT v. VINBROS & Company, (2015) 14 SCC 483.

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Reference of Dispute – To Arbitration

Once there is an agreement between the parties to refer the disputes or differences arising out of the agreement to arbitration, and in case either party, ignoring the terms of the agreement, approaches the civil court and the other party, in terms of Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, moves the court for referring the parties to arbitration before the first statement on the substance of the dispute is filed, in view of the peremptory language of Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, it is obligatory for the court to refer the parties to Arbitration in terms of the agreement, as held in P. Anand Gajapathi Raju v. P.V.G. Raju, (2000) 4 SCC 539.
It was further explained in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Pinkcity Midway Petroleums, (2003) 6 SCC 503, thus:
“In cases where there is an arbitration clause in the agreement, it is obligatory for the court to refer the parties to arbitration in terms of their arbitration agreement and nothing remains to be decided in the original action after such an application is made except to refer the dispute to an arbitrator. Therefore, it is clear that if, as contended by a party in an agreement between the parties before the civil court, there is a clause for arbitration, it is mandatory for the civil court to refer the dispute to an arbitrator.”
In Magma Leasing and Finance Ltd. v. Potluri Madhavilata, (2009) 10 SCC 103, the position has been restated holding that no option is left to the court, once the prerequisite conditions of Section 8 are fully satisfied. Sundaram Finance Ltd. v. T. Thankam, (2015) 14 SCC 444.

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GPA Transaction – Does Not Convey Any Title

In Suraj Lamp & Industries (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana, (2012) 1 SCC 656, it was observed as under:
“Therefore, an SA/GPA/will transaction does not convey any title nor creates any interest in an immovable property. The observations by the Delhi High Court in Asha M. Jain v. Canara Bank, (2001) 94 DLT 841, that the concept of power of attorney sales has been recognized as a mode of transaction when dealing with transactions by way of SA/GPA/will are unwarranted and not justified, unintendedly misleading the general public into thinking that SA/GPA/will transactions are some kind of a recognized or accepted mode of transfer and that it can be a valid substitute for a sale deed. Such decisions to the extent they recognize or accept SA/GPA/will transactions as concluded transfers, as contrasted from an agreement to transfer, are not good law.
Transactions of the nature of ‘GPA sale’ or ‘SA/GPA/will transfers’ do not convey title and do not amount to transfer, nor can they be recognized a valid mode of transfer of immovable property. The courts will not treat such transactions as completed or concluded transfers or as conveyances as they neither convey title nor create any interest in an immovable property. They cannot be recognized as deeds of title, except to the limited extent of Section 53-
A of the Transfer of Property Act. Such transactions cannot be relied upon or made the basis for mutations in municipal or revenue records. What is stated will apply not only to deeds of conveyance in regard to freehold property but also to transfer of leasehold property. A lease can be validly transferred only under a registered assignment of lease. It is time that an end is put to the pernicious practice of SA/GPA/will transactions known as GPA sales.” Delhi Development Authority v. Gaurav Kukreja, (2015) 14 SCC 254.

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