Document – contents of memory-card/pen-drive would be a “substance” – Hence, contents of memory-card would be a “document” : Evidence Act, Ss. 3, 65-B ; Information Technology Act of 2000, S. 2(1)(t)
Video footage/clipping contained in memory card/pen drive being an electronic record as envisaged by Section 2(1)(t) of the 2000 Act, is a “document” and cannot be regarded as a material object. An electronic record is not confined to “data” alone, but it also means the record or data generated, received or sent in electronic form. The expression “data” includes a representation of information, knowledge and facts, which is either intended to be processed, is being processed or has been processed in a computer system or computer network or stored internally in the memory of the computer. On a bare reading of the definition of “evidence”, it clearly takes within its fold documentary evidence to mean and include all documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court. This provision is reiteration of the legal position that any information contained in an electronic record which is printed on a paper, stored, recorded or copied in optical or magnetic media produced by a computer shall be deemed to be a “document” and shall be admissible in evidence subject to satisfying other requirements of the said provision. Considering the 42nd and 156th Law Commission Reports, it can be concluded that the contents of the memory card would be a “matter” and the memory card itself would be a “substance” and hence, the contents of the memory card would be a “document”.
P. Gopalkrishnan @ Dileep v. State of Kerala and Anr, : AIR 2020 Supreme Court 1
Public Prosecutor – Role discussed: Cr.P.C. (2 of 1974), Ss. 301, 302, 24(8), Proviso, 2(wa) (as inserted by (Amendment) Act 5 of 2009)
In criminal justice system, the Public Prosecutor occupies a position of great importance. Given that crimes are treated as a wrong against the society as a whole, his role in the administration of justice is crucial, as he is not just a representative of the aggrieved person, but that of the State at large. Though he is appointed by the Government, he is not a servant of the Government or the investigating agency. He is an officer of the Court and his primary duty is to assist the Court in arriving at the truth by putting forth all the relevant material on behalf of the prosecution. While discharging these duties, he must act in a manner that is fair to the Court, to the investigating agencies, as well to the accused. This means that in instances where he finds material indicating that the accused legitimately deserves a benefit during the trial, he must not conceal it. The space carved out for the Public Prosecutor is clearly that of an independent officer who secures the cause of justice and fair play in a criminal trial. From a reading of these provisions, it is clear that a Public Prosecutor is entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the prosecution of a case. That this is a crucial role is evident from conditions such as in Section 24(7), which stipulates a minimum legal experience of seven years for a person to be eligible to be a Public Prosecutor. It is further clear from a joint reading of Section 301 and the proviso to Section 24(8) that the two provisions are mutually complementary. There is no bar on the victim engaging a private counsel to assist the prosecution, subject to the permission of the Court.
Rekha Murarka v. The State of West Bengal and Anr. : AIR 2020 Supreme Court 100
Corporate person – NHAI is statutory body and performs government functions – Proceeding against NHAI is not permissible under Insolvency Code: Insolvency and Bankruptcy code of 2016, S.3(7) – Companies Act of 2013, S.2(20), (45)
NHAI is a statutory body which functions as an extended limb of the Central Government, and performs governmental functions which obviously cannot be taken over by a resolution professional under the Insolvency Code, or by any other corporate body. Nor can such Authority ultimately be wound-up under the Insolvency Code. For all these reasons, it is not possible to accede to the argument to either read in, or read down, the definition of ‘corporate person’ in Section 3(7) of the Insolvency Code.
In this view of the matter, the moment challenges are made to the arbitral awards, the amount said to be due by an operational debtor would become disputed, and therefore be outside the clutches of the Insolvency Code.
Hindustan Construction Company Ltd & Anr v. UOI & Ors. : AIR 2020 Supreme Court 122
Oral Gift in favour of Deity – Registration – Document in nature of dedication of immovable property to God do not require registration as it constitutes religious Trust and it is exempted from registration : Transfer of property Act of 1882, S.123 – Registration Act of 1908, S. 17
It is no doubt true that the gift deed was an unregistered instrument and no title could pass on the basis of the same u/s. 123 of the Transfer of Property Act. However, when the document is in the nature of a dedication of immovable property to God, the same does not require registration as it constitutes a religious trust and is exempt from registration. Section 123 of the Transfer of Property Act does not apply to such a case for “God” is not a “living person” and so the transaction is not a “transfer” as defined by Sec.5 of the Transfer of Property Act. Thus, a gift to an idol may be oral and it may be effected also by an unregistered instrument.
Sri Dadhibaban Mahaprabhu Bije v. Paramananda Sahu : AIR 2020 Orissa 1
Health Insurance Contract – Insurance companies, being ‘Instrumentalities of state’ have freedom to structure their contracts – However, arbitrary or unreasonable clause is not enforceable: Insurance Act of 1938, preamble, S. 2(11) – Constitution of India, Arts. 12, 21, 14
Every citizen ought to be entitled to obtain health insurance and avail of claims arising therefrom. Though, insurance policies are contractual in nature, and parties to them are bound by it, the clauses of such a contract have to stand the test of Constitutionality. Insurance companies, especially those which are „instrumentalities of state under Art. 12, have the freedom to structure their contracts, however, clauses that are unreasonable, arbitrary or contrary to public policy are not immune. If a clause in an insurance contract is unconstitutional, it is not enforceable. Primacy is given to a contract, but not above Fundamental Rights.
The fine print of an insurance contract is not easily understandable by a layman, who operates primarily on the basis of trust and faith. Standard form contracts, especially insurance policies, do not provide a choice to the consumer whether to sign up or not. Under such circumstances, the principle of uberima fides applies, on the insurance companies and the insured.
M/s. United India Insurance Company Limited v. Jai Parkash Tayal : Air 2020 (Noc.) 88
Substantial question of law – Second Appeal Interpretation of any terms and conditions of a document constitutes a substantial question of law. Dismissal order of High Court set aside. Matter remanded
Rajendra Lalitkumar Agrawal v. Ratna Ashok Muranjan And Another [2019(6) MH.L.J.1]
Mutation of a land – Maharashtra Land Revenue code (41 of 1966), ss. 148 and 157
Mutation entry does not create or extinguish title over such land nor it has any presumptive value on title. It only enables person in whose favour mutation in records is made to pay land revenue in respect of land.
Bhimabai Mahadeo Kambekar (D) Thr. Lr v. Arthur Import And Export Company And Others: [2019(6) Mh.L.J.4]
Testamentary succession – Mitakshara Coparcenary property – Hindu Succession Act of 1956, s. 30 Explanation :
A male Hindu can dispose of his interest in property by way of a will – No further independent share could be claimed by other coparceners in ancestral properties as a member of a family . Hence, order of High Court holding that no further independent share could be claimed by appellant in ancestral properties as a member of family, is justified and not interfered with.
Radhamma and Others v. H. N. Muddukarishna And Others [2019(6) Mh.L.J.5]
Power of attorney – Revocation – Effect of revocation on documents executed prior to revocation – Powers of Attorney Act of 1882, SS. 2 and 1-A
Respondent No. 5 acting on basis of General power of Attorney executed by appellants on 25-10-2001 sold property in question to respondents on 13-06-2011 by executing sale deeds . Said general power of attorney was revoked by the appellants by a public notice dated 5-6-2012 but sale deeds were executed by respondent No. 5 much prior to said revocation . Thus, trail court rightly found that appellants had failed to make out a prima facie case to grant injunction in their favour.
Ratnew Vishnu Kamat @ Rukmabai Vishnu Kamat And Another v. Roopali Sunil Lotlikar And Others [2019(6) Mh.L.J.292]
Probate proceedings – Succession Act of 1925, S. 276 and Civil procedure code, S. 24(1)(a) and 1-A Misc. Petitions preferred by executors against each other. Suit filed before civil court seeking disqualification of defendants therein in terms of the Will. Application for transfer of suit to High Court
Nature and character of the proceedings in the suit and Miscellaneous Petitions are different, which are to be decided under different jurisdiction and would culminate in distinct orders.
Probate jurisdiction. Even if the parties are permitted to lead the evidence, such proceedings before the Probate Court are in the “form of the suit” and not the “suit” itself.
Removal of a person as an Executor and debarring a beneficiary from taking any benefit out of estate of testator. Removal of a person as an Executor for not administering the estate may not have civil consequences but if beneficiary is precluded and debarred from taking any benefit out of the estate of the testator would entail in civil consequences.
Devan S. Ghatalia v. Mr. Nanak S. Ghatalia: [2019(6) Mh.L.J.310]
When a binding judgement is given by Bench of High Court, any attempt to get over and brush it aside, must be deprecated . It amounts to overreaching Court and refusing to abide by its binding judgement by a backdoor or oblique method.
Reliance Industries Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra And Others [2019(6) Mh.L.J.665]
Committee of administrators – Duration of committee – Goa Co-operative Societies Act of 2001, S. 67-A(1)(e)
Committee cannot be appointed for an indefinite period. Elections of Board of Directors of Co-operative Society must be held within time prescribed. Impugned orders of registrar extending tenure of Committee
are totally illegal and hence quashed and set aside.
Shree Gopalkrishn Multipurpose Co-Operative Society Ltd., Goa And Another v. State of Goa And Others [2019(6) Mh.L.J.927]
Readiness and willingness of plaintiff to performance his part of contract – Specific Relief Act of 1963, S.16(c) and Evidence Act, S.59
Plaintiff had paid substantial part of consideration . Not necessary to show that he had balance amount when matter proceeding before trial court . Averment about readiness and willingness and proof thereof by oral evidence is sufficient.
Kerba S/o Ambadas Dhengle v. Digambar S/o Ishwara Chavan (Deceased) Through His L.Rs. Chandrakant S/o Digambar Chavan And Others: [2019(6) Mh.L.J.939]