Views In Lead Judgment Are Binding Precedents If Concurring Judgments Did Not Express Any Contrary Opinion On It: Supreme Court

“Law laid down in the lead judgment in Express Newspaper (supra) is the law by three Hon’ble Judges who constituted the Bench.” Is a view on a legal issue expressed in a lead judgment delivered by one of the judges of a Supreme Court bench is a binding precedent if the other judges of the bench in their concurring opinions did not express any opinion on itt? The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari answered this interesting question in a judgment delivered on Friday. One of the contentions of the appellant in Kaikhosrou (Chick) Kavasji Framji vs. Union of India, was that the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 Act are made applicable only to those properties which are admittedly belonging to the Central Government or the State Government as the case may be and therefore proceedings under the PP Act can be initiated against a person only when he is found to be in its unauthorized occupation without any lawful authority from its real owner i.e. the Central/State Government. It was also contended that, in a situation where there arises a bona fide dispute between the two rival claimants over a property about their ownership such as the one which has arisen in the case at hand, the remedy of the parties lies in filing a civil suit in the civil court and seek a declaration of their ownership over the property in accordance with law but not to take recourse to any summary remedy to evict a person.

Reliance was placed on Express Newspapers vs. U.O.I. in which Justice AP Sen had made such an observation in the lead judgment delivered by the bench, which also comprised of Justices E.S. Venkataramiah and R.B. Mishra. The other judges had, in this case, penned separate judgments, though concurring with Justice Sen.

The contention raised by the Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi was that the view expressed by Justice Sen in Paras 86-87 could at best be regarded as his own view but not the view of the Court by majority because other two Judges did not express any opinion on this question. The bench, rejecting the said contention, said: “It is for the reason that first, though the lead judgment was authored by A.P. Sen J., the other 3 two Judges concurred with the view and the reasoning of A.P. Sen J. Second, both the concurring Judges also expressed their individual views on the question on the same lines on which A.P. Sen J. expressed his view and the Third, there is no dissent inter se Lordships on any issue much less on the issue with which we are concerned in this appeal.” The bench relied on a House of Lords judgment in The Guardians of the Poor of the West Derby Union vs. The Guardians of the Poor of the Atcham Union to arrive at this conclusion.

The court further observed: “We are of the considered view that law laid down in the lead judgment in Express Newspaper (supra) is the law by three Hon’ble Judges who constituted the Bench and thus binds all the Courts in the country under Article 141 of the Constitution. It satisfies the test laid down by Lord Esher M.R. in the case of The Guardian (supra).” The bench further noted that in State of Rajasthan vs. Padavati Devi also, the Supreme court has followed this judgment to hold that the State Government cannot take recourse to a summary remedy of eviction of a person under the State Revenue Laws from the land when such person raises a bona fide dispute about his right to remain in occupation over such land.

 

Litigants can change Lawyer If Case Is Not Being Attended Properly: Supreme Court

“If the appellants noticed that their lawyer was not taking interest in attending to the brief in question, then they should have immediately engaged some other lawyer to ensure that the appeal be filed in time by another lawyer.”
The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered on Tuesday, has given a subtle message to litigants who usually blame their lawyers, rightly or wrongly, for getting adverse orders from courts on technical grounds like delay, which could have been avoided, if they were vigilant enough.

The appellant before the Apex court was Haryana Urban Development Authority. They were aggrieved of a Punjab and Haryana High Court order which had dismissed their second appeal filed by them by refusing to condone a delay of 1942 days, i.e about four and a half years.

Agreeing with the High Court view, the bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that the ground taken in the application seeking condonation of delay that their lawyer did not take timely steps, cannot be regarded as a sufficient cause within the meaning of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. The court said:

“In our view, it was equally the duty of the appellants (their legal managers) to see that the appeal be filed in time. If the appellants noticed that their lawyer was not taking interest in attending to the brief in question, then they should have immediately engaged some other lawyer to ensure that the appeal be filed in time by another lawyer.”
“In such circumstances, the officers-in-charge of the case should be made answerable for the lapse on their part and make good the loss suffered by the appellants.. A delay of 1942 days (4 years 6 months), in our view, is wholly inordinate and the cause pleaded for its condonation is equally unexplained by the appellants. In any case, the explanation given does not constitute a sufficient cause within the meaning of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. “

 

The court also observed that HUDA, their officers, who were in-charge of the legal cell failed to discharge their duty assigned to them promptly and with due diligence despite availability of all facilities and infrastructure. Dismissing the Appeals, the bench observed:

Prohibiting dubbed serial on TV violates Competition Act: SC

Prohibition on exhibition of dubbed serial on television hinders competition in the market and such an act amounts to violation of the Competition Act, 2002, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court said such prohibition prevents competing parties in pursuing their commercial activities and amounts to “creating barriers” to the entry of new content in a dubbed TV serial.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Abhay Manohar Sapre said this while allowing an appeal of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against an order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT).

“One can clearly view that prohibition on the exhibition of dubbed serial on the television prevented the competing parties in pursuing their commercial activities. Thus, the CCI rightly observed that protection in the name of the language goes against the interest of the competition, depriving the consumers of exercising their choice,” it said.

“It also hindered competition in the market by barring dubbed TV serials from exhibition on TV channels in the state of West Bengal. It amounted to creating barriers to the entry of new content in the said dubbed TV serial.

“Such act and conduct also limited the supply of serial dubbed in Bangla, which amounts to violation of the provision of section 3(3)(b) of the Act,” the bench said.

The court was dealing with a matter in which the CCI had challenged the COMPAT’s order in a case relating to exhibition of dubbed version of famous Hindi serial ‘Mahabharat’ in Bangla language which was to be shown in West Bengal.

Mumbai-based M/s BRTV, the producer of Mahabharat, had entrusted the sole and exclusive rights of the serial to M/s Magnum TV serials to dub the Hindi version in Bangla language.

Thereafter, Magnum TV had appointed M/s Hart Video as the sub-assigner to dub the serial in Bangla language after which two TV channels bagged the rights for telecasting the serial.

However, an association of certain producers in eastern India — Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) and Committee of Artistes and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television Investors — opposed it on the ground that in would adversely affect the artistes and technicians working there.

SC refuses to lift ban on animal sacrifice in Kulu Dussehra

dussehra in kulluhe Supreme Court onWednesday refused to vacate or suspend an order banning animal sacrifice during Kulu Dussehra and in other religious rituals of the Kulu region of Himachal Pradesh.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre declined to order an interim suspension of the Himachal Pradesh High Court order which has banned the animal sacrifice during Kulu Dussehra and other religious rituals in the Kulu region.

However, on a petition of Maheshwar Singh and others, the apex court issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh government, asking it why the animal sacrifice should not be allowed on the concluding day of the Kulu Dussehra and in other religious rituals.

The court said that it was issuing notice as animal sacrifice was a recurring practice every year and affected the religious sentiments of a section of people.

The court said this as senior counsel Kiran Suri, appearing for petitioner Maheshwar Singh and others, pressed for suspension of the Sept 1 ban order of the state high court.

“Let this year’s Dussehra pass off like that (in pursuance of the high court order). We will see next year,” the court said declining pleas for suspending the high court order of Sept 1, 2014, which completely prohibited the animal sacrifice in temples and other places.

This, the petitioner said, was in complete violation of Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which carves out exceptions to safeguard the religious rights of various classes of people to sacrifice animals for religious purposes.

The petitioner said that exception was in furtherance to the guarantee of religious freedom and practices under Article 25 and Article 26 of the Constitution.

Kullu Dussehra is a seven-day congregation held at Dhalpur Maidan in Kulu. The practice of animal sacrifices on the last day of Dussehra has been going on for last 365 years, the petition said.