The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the NBCC on whether it is willing to give a revised proposal to complete the stalled projects of Jaypee group.
A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) and sought its reply by Thursday.
Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the Centre, said the government has held three meetings with various stakeholders and a decision has been taken that it was willing to give tax concession running into hundreds of crores to Jaypee group and enhanced compensation to farmers only if the NBCC is allowed to complete the stalled projects.
Senior advocate F S Nariman and Anupam Lal Das, appearing for the Jaypee group, said they have no objection if the NBCC is allowed to give a revised proposal but the group should also be allowed to give a proposal as it is wiling to pay all dues to lenders and finish all stalled projects within three years.
Nariman said this option should also be considered as and when the court will look into NBCC’s proposals.
The bench said it will first look what NBCC has to offer and only then it may look into Jaypee group’s fresh proposal.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday and extended the status quo order till then.
On August 22, the Supreme Court had ordered status quo for a week on the insolvency proceeding after Jaypee Group challenged the July 30 order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which allowed the fresh bidding for the cash-strapped Jaypee Infratech.
On July 30, the NCLAT had allowed fresh bidding for the cash-strapped Jaypee Infratech but barred its promoter Jaypee Group from participating in the auction.
“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.
“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: