May 27, 2020

The Principles of The Law of Liquidated Damages under Indian Laws

Let us first learn Law relating to Liquidated damages in India. Section 73 in The Indian Contract Act, 1872 Compensation for loss or damage caused by breach of contract.—When a contract has been broken, the party who suffers by such breach is entitled to receive, from the party who has broken the contract, compensation for any loss or damage caused to him thereby, which naturally arose in the usual course of things from such breach, or which the parties knew, when they made the contract, to be likely to result from the breach of it. —When a contract has been broken, the party who suffers by such breach is entitled to receive, from the party who has broken the contract, compensation for any loss or damage caused to him thereby, which naturally arose in the usual course of things from such breach, or which the parties knew, when they made the contract, to be likely to result from the breach of it.” Such compensation is not to be given for any remote and indirect loss or damage sustained by reason of the breach. Compensation for failure to discharge obligation resembling those created by contract.—When an obligation resembling those created by contract has been incurred and has not been discharged, any person injured by the failure to discharge it is entitled to receive the same compensation from the party in default, as if such person had contracted to discharge it and had broken his contract. —When an obligation resembling those created by contract has been incurred and has not been discharged, any person injured by the failure to discharge it is entitled to receive the same compensation from the party in default, as if such person had contracted to discharge it and had broken his contract.” Explanation.—In estimating the loss or damage arising from a breach of contract, the means which existed of remedying the inconvenience caused by the non-performance of the contract must be taken into account. Section 74 in The Indian Contract Act, 1872 74 Compensation for breach of contract where penalty stipulated for:- [When a contract has been broken, if a sum is named in the contract as the amount to be paid in case of such breach, or if the contract contains any other stipulation by way of penalty, the party complaining of the breach is entitled, whether or not actual damage or loss is proved to have been caused thereby, to receive from the party who has broken the contract reasonable compensation not exceeding the amount so named or, as the case may be, the penalty stipulated for. Explanation. — A stipulation for increased interest from the date of default may be a stipulation by way of penalty.] (Exception) — When any person enters into any bail-bond, recognizance or other instrument of the same nature or, under the provisions of any law, or under the orders of the  [Central Government] or of any  [State Government], gives any bond for the performance of any public duty or act in which the public are interested, he shall be liable, upon breach of the condition of any such instrument, […]

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January 20, 2023

COLLEGIUM CONTROVERSY AND CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY REPORT : WITHOUT PREJUDICE ANALYSIS

Is NJAC a violation of Article 368 or violates the theory of pith and substance?  To understand we must go back to the root of the matter.      Brief History This issue is neither constitutional nor legal. The issue is to decide the procedure for appointment of Judges in High Courts namely the High Court and Supreme Court. As such the debate on the procedure to appoint judges to higher courts was debated forcefully by several leading giant members of the Constituent Assembly. But no consensus was drawn. The details we shall see here are below. But before that somewhere in the year 1991 by order and Judgement of the Supreme Court, a system was designed by the name Collegium. In Collegium 6-8 Judges would consider candidates for the office of the higher court judges which includes the Chief Justice of  State and Supreme Court Collegium members. Who selects the candidates and forwards the names to the Law Ministry for scanning intelligence background. There is no other role of the Government in the selection process. The President in the course gives his assent and notifies. Is this a correct system that was dreamt by the makers of our Constitution? Or is hit by pith and substance? Link to read Judgement : https://indiankanoon.org/doc/753224/ Current scenario and the allegations: Over a period of time, this system was allegedly affected by nepotism and it is alleged that it has created a monopoly. There were news reports as well as reports of a senior lawyer at the bar that 50% of the Judges are relatives of the ex-Judges. In the meantime, the Government enacted a law called National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 ( NJAC ) which was abrogated and declared ultra-vires by the Supreme Court. This resulted in the continuity of the Collegium System. In its logical and practical argument that the Judiciary, it’s argued that the participation of politicians in the selection process may vitiate the independence of the judiciary. This danger was also visualized by the late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. For the said reason though amendments were moved to adopt the American method of appointment of judges to the higher courts same were withdrawn by respective Constituent Assembly members. However, the late Dr. Ambedkar could not have thought of the situation persisting today about the collegium system which has allegedly resulted in the monopoly of a few families. Here is the link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/govt-gives-collegium-proof-of-nepotism-in-picks-for-hc-judges/articleshow/65220425.cms https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/50-hc-judges-related-to-senior-judicial-members-report/story-S8RP2Ir9cEuIN4NewFnvML.html   With this background let us see the history of this issue and why it did not reach finality during the finalization of the Constitution of India.    The Government of India Act, 1919 provided in Section 101 for the Constitution of High Courts; and the appointment of the Chief Justice and the permanent Judges were in the absolute discretion of the Crown, subject only to the prescribed conditions of eligibility. The tenure of their office, according to Section 102, was dependent entirely on the Crown’s pleasure. Under the Government of India, Act, 1935, appointments of Judges of the Federal Court and the High Courts were at the absolute discretion of the Crown or, in other words, […]

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January 4, 2023

Collectors Land in Mumbai and Transfers

      An interesting question was asked on Twitter on collectors’ land. The question was whether it is legal to ask for transfer charges by Collector Mumbai for issuing NOC of flats in Society standing on land belonging to Collector? In Mumbai Collector owns nearly 1282 properties on which development is permitted and sanctioned on Lease. As per the latest data available about 517 properties’ Lease has been expired and in Mumbai leases of about 149 properties have been expired. The government has given this land on meager yearly lease rent. So the Government prescribed a policy for the increase in ground rent on 5th October 1999. Which was challenged and directions were given to give a hearing to those whose lease has been expired and also give an opportunity to convert occupancy to Class II occupants on one-time payments as specified in the Circular. The lease of land for purposes other than Agriculture is granted under provisions inter-alia of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 (“ Said Code” ) and the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971 ( Said “ Rules”) . The Said Rule B-26 -27 empowers Collector to Grant Land for Residential use. It reads as under B. Grant of land for residential use 26. Disposal of building sites :- (1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the occupancy rights in building sites shall be disposed of by the Collector under Section 20 read with Section 31 by publication to the highest bidder, unless for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Collector thinks that in any particular case, there is reason for granting the land without auction. (2) Where a building site is to be disposed of without auction under sub-rule(1), the Collector shall dispose of the site in occupancy right under Section 20 read with Section 31 on inalienable tenure  [If the occupancy price determined under sub-rule(3) does not exceed Rs. 25,000 and with sanction of the Commissioner, if the occupancy price exceeds Rs. 25,000 but does not exceeds Rs. 1,00,000 and with the sanction of the State Government, in other cases.] (3) The Collector shall determine the occupancy price of the site, regard being had to the following factors that is to say, (a) the sale prices of similar lands in the locality; (b) the situation of the building site; (c) the availability of, and demand for, similar lands; (d) factors which are taken into account in determining the value of land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. 27. Grant of land housing schemes :-Building plots may be granted by the State Government for various housing schemes undertaken by any housing board, local authority or co-operative housing society constituted under any law for the time being in force, in occupancy rights under Section 40 on inalienable and impartible tenure on payment of such concessional occupancy price as the State Government may, from time to time fix, regard being had to the nature of the scheme, and in the case of a co-operative housing society, to the income of the members, thereof, such income being ascertained after making such inquiries […]

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December 30, 2022

CAN A COPARCENER/CO-OWNER SELL HIS/HER SHARE IN A JOINTLY OWNED PROPERTY TO A THIRD PARTY? RIGHT OF PREEMPTION AGRICULTURE LAND VS RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

 Let us first see the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 and the Hindu Succession Act 1956. Section 22 of The Hindu Succession Act 1956 Section 22 of the Act is as under:- “22. Preferential right to acquire property in certain cases – (1) Where, after the commencement of this Act, an interest in any immovable property of an intestate, or in any business carried on by him or her, whether solely or in conjunction with others devolves upon two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule, and any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a preferential right to acquire the interest proposed to be transferred. (2) The consideration for which any interest in the property of the deceased may be transferred under this section shall, in the absence of any agreement between the parties, be determined by the court on application being made to it in this behalf, and if any person proposing to acquire the interest is not willing to acquire it for the consideration so determined, such person shall be liable to pay all costs of or incident to the application. (3) If there are two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule proposing to acquire any interest under this section, that heir who offers the highest consideration for the transfer shall be preferred. Explanation.- In this section, “court” means the court within the limits of whose jurisdiction the immovable property is situate or the business is carried on, and includes any other court which the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.” OBITER Smt. Laxmi Debi v. Surendra Kumar Panda and Others by the High Court of Orissa. In this case the submission that Section 22 of the Act would not cover succession in respect of agricultural lands was rejected.It was observed and held that “It is clear that the Parliament had omitted the phrase “save as regards agricultural land” from item No. 5 of the Concurrent List in order to have a uniform personal law for Hindus throughout India, and accordingly, it necessitated the enlargement of Entry No. 5. We have no doubt, therefore, that in view of the change in law, the Act will apply to agricultural lands also, and the decision in AIR 1941 FC 72 (K) would no longer hold good.” The High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, in Smt. Prema Devi vs. Joint Director of Consolidation (Headquarter) at Gorakhpur Camp and Ors. held:- In List 2, Entry No. 18 is as follows:– “Land, that is to say, right in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonization.” This entry which is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Legislature is in the widest term. All laws relating to land and land tenures are therefore, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Legislature. Even personal law can become applicable to land tenures […]

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December 28, 2022

WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE OF OWELTY ? WHEN DO THE COURTS APPLY IT IN THE CASE OF CO-OWNED PROPERTY?

 When is a property jointly owned and cannot be partitioned by metes and bounds what remedy is available to parties? In the case of a property that is jointly held by the family, or which may be inherited by the family which consists of more than one sibling of the deceased how to partition the property? One alternative is division by metes and bounds. This can be done by parties under a registered agreement by executing a Deed of Partition or if there is more than one property then it can be done by executing a Deed of Family Arrangement and followed by executing a Deed of Conveyance or the document which is needed in the matter applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case. It could be of the nature of a Deed of Release, Deed of Relinquishment, Deed of Gift, or Deed of Exchange as the case may be. The same should be done by way of a registered deed. Now when in the following events : for example, a bungalow is jointly owned by the respective families of four brothers who passed away. The legal heirs of three brothers want to sell their undivided share in the property. But one branch of the deceased brother is objecting to the sale; another example, a bungalow cannot be divided or partitioned by metes and bounds because the legal heirs are more, and the area is less; the objecting party does not reside in the said inherited property; In such a case land is locked so even the generation of income from the same. What to do in such a case? In such cases, courts apply the principle of Owelty: what it is? OWELTY : In regard to partitions, the ground upon which the jurisdiction of courts of equity, was maintainable as it constituted a part of its appropriate and peculiar remedial justice. It is, that courts of equity were not restrained, as, courts of law were, to a mere, partition or allotment of the lands and ‘other real estate between the parties according to their respective interests in the same, and having regard to the true value thereof; but courts of equity might, with a view to the more-, convenient and perfect, partition or allotment of the premises, decree a pecuniary compensation to one of the parties for owelty or, equality of partition, so as to prevent an injustice or avoidable inequality.” ‘Lawrence -on Equity Jurisprudenoe (1929), Vol. I pp. 1227, 1228, s. 1147, also contains the following passage:- , The ordinary method of partition is to decree a physical severance of the separate interests, no sale being authorised unless a fair, partition is otherwise impossible, or at least prejudicial. There was no power of judicial sale at common law. The Court ordering physical partition may make its decree effective by compelling mutual conveyances by the parties of their respective interests. Owelty of partition may be awarded to equalize the shares of the parties and may be decreed to be a lien on the excessive allotment. Though only when necessary to a fair partition, and it should be […]

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December 23, 2022

VIOLATION OF THE COPYRIGHT ACT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE? IS IT A BAILABLE OFFENSE?

What is Copyright and when it becomes a criminal offense? To understand this question, we must know the legal provisions. COPYRIGHT ACT 1957 WHAT IS COPYRIGHT? Meaning of said term is given under Section 14 of the Act. [14. Meaning of Copyright.— For the purposes of this Act, “copyright” means the exclusive right subject to the provisions of this Act, to do or authorise the doing of any of the following acts in respect of a work or any substantial part thereof, namely:— (a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, not being a computer programme,— (i) to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means; (ii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation; (iii) to perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public; (iv) to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work; (v) to make any translation of the work; (vi) to make any adaptation of the work; (vii) to do, in relation to a translation or an adaptation of the work, any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (vi); (b) in the case of a computer programme,— (i) to do any of the acts specified in clause (a); 1 [(ii) to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for commercial rental any copy of the computer programme: Provided that such commercial rental does not apply in respect of computer programmes where the programme itself is not the essential object of the rental.] (c) in the case of an artistic work,— 2 [(i) to reproduce the work in any material form including— (A) the storing of it in any medium by electronic or other means; or (B) depiction in three-dimensions of a two-dimensional work; or (C) depiction in two-dimensions of a three-dimensional work;] (ii) to communicate the work to the public; (iii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation; (iv) to include the work in any cinematograph film; (v) to make any adaptation of the work; (vi) to do in relation to adaptation of the work any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (iv); (d) in the case of a cinematograph film,— [(i) to make a copy of the film, including— (A) a photograph of any image forming part thereof; or (B) storing of it in any medium by electronic or other means;] [(ii) to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for such rental, any copy of the film;] iii) to communicate the film to the public; (e) in the case of a sound recording,— (i) to make any other sound recording embodying it 1 [including storing of it in any medium by electronic or other means]; [(ii) to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for such rental, any copy of the sound recording;] (iii) to communicate the sound recording to the public. Offence […]

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