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COLLEGIUM CONTROVERSY AND CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY REPORT : WITHOUT PREJUDICE ANALYSIS

January 20, 2023

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though amendments were moved to adopt the American method of appointment of judges to the higher courts same were withdrawn by respective Constituent Assembly members.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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Collectors Land in Mumbai and Transfers

January 4, 2023

      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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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

December 30, 2022

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

December 28, 2022

 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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PREVAILING LAW RELATING TO THE TRANSFER AND TRANSMISSION OF SHARES ON THE DEATH OF A MEMBER  SHORTCOMINGS

November 14, 2022

 This  blog comes in wake of a judgment I came across of the Bombay High Court in the matter of  Karan Vishnu Khandelwal Omdham Cooperative Housing Society Ltd. Vs Deputy Registrar -K-West In this matter facts of the case were as under: Mannalal Surajmal Khandelwal (deceased) was owner of a flat no.1 and by virtue thereof, was entitled to share certificate. The deceased during his lifetime registered a nomination in the name of Petitioner- his grandson. The nomination was acknowledged by the managing committee of the society in it’s meeting held on and made an entry in the nomination register. Mr. Mannalal Khandelwal died intestate on 20thJanuary, 2011, leaving behind, Rajendra Mannalal Khandelwal (Son- Respondent No.2); Krishnakumar Mannalal Khandelwal (Son); and Petitioner- son of Vishnu Mannalal Khandelwal (predeceased son of deceased). That upon demise of Mannalal Surajmal Khandelwal, Respondent No.2 – Rajendra M. Khandelwal, made an application to the society, inter alia, seeking transfer of membership and the share certificate in his name. Along with the application, he submitted a No Objection cum Declaration’ and indemnity bond made and executed by Krishnakumar Mannalal Khandelwal. This way, the Respondent No.2 claimed 2/3rdshare and interest in the flat and sought transfer of proportionate interest in flat and claimed membership. The application was rejected by the society on 8thAugust, 2018. Whereafter, the Respondent No.2 preferred an appeal under section 23 (2) of the Maharashtra Societies Act (‘MCS Act’ for short), being Appeal No. 09 of 2019 before the Deputy Registrar. The Petitioner sought intervention in the said appeal. The Intervention was allowed. The Deputy Registrar vide order dated 8thFebruary, 2021 allowed the appeal and held that since the Respondent No.2 has acquired 2/3rdright in flat No.1, to that extent, his interest be noted in the society record. In consequence, the Deputy Registrar acknowledged 2/3rdundivided right of the Respondent No.2 and 1/3rdundivided right of the Petitioner in flat No.1 and directed to make entries in the society records. In revision, the Divisional Joint Registrar upheld the order of the Deputy Registrar and dismissed the revision application of the Petitioner. Feeling aggrieved by that order, the Petitioner has filed this petition. MATTER BEFORE BOMBAY HIGH COURT WHEN ERROR OF LAW OCCURRED The matter when came up before the Bombay High Court, the court observed that Registrar passed the impugned order in haste may be at the behest of respondent No.2. Therefore, the impugned order not only suffers from gross irregularity being passed in breach of principles of natural justice but also against the law, and therefore, deserves to be quashed and set aside. While passing the Judgement Bombay High Court relied upon Indrani Wahi Vs. Registrar of Co-operative Societies (Civil Appeal 4930/2006), held that the cooperative society was bound by nomination made by the deceased and it was bound to transfer the shares to the nominee While passing the Judgment Hon’ble Court it relied upon the provisions of Section 154-B(2) of Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Act, 2019. In any event, by. It reads under:     “154-13. On the death of a Member of a society, the society shall transfer share, right, title and interest in […]

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GOVERNOR’S POWER TO CALL A SPECIAL ASSEMBLY MEETING FOR A FLOOR TEST :   Case Study Maharashtra Crisis:

June 29, 2022

Before going for a detailed discussion let us see Constitutional Provision related to the Governor in calling a Floor Test Article 174: Sessions of the State Legislature, prorogation, and dissolution (1) The Governor shall from time to time summon the House or each House of the Legislature of the State to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session (2) The Governor may from time to time (a) Prorogue the House or either House; (b) dissolve the Legislative Assembly  Right of the Governor to address and send messages to the House or Houses (1) The Governor may address the Legislative Assembly or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, either House of the Legislature of the State, or both Houses assembled together, and may for that purpose require the attendance of members (2) The Governor may sent messages to the House or Houses of the Legislature of the State, whether with respect to a Bill then pending in the Legislature or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall with all convenient dispatch consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor (1) There shall be a council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion (2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion (3) The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court Note : Article 174 of the Constitution authorizes the Governor to summon, dissolve and prorogue the state legislative assembly. Article 174(2)(b) of the Constitution gives powers to the Governor to dissolve the Assembly on the aid and advice of the cabinet. The Governor can implement his own discretion when the advice comes from a Chief Minister whose majority could be in doubt. Under Article 175(2), the Governor can summon the House and call for a floor test to prove whether the government has the numbers.  Though the Governor can exercise the above only as per Article 163 of the Constitution which says that the Governor acts on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. When the House is in session, it is the Speaker who can call for a floor test. But when the Assembly is not in […]

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CAN THE COOPERATIVE SOCIETY COMMITTEE BLOCK ACCESS TO THE COMMON TERRACE?

May 26, 2022

 This is a very common dispute. Most of the time Committee decides on whims and fancies. Which is not permissible. If any untoward incident like a fire happens Managing Committee shall be liable for culpability. To start the discussion first we must know the provisions of Byelaws. When Terrace is a common area as per the official plan and agreement with promoter builders it’s a joint and several ownerships. Every society especially as we are discussing housing society is governed by Model Byelaws.  They are framed under the provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act,1960 which is a Central Act. Now let us see the provisions of the model bye-laws. 3 xxi. “Open terraces” means terraces which are otherwise not in the exclusive possession of any of the Members. 3 xxii  “Common Areas and Facilities” means a.the land on which the building is located; b. the foundations, columns, girders, beams, supports, main walls,roofs, halls, corridors, lobbies, stair-ways, lifts / escalators , fire escapes and entrances and exits of the building; c. the basements, cellars, yards, gardens, parking areas undemarcated / demarcated parking slots, and storage spaces; d. the premises for the lodging of janitors or persons employed for the management of the property; e. installations of central services such as power, light, gas, water storage and water heating, water harvesting, pump houses, refrigeration, air conditioning, generators, roof top solar devices, common antennas and mass communication and data sharing devices, f.the elevators, tanks, pumps, motors, fans, compressors, ducts and in general all apparatus and installations existing for common use; g. such community and commercial facilities as may have been provided for; h. all other parts of the property necessary or convenient to its existence, maintenance and safety or normally in common use; Under Bylaw 67 (a) (xiv) members are paying for the maintenance of the terrace being a common facility. What society can do is to, regulate permission to use for functions under bye-law 168. Now moving further a law has been passed in Maharashtra namely the Prevention of Fire and Life Safety Measure Act,2016. Under this law, it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep up fire safety measures. In a matter before the division bench Once a person agrees to the sale/ purchase of a floor in a property, they bind themselves to joint access to common areas, its use, and enjoyment by way of such an agreement. Any obstruction caused that results in deprivation of essential amenities that are water, electricity etc. cannot be permitted and requires immediate intervention to rectify the situation as they have a direct bearing on the right to life of a human” All residents must have access to common areas’ | Delhi News – Times of India (indiatimes.com) In yet another case of Tasneem Dhariwala Bombay High Court Division Bench of Justice S.C Dhamadhikari and Justice Gautam Patel in identical facts held,  Such parties cannot be given any discretionary and equitable relief, much less [allowed] to obstruct a public body from performing the statutory duties and ensuring that there is free access to all persons to an area called terrace and, particularly, to take care […]

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“SECULARISM” IN THE PREAMBLE OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION – A CONTROVERSIAL ZONE

May 7, 2022

The Preamble was used by Supreme Court as an aid to construction in Behram Khurshed Pasikaka v. The State of Bombay [1955] 1 S.C.R. 613 at p. 653. After referring to Part III, Mahajan, C.J., observed: We think that the rights described as fundamental rights are a necessary consequence of the declaration in the preamble that the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens’ justice, social, economic, and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship; equality of status and of opportunity. These fundamental rights have not been put in the Constitution merely for individual benefits, though ultimately, they come into operation in considering individual rights. They have been put there as a matter of public policy and the doctrine of waiver can have no application to provisions of law which have been enacted as a matter of Constitutional policy. Is the Preamble part of our Constitution? This was decided in the matter of Berubari In Re: The Berubari Union And  vs Unknown on 14 March 1960 Equivalent citations: AIR 1960 SC 845, 1960 3 SCR 250 There is no doubt that the declaration made by the people of India in the exercise of their sovereign will in the preamble to the Constitution is, in the words of Story, “a key to open the mind of the makers” which may show the general purposes for which they made the several provisions in the Constitution; but nevertheless the preamble is not a part of the Constitution, and, as Willoughby has observed about the preamble to the American Constitution, “it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States, or on any of its departments. Such powers embrace only those expressly granted in the body of the Constitution and such as may be implied from those so granted”. In S.R.Bommai vs Union of India: It was held in this landmark judgment that : Secularism is one of the basic features of the Constitution. While freedom of religion is guaranteed to all persons in India, from the point of view of the State, the religion, faith, or belief of a person is immaterial. To the State, all are equal and are entitled to be treated equally. In matters of State, religion has no place. No political party can simultaneously be a religious party. Politics and religion cannot be mixed. Any State Government which pursues unsecular policies or unsecular course of action acts contrary to the constitutional mandate and renders itself amenable to action under Article 356. Note: This feature of secularism was rejected by the Constituent Assembly ( Drafting of Constitution Committee) on 6th December 1948. Bommai ( Supra)  is said to be a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court on Article 356, it is true that Secularism is guaranteed as a fundamental right, but the word “Secularism” was never there in the Preamble of the Constitution of India 1949 and the insertion thereof was refused and negatived by the Constituent Assembly. Below is the link to the […]

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WHEN THE LAW-AND-ORDER SITUATION IS SCRAMBLED CAN ASSEMBLY BE DISSOLVED? CAN THE PRESIDENT ORDER FOR A FRESH ELECTION? LANDMARK CASES  

May 2, 2022

Part XVIII of the constitution deals with such a situation that arises in the state of India. Let’s first read those provisions: Duration of State Legislatures.—(1) Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer and the expiration of the said period of [five years] shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly: Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate. (2) The Legislative Council of a State shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as possible one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every second year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by Parliament by law. Article 174(2) (2) The Governor may from time to time (a) Prorogue the House or either House; (b) dissolve the Legislative Assembly Article 355: Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance.—It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. Dictum: Naga Peoples Movement vs Union of India Reference in this context may be made to Article 355 of the Constitution whereunder a duty has been imposed on the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. In view of the said provision, the Union Government is under an obligation to take steps to deal with a situation of internal disturbance in a State. There can be a situation arising out of internal disturbance which may justify the issuance of a proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution enabling the President to assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State. That would depend on the gravity of the situation arising on account of such internal disturbance and on the President being satisfied that a situation has arisen where the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with provisions of the Constitution. Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in State: (1) If the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the President may be Proclamation (a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or anybody or authority in the State other than the Legislature of the State; (b) declare that […]

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CONFLICT OF LAWS:  CAN ARBITRATION OVERRULE RERA?

January 19, 2022

This is an important issue especially when the same tribunal namely MahaRERA has passed two controversial Orders on this issue. Let us see what is the provision of the Arbitration Act and what is an Arbitration proceeding. Arbitration Act : Power to refer parties to arbitration where there is an arbitration agreement.— (1) A judicial authority before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party so applies not later than when submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, refer the parties to the arbitration. (2) The application referred to in sub-section (1) shall not be entertained unless it is accompanied by the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof. (3) Notwithstanding that an application has been made under sub-section (1) and that the issue is pending before the judicial authority, an arbitration may be commenced or continued and an arbitral award made. Jurisdiction of RERA Now let us see provisions of The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.( RERA) Application of other laws not barred.—The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. Act to have overriding effect.—The provisions of this Act shall have an effect, notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force. Judicial pronouncements: Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc vs Sbi Home Finance Ltd. & Ors on 15 April 2011  Arbitral tribunals are private fora chosen voluntarily by the parties to the dispute, to adjudicate their disputes in place of courts and tribunals which are public fora constituted under the laws of the country. Every civil or commercial dispute, either contractual or non-contractual, which can be decided by a court, is in principle capable of being adjudicated and resolved by arbitration unless the jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals is excluded either expressly or by necessary implication. Adjudication of certain categories of proceedings is reserved by the Legislature exclusively for public fora as a matter of public policy. Certain other categories of cases, though not expressly reserved for adjudication by public fora (courts and Tribunals), may by necessary implication stand excluded from the purview of private fora. Consequently, where the cause/dispute is arbitrable, the court where a suit is pending will refuse to refer the parties to arbitration, under section 8 of the Act, even if the parties might have agreed upon arbitration as the forum for settlement of such disputes. The well-recognized examples of non-arbitrable disputes are (i) disputes relating to rights and liabilities which give rise to or arise out of criminal offenses; (ii) matrimonial disputes relating to divorce, judicial separation, restitution of conjugal rights, child custody; (iii) guardianship matters; (iv) insolvency and winding-up matters; (v) testamentary matters (grant of probate, letters of administration and succession certificate); and (vi) eviction or tenancy matters governed by special statutes where the tenant enjoys statutory protection against eviction and only the specified courts are conferred jurisdiction to grant eviction or decide the disputes. It may be noticed that the […]

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