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Is A Sale Deed Void, If The Payment Of Price Isn’t Paid? Hon’ble Supreme Court Answers [READ JUDGMENT]

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Kewal Krishan vs Rajesh Kumar held that payment of the purchase price is an essential part of the sale covered by Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882

By: Likivi K Jakhalu, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University

In the instant case, one Kewal Krishan executed a power of attorney in favor of Sudarshan Kumar and executed two sale deeds based on the aforementioned power of attorney on 10th April 1981.

Sudarshan signed two sales deeds, one in favor of his minor sons and one in favor of his wife.

Kewal filed two lawsuits. One was filed against Sudarshan and his two sons, and the second against Sudarshan and his wife. Both suits sought an injunction prohibiting the defendants from interfering with his possession and alienating his share of the property. 

The Trial Court dismissed Kewal’s lawsuits. The District Court partially dismissed the suits on appeal. 

The High Court ruled that the suits for declaration of invalidity of the sale deeds were barred by limitation because they were incorporated belatedly. The matter thus reached the Hon’ble Apex Court.

The Hon’ble Apex Court pointed out that the District Court had recorded a categorical finding that Sudarshan had transferred the suit lands to his wife and minor sons without consideration by taking advantage of his power of attorney. The High Court had observed that the sale consideration was not exorbitant and out of reach of Sudarshan’s wife and sons.

The Hon’ble Apex Court remarked that perhaps, the High Court has ignored that it was considering a case of sale deeds of the year 1981 and that the purchasers under the two sale deeds were wife and minor sons of Sudarshan who had not even claimed that they had any source of income.

The undisputed factual position is that Sudarshan provided no evidence as to the payment of the price stated in the sale deeds as well as his wife’s and sons’ earning capacity at the relevant time.

Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (for short “the TP Act”) reads thus: 54. “Sale” defined. —

“Sale” is a transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or promised or part-paid and part-promised.

Hence, a sale of immovable property has to be for a price. The price may be payable in the future. A part may be paid, and the remaining part may be payable in the future.

If a sale deed in respect of immovable property is executed without payment of the price and if it does not provide for the payment of the price at a future date, it is not a sale at all in the eyes of law. It is of no legal effect. Therefore, such a sale will be void. It will not affect the transfer of the immovable property.

Thus, the sale deeds will be held void as they were executed without consideration, and they did not affect in any way the one-half share of the appellant in the suit properties.

Sudarshan’s sale of the suit properties by power of attorney issued by the appellant to his wife and minor sons are sham transactions. 

Thus, the sale deeds of 10th April 1981 will not confer any right, title, and interest on Sudarshan’s wife and children as the sale deeds will have to be ignored being void.

A void document need not be challenged by claiming a declaration as the said plea can be set up and proved even in collateral proceedings. Hence, the issue of a bar of limitation of the prayers for declaration incorporated by way of an amendment does not arise at all. 

Thus, for the reasons outlined above, the District Court’s decree granting the appellant joint possession of the suit properties along with Sudarshan deserves to be restored.

Accordingly, the judgment of the High Court was set aside.

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Plea of Bias Cannot Be Assumed After Participating In Selection Process With Knowledge Of Panel Composition: Hon’ble SC [READ JUDGMENT]

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Mohd. Mustafa v Union of India held that the appellant, being an IPS officer was aware of the presence of the incumbent DGP in the selection process. Therefore, he can’t raise this plea of bias after participating in the process

By: Likivi K Jakhalu, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University

In this case, the appellant challenged the appointment of the DGP, arguing that the appointment procedure was tainted by the incumbent DGP’s presence on the Empanelment Committee as he had professional ties to one of the Panel members.

The Central Administrative Tribunal set aside the order on the ground that preparation of the panel for selection of DGP of the State of Punjab was in contravention of a judgment of this Court in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, apart from others.   

The High Court agreed with the Tribunal that the Appellant failed to make out a case of bias. The High Court set aside the judgment of the Tribunal and upheld the selection and appointment of Respondent as DGP.

A bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, and B.R. Gavai noted that including the incumbent DGP on the Empanelment Committee was a legal requirement under directions issued in the Prakash Singh case.

According to the Hon’ble Apex Court, it is a trite law that Courts cannot intervene in expert body selections by reassessing the comparative merits of candidates when exercising their power under judicial review.

It was added that “Relevant, germane, and valid considerations cannot be ignored or overlooked by an executive authority while taking a decision. Interference with selections is limited to decisions vitiated by bias, malafide, and contrary to statutory provisions.

Thus, assessment of the relative merit of the officers under consideration is within the domain of the Empanelment Committee, which is at liberty to adopt its procedure. 

The Hon’ble Apex Court was unimpressed with Appellant’s argument that core policing areas were chosen exclusively to suit the Respondent. In terms of the core policing area, the Appellant did not meet the requirements for inclusion in the panel.

The Hon’ble Apex Court observed that the broad criteria mentioned in Prakash Singh’s case were – seniority, a very good record of service, and a range of experience to head the police force. The Draft Guidelines which have to be scrupulously followed by Empanelment Committees stipulate that a selection should be on the same criteria. Identification of five core policing areas out of a domain of twenty policing areas cannot be said to be an arbitrary exercise of power.

The Tribunal committed an error in holding the decision of the Committee as arbitrary in the absence of reasons. Therefore, the preparation of the panel by the Empanelment Committee cannot be said to be suffering from unreasonableness.

Thus, there was no basis for the conclusion of the Tribunal that the Draft Guidelines are contrary to the directions given by this Court in Prakash Singh’s case.

If the committee is constituted under an administrative order, there can be no difficulty in an officer recusing himself and requesting another officer to be substituted in his place.

According to the Hon’ble Court’s opinion, the ratio in Madan Lal and Others v. State of JammuKashmir and Others would apply to the present case as the Appellant had taken a calculated chance despite the stakes, that too without protest, and then has belatedly raised the plea of bias and prejudice only when he was not recommended.

Hence, the Hon’ble Apex Court upheld the validity of the High Court judgment that set aside the Central Administrative Tribunal’s ruling that the appointment of the DGP should be set aside.

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After Obtaining An Adjournment In A Senior’s Case At MACT, A Law Intern Was Arrested For Impersonating; The Detention Was Stayed By The Allahabad High Court [READ ORDER]

Justices Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Saroj Yadav of the Division Bench remarked that on the surface, it looked to be an overzealous attempt by a law intern to seek adjournment rather than an impersonation.

By: Himkiran Kaur Sethi, The Law School, University of Jammu

The Allahabad High Court recently delayed the arrest of a law intern accused of impersonation and cheating after he appeared before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) and requested an adjournment in a case where the lawyer under whom he was interning was representing one of the parties. (Abhay Kumar Gupta v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others)

The petitioner had honestly disclosed to the presiding officer of MACT that he was a law intern and not a practicing lawyer. 

“It does not appear to be a case where the petitioner is said to have impersonated himself as a lawyer. Prima facie, it appears to us that the petitioner over-zealously attempted to seek adjournment in a case where one of the parties appears to have been represented by the learned Advocate under whom the petitioner was interning,” the Court noted.

The order was made in response to a petition filed by Abhay Kumar Gupta, a law intern, who sought the quashing of the first information report filed against him for offenses under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 419 (impersonation), 420 (cheating), and 171 (wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent).

The petitioner was interning under a lawyer at the District Court in Rae Bareli, and he had been attending court hearings out of interest and as part of his training, according to advocate Anil Kumar Mishra.

On one such instance, he sought a delay in a case in which his superior was one of the attorneys while attending a session at MACT.

Advocate Mishra further drew the Court’s attention to an order from the MACT’s presiding officer dated October 4, 2021, which said that when the petitioner was queried, he told the presiding officer that he is a law student and not a practicing lawyer.

According to the Court, there was no effort at impersonation, but rather an enthusiastic law student attempting to argue in front of a judge.

“Having regard to the overall facts and circumstances of the case, we hereby direct that till the next date of listing, the petitioner Abhay Kumar Gupta shall not be arrested. However, the petitioner shall cooperate with the investigation,” the Court ordered.

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Art 21 Makes The Right To Meaningful Family Life A Component Of The Right To Life: Delhi HC [READ JUDGMENT]

According to the Delhi High Court, refusal of an inter-cadre transfer request based on marriage requires compelling reasons and is open to judicial review

By: Himkiran Kaur Sethi

The Delhi High Court ruled on Tuesday that the right to a meaningful family life, which promotes physical, psychological, and emotional well-being, will “find a home in the four corners of Article 21” of the Indian Constitution. 

According to a ruling by Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh,

“We do not doubt that the right to meaningful family life, which allows a person to live a fulfilling life and helps in retaining her/his physical, psychological, and emotional integrity would find a place in the four corners of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, when the State unreasonably denies a request of an employee [in this case, the petitioner] seeking inter-cadre transfer, it impinges upon such person’s right to demand respect for her/his family life.”

The Court was hearing a petition by a West Bengal cadre IAS official who requested that the State of West Bengal transmit its non-objection to the Indian government’s Department of Personnel and Training in her request for an inter-cadre transfer after marrying a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer.

The government of Tamil Nadu stated that it had no objections to the proposal, but the state of West Bengal stated that it was unable to provide authorization due to a severe lack of personnel. The state of West Bengal, on the other hand, offered to take in the petitioner’s husband if he wanted to transfer.

For the following three years, the petitioner accepted her circumstances, after which she filed a new complaint. After a reminder, she filed a complaint with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which ordered the respondents to rethink their request. The petitioner went to the Delhi High Court when the case did not receive the attention it deserved.

During the hearing, the petitioner claimed that she had been treated unfairly because numerous other officers’ requests for identical reasons had been considered.

The petitioner’s request was also said to be in line with provisions in an Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the Government of India’s Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and the Department of Posts and Telecommunications, as well as the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954.

The petitioner’s well-being and family connections had been severely harmed as a result of the State’s judgment, which had been a violation of her basic rights under Article 21. (Protection of life and personal liberty). 

It was said that “The petitioner is unable to strike a balance between her work and personal life. The obdurate approach of the State of West Bengal has prevented the petitioner from starting a family.”

The West Bengal government, on the other hand, stated that COVID-19 has created a pressing need for administrative officers’ services and that the petitioner’s plea should be evaluated in this light.

In response to the petitioner’s OM, the State stated that it was intended to guarantee that married couples were assigned to the same location, but that it did not provide the officer the authority to require a specific cadre.

The State’s claims about a paucity of officers and the COVID-19 epidemic, on the other hand, were dismissed by the Division Bench.

As a result, it was declared that the State of West Bengal’s bald and ambiguous reasons for refusing to authorize the transfer could not be accepted since it had not submitted significant facts.

Although the Court acknowledged that an inter-cadre transfer cannot be made without the approval of the State government, it was stressed that a rejection of a request for transfer based on marriage must be accompanied by compelling reasons and would be subject to judicial scrutiny.

The Bench went on to say that the purpose of the 1954 Cadre Rules and the OM was to support the overall development and well-being of AIS members.

The petitioner’s claim that her right to family life had been “infringed” by the denial of her request had merit.

The Court considered Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which stipulates that every individual has the right to demand that the state respects her or his private and family life, home, and communications.

The Court granted the writ petition, concluding that an unjustified refusal of an employee’s request for inter-cadre transfer infringes on their right to expect respect for their family.

Within two weeks of receiving the ruling, the State of West Bengal was ordered to issue a no-objection direction in response to the petitioner’s request.

The Union of India was ordered to act on the no-objection letter and make the petitioner’s proposed inter-cadre transfer from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu.

News, Top Stories

No bar for Constitutional Court, To Direct CBI To Register A Regular Case: Hon’ble SC [READ JUDGMENT]

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in, National Confederation of Officers Association of Central Public Sector Enterprises vs Union of India, held that “There is no bar on the constitutional power of this Court to direct the CBI to register a regular case, in spite of its decision to close a preliminary enquiry.”

By: Likivi K Jakhalu, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University

In this case, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry on 6 November 2013 based on ‘confidential source information’ in relation to the HZL disinvestment. According to this Court’s order dated 3 November 2014, CBI submitted a status report. 

However, on 22 August 2014, the Additional Director, CBI, recommended that the preliminary inquiry be converted into a regular case.

In this matter, the Hon’ble Apex Court directed the police to register an FIR once a cognizable offence had been reported to them. A number of cases were cited by the Court in this regard:

In Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) v. Thommandru Hannah Vijaylakshmi @ T.H. Vijaylakshmi and another, a three-judge Bench of this Court held that it is not mandatory to hold a preliminary enquiry in all cases before registering an FIR against a public official, in a matter involving the possession of disproportionate assets.

In Manohar Lal Sharma v. Principal Secretary, a three-judge Bench of this Court, while monitoring an investigation in a matter of national importance, had elaborated on the duty of the CBI to convert a preliminary enquiry into a regular case, once a prima facie case involving the commission of a cognizable offence is evinced. Justice R M Lodha, speaking on behalf of the Court, had also remarked on the nature of the powers of the constitutional court, while monitoring an investigation in exceptional matters

In Shashikant v. Central Bureau of Investigation, a two-judge Bench of this Court held that this Court has the power to direct the CBI to conduct an investigation in exceptional cases, despite the CBI’s decision to close the preliminary enquiry, even in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction.

According to the Hon’ble Apex Court, the reading of the aforementioned reports and recommendations made it apparent that there is a prima facie case to justify the registration of a regular case regarding the disinvestment in 2002. 

The Hon’ble Apex Court’s conscience about exercising its exceptional powers to direct the CBI to conduct an investigation into the matter was satisfied by some of the observations of the officials of the CBI who recommended the conversion of the preliminary inquiry into a regular case.

A prima facie case for a cognizable offence, as mandated in para 9.1 of the CBI Manual, was thus made out in this case which warranted the registration of a regular case.

The Hon’ble Apex Court thus directed registration of a regular case, followed by a full-fledged investigation to be conducted. And that the Court shall be duly apprised of the status of the investigation.

Accordingly, CBI was directed to register a regular case and periodically submit status reports of its investigation to this Court.

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