Saturday, 16 May 2015

10 must read recent case laws for all professionals (relevant for CA/CS)

downloadCase laws! These two words are enough to cause a flood of different reactions from anguish to interest in our mind. Case laws are basically the laws or guidelines which are an outcome of judicial pronouncements. A judgment is a treasure trove of knowledge, legal reasoning and logic if it is carefully read and understood.

Most of the students dealing with case laws look at them only from the point of view of exams. To be a true expert in law, one should not be done only with reading a case summary or brief update on it but should read the entire judgment. One can get a better command over English language by reading and compreending court judgments.

That said, if the field of law and courts interests you (being a CS/ CA professional), following are the recent case laws that are interesting and relevant to the current syllabus of the aforesaid courses and can also prove helpful to all aspiring professionals for their examinations.

Anand Brothers vs Union of India (Civil Appeal No 76 of 2009, decided on September 04 2014, Supreme Court)

What is the sanctity and significance of one word? Well if it is law, it is better that each and every word in the agreement should be used carefully. This case relates to a dispute over arbitration under the Arbitration act, 1940. What is the meaning of the word ‘finding’ in an arbitration agreement? Does finding mean answering the contentious issues in mere ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or does it require the arbitrator to give a detailed summary of facts which made him arrive at the conclusion.

The loopholes in the act that caused this dispute have been negated by the passage of Arbitration and conciliation act 1996, yet this case is a great read to understand the intricacies of arbitration and conciliation in India.

Judgment size around 32 pages pdf.

Borosil Glass works vs Tata motors limited (Arbitration petition no.1005 of 2009, decided on 20th January 2015, Bombay High court)

If one has to read very interesting recent case laws, one should just head to the Bombay high court website. You can read cases about large companies, actors, politicians etc.

Coming back to the point, this is another mini-landmark judgment related to arbitration and conciliation scenario in India. Generally an arbitrator is appointed as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, to lessen the strain on judiciary (which is quite apparent in India). Therefore, what role does an arbitrator take? Since he replaces the court as a fountain of justice, what mode of operation and investigation should he take (although he is exempted from following the code of civil procedure?) In this case, there is dispute regarding denial of depreciation on leased machinery to the company. The matter is submitted to arbitration. Is the arbitrator bound to observe the period of limitation under the Indian limitation act? Can a award of an arbitrator be against the public policy? What does public policy mean?

Judgment size – Around 60 pages

Voltas Limited vs State of Gujarat (Civil Appeal No. 2957 Of 2007, decided on April 08,2015)

People say that is very hard to get timely justice in India. Although justice delayed is justice denied, for how long can a small issue like ‘classification of a business transaction as per sales tax schedule’ be pending in India? Well it is nearly 23 long years.

The case is regarding classification of works contract as per the then Gujarat sales tax act. Is the installation of a chilling plant a

‘Work contract involving fabrication and installation of machinery and therefore attracting 5 % sales tax ’OR

Installation of Air conditioning equipment involving 15 % sales tax ?

The most glaring thing in this case is that it took Voltas 4 appeals and then finally a Supreme Court judgment to get justice in this case.

Judgement size – 30 Pages

Madras Bar Association vs Union of India (Transferred Case (C) No. 150 Of 2006, decided on September 24, 2014)

This is perhaps the most landmark judgment (and the longest) by the Supreme court in the year 2014. Does the constitution of India allow a legislation to take away the entire jurisdiction from the hands of high courts and give it to tribunals? What problem does the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India have when Company secretaries are conferred the same status as them for advocating tax cases in this tribunals. Does mere studying of tax laws by CS and CAs entitle them to be judges or members in these tax tribunals?

This is the only instance in a long time, when the entire act (and not just a part thereof) was quashed by the court for being unconstitutional. The SC also goes down the lane of history to pinpoint at the evolution of law and the Indian constitution, briefly visiting the basic structure doctrine.

A must must read although the judgment is too long for a person who would not love reading.

Judgement size- 280 pages

Manohar Lal Sharma vs Principal Secretary (Writ Petition No. 120 Of 2012, decided on August 25,2014)

Popularly known as the ‘Coal block Allocation case’, this is another landmark judgment which quashed the illegal allotment of coal blocks by the government and again shed light on the fact that the Supreme court is a watchdog to maintain the balance of power in the country.

The judgment also sheds light on PILs and the locus standi of common man to challenge transactions that have a public element.

Judgement size- 163 pages

Saleem Khan and another versus Prakash Mehra and another (768 0f 2013, Bombay High Court)

The other advantage of reading a judgment is that, one gets to know unanticipated facts. Since it is court of law, one seldom lies there. So , how much money did Amitabh Bachhan get for the movie Deewar. For how much amount did Dharmendra purchase the script of movie deewar? These are some of the facts that one gets to read in this judgment

The dispute is regarding the remake rights of the recent movie ‘Deewar’, remake of the original movie released in the seventies. Can a copyright exist for a work that is yet to come into existence? Does the right of copyright of a script include with it , the Movie rights also. If yes, then, is it necessary to mention the number of movies in the contract?

This case is related to Copyright act and a must read.

Judgement size – 79 pages

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc vs M/s Reshma Collections(FAO(OS) 506/2013 & CM Nos. 17627/2013, 18606/2013, decided on 15th October 2014)

There will be hardly any person in India who has not seen any WWE match or bought WWE merchandise. This case pertains to the place of suing in case of infringement of a copyright.

The respondent used to sell WWE merchandise without license in Delhi in India. WWE does not have a place of business in India and sales its goods through its website. Therefore, if it does not have place of business in India, what will be the place or court of competent jurisdiction in this case.

Very interesting case

Judgement size – 27 pages

Yes Bank versus Madhu Ashok Kapur and others (Suit No. 462 Of 2014, Bombay High Court)

With the setting up of the Company law board and other specialized tribunals, is the jurisdiction of Normal courts over deciding issues relating to the appointment of directors under companies act barred by the provisions of Companies act and the rules made thereunder?

This judgment is a must read for all CS students.

Judgment size – 36 pages

Swastik Gas Private Limited vs Indian Oil corporation (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5086 OF 2013, Supreme Court , Decided on July 03,2013)

Two parties, one located in Jaipur and other in Kolkata enter into a contract for a Gas agency. The contract is quite elaborate and deals with the various terms and conditions of the contract.

One of the clauses contains clause for resolution of disputes (Jurisdiction clause). However, the jurisdiction clause does not contain the word ‘only or exclusively’. Does this mean that the intention of the contracting parties was to include more than one city to the jurisdiction clause?

A must read for CS students who aspire to be in the legal domain as this is a must for Contract management

Judgement size—36 pages

Shreya Singhal vs Union of India (WP 167 of 2012, decided , March 2015, Supreme court)

This case relates to the section 66a of Information technology act. Can an act of law contain a clause that is too arbitrary, one sided or vague?

Since this is a landmark judgment, this is must read for all Legal professionals.

If you have the extra gumption to read long judgments, do read the recent judgment by the Nampalli Metropolitan magistrate, Hyderabad convicting Ramalinga Raju in the Satyam case (a staggering 971 pages) or the judgment of Karnataka high court acquitting Jayalalitha (nearly 1000 pages).

Needless to say, I am writing this because I have read all the judgments from 1-10 and found them useful in developing my legal and logical thinking.

I hope all find this useful and read some of them. All of these judgments can be found on the national portal www.judis.nic.in

- Rohit Jain
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