No reinstatement after acquittal

Written by Indu Bhan | Updated: Dec 11 2013, 08:47am hrs
Secured creditor must go to DRT

A secured creditor cannot approach the civil court but the Debt Recovery Tribunal if aggrieved by measures taken by the borrower under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, the Supreme Court held in the case Jagdish Singh vs Heeralal. It said that the civil court jurisdiction is completely barred, so far as the measure taken by a secured creditor under sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act, against which an aggrieved person has a right of appeal before the DRT or the Appellate Tribunal to determine as to whether there has been any illegality in the measures taken.

In this case, Singh was the auction purchaser of a land, which was sold for recovery of loan by the Bank of India. After confirmation of the sale, he came to know that the members of a joint Hindu family had questioned the title of the land before a civil court on the basis that the land was liable to be treated as joint Hindu family property and not the exclusive property of few members who had mortgaged it against a loan. The banks objections to the jurisdiction of the civil court were upheld. The civil court held that the aggrieved can file an appeal under Section 17 of the DRT Act and not a suit in view of the specific bar contained in Section 34 of the Securitisation Act. However, the Madhya Pradesh HC held the suit as maintainable. On appeal, the top court said set aside the HC decision on the ground that the bank being a secured creditor can always proceed against the secured assets of the borrowers.

BPCLs stand for petrol pump

Upholding the Karnataka High Courts judgment that quashed allotment of an urban site in a crowded residential area for a BPCL petrol pump, the Supreme Court said that the site earmarked for civic amenities like public park cannot be changed and given to run a outlet. The public interest in the reservation and preservation of open spaces for parks and playgrounds cannot be sacrificed by leasing or selling such sites to private persons for conversion to some other user. Any such act would be contrary to the legislative intent and inconsistent with the statutory requirements, it observed.

In this case, the Karnataka government had issued a notification in August 1990 under the Bangalore Development Authority Act 1976 declaring amenities such as liquefied petroleum gas godowns, retail domestic fuel depots, petrol retail outlets as civic amenities. Allotment of a site to BPCL for a petrol pump was objected to by some residents. The HC allowed the PIL by concluding that even though both bank and petrol pump are civic amenities as per the state law, yet it could not have been allotted for use as a petrol pump. BPCL appealed to the Supreme Court, which said that the state government has the authority to lease, sell or otherwise transfer any area, but it does not give a licence to the BDA to convert the area reserved for civic amenities for activities which do not fall within the definition of civic amenities.

Reinstatement as a matter of right

An employee, sacked following disciplinary action, cannot seek reinstatement as a matter of right even if a trial court acquits him in a criminal case based on the charges similar to the departmental inquiry, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case State of West Bengal & Ors vs Sankar Ghosh. There is no rule of automatic reinstatement on acquittal by a criminal court even though the charges levelled against the delinquent before the inquiry officer as well as the criminal court are the same, it said. The apex court further added that Ghosh could not provide any rule or regulation applicable to police force stating that once an employee has been acquitted by a criminal court, as a matter of right, he should be reinstated in service despite all the disciplinary proceedings.

Ghosh, working as a sepoy in the Kolkata Armed Police, was arrested for his complicity in the commission of a dacoity. The Disciplinary Authority terminated him after enquiry proved him guilty. While the trial court acquitted all the accused, both the West Bengal Administrative Tribunal and the Calcutta HC asked the Kolkata police to reinstate the sacked cop. The state government appealed to the Supreme Court, saying that the cop was not honourably acquitted by the criminal court as the acquittal was by way of giving benefit of doubt since the accused persons could not be identified during the parade.

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