The Supreme Court has severely criticised the Patna high court for ordering the release of huge amounts of wheat stock bearing Food Corporation of India marking from a private flour mills, Harsh Tejas Nutrition Ltd. The authorities raided the mill premises in Patna exercising powers under the Essential Commodities Act and found that subsidised food grains meant for the public distribution system were being diverted to black market. The mill owner moved the high court to quash the confiscation and the prayer was granted in a terse order, without reasons. The government appealed to the Supreme Court. It set aside the high court order and remarked that the high court acted in a “most casual and cavalier manner, showing complete disregard of legislature enacting provisions for general welfare.”
Worker injury compensation clarified
The Supreme Court last week ruled that compensation for personal injury suffered by a worker “arising out of or in the course of employment” becomes due from the date of accident under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Interest on delayed payment also must be counted from the date of the industrial accident, the Supreme Court stated in the appeal case, Oriental Insurance Company vs Siby George. The insurance company argued that its liability starts from the date when the commissioner under the law orders payment, and not from the date of the accident. It cited some judgements of the Supreme Court itself which took this view. However, the court stated that there is already a judgment by four judges which has decided this issue, and therefore the latter judgments to the contrary by two-judge benches were made “in ignorance of the precedent” and therefore invalid.
Urgent land acquisition quashed
The Supreme Court has set aside the acquisition of land owned by Everest Cylinders Ltd invoking the urgency clause in the Land Acquisition Act. Setting aside the order of the Allahabad high court which approved of the acquisition, the Supreme Court stated that the government has failed to show any urgency for acquisition of the land for industrial purposes.
Environment clearance for mines
The Delhi high court last week ruled that if a mining lease holder already has a valid and subsisting environmental clearance, he should not be asked for yet another when he seeks renewal of the lease. The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries had challenged the notification of April last year under which the authorities demanded a fresh environmental clearance. The environment ministry had issued a notification in 2006 in respect of new projects or activities or the expansion or modernisation of existing projects or activities listed in the schedule to the notification which entailed capacity addition with a change in process and / or technology. Last year, the notification was amended on several points. The high court, allowing the petition of the federation, stated that mining lessees should not be asked to renew their leases according to the new notification.
Cosmetic trade mark injunction
The Delhi high court has restrained Sun Soap Industries from selling cosmetics and perfumery which bear the trade mark of Simla Chemicals Ltd, Simco, on an application moved by the latter firm alleging infringement of its registered trade mark. Rejecting the arguments of Sun Soap, the court stated that “in order to constitute infringement the impugned trademark need not necessarily be absolutely identical to the registered trade mark of the plaintiff and it would be sufficient if the plaintiff is able to show that the mark being used by the defendant resembles his mark to such an extent that it is likely to deceive or cause confusion.”