The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of New India Assurance Company which had rejected the claim of a ship-breaking firm for compensation. The firm bought a Belgian vessel and was bringing it from Singapore on its ‘funeral voyage’ to Alang port in Gujarat for demolition. It wrecked on way in high seas due to bad weather. The ship was covered by marine insurance and the ship-breaker invoked the policy. The insurer rejected the claim leading to litigation in the consumer forum. The National Consumer Commission asked the insurance company to pay Rs 14 crore with 9 per cent interest to Priya Blue Industries, the scrap dealer in ships. However, the insurer appealed to the Supreme Court. It ruled that the loss suffered due to the ship wreck was properly assessed by the surveyors and the commission order was correct.
SC rules Neyveli Lignite entitled to pay lower tax
The buyer of Neyveli Lignite Corporation, a central government undertaking which was sold as scrap, was entitled to pay a lower sales tax, the Supreme Court ruled. It dismissed the appeal of the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes against the ruling of the Madras high court which stated that the levy should take into account that the machinery was total scrap. Since the plant and machinery had outlived its utility, the government appointed Metal Scrap and Trading Corporation Ltd, a government enterprise, to sell them as scrap. It arranged an e-auction in which Chitrahar Traders bid the highest amount. The revenue department then demanded 12 per cent and surcharge as sales tax stating that what was sold was plant and machinery; not scrap. The buyer contended that only 4 per cent could be levied at the rate stipulated for scrap. In fact, it had to use explosives to remove machinery embedded in earth since 1961 and which became utterly useless by 2001. The high court and the Supreme Court accepted the contention of the scrap buyer.
Imprisonment not must for issuer of bounced cheque: SC
Imprisonment is not a must while punishing a person who issues cheques which bounce, the Supreme Court stated in the case, Kaushalya Devi vs Roopkishore. In this case, the drawer of cheques was convicted under the Negotiable Instruments Act. However, he deposited Rs 2 lakh out of Rs 3.5 lakh against the cheques. The magistrate felt that under that circumstance, fine would suffice and imprisonment was not necessary. He imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh and allowed time to pay the balance. This order was challenged by the payee, but the Supreme Court agreed with the magistrate that jail sentence was not called for in this particular case.
SC directs Glaxo India to deposit Rs 71.21 cr with Drug Prices Equilisation
The Supreme Court last week directed Glaxo India Ltd to deposit Rs 71.21 crore in the Drug Prices Equilisation Account, asking it to comply with the demand of the government. The central government had issued drug price control orders under the Essential Commodities Act fixing the maximum selling price of bulk drugs. Those notifications were challenged by the pharma company as arbitrary and illegal. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal of the government and stated that several drug companies were overcharging the consumers and the notifications were meant to control prices to benefit consumers.
Insurance Co has to pay if driver has exercised due dilligence
If the owner of a motor vehicle has shown due diligence while appointing a driver and examined his licence, the insurance company cannot deny the insured amount on the ground that the licence was fake. The ruling of the National Consumer Commission to the contrary in the case, Mrs Rubi Dutta vs United India Insurance Co, was set aside by the Supreme Court and the company was asked to pay Rs 2.70 lakh as compensation for the damage to a bus in an accident. The insurer argued that the driver’s licence was fake. But it was a duplicate issued after following the legal procedure. The court stated that at the time of giving employment to the driver, “the owner of the bus must have examined the licence issued to him and after satisfaction thereof, he must have been given employment. Nothing more was required to have been done by the owner. After all, at the time of giving employment to a driver, owner is required to be satisfied with regard to correctness and genuineness of the licence he was holding. After taking the test, if the owner is satisfied with the driving skills of the driver then, obviously, he may be given an appointment.”
Debt recovery appellate tribunal has no power to exempt defaulter: SC
The Supreme Court has stated that the debt recovery appellate tribunal has no power to exempt a defaulter from making a pre-deposit before entertaining his appeal under the Securitisation & Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act. In this case, Narayan Chandra vs UCO Bank, the tribunal granted exemption. The Calcutta high court set aside the order. He appealed to the Supreme Court which upheld the high court ruling.