• Kartick Paul The State of West Bengal and others
    ‘Prison service cannot be equated with normal service’: Calcutta High Court (HC) holds prisoners to not be Governed by Minimum Wages Act
    The Calcutta High Court (HC) on Thursday held that prisoners in the state of West Bengal are not to be governed by the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the rates fixed under such provisions by the appropriate Government as minimum wages. “Prison service cannot exactly be equated with normal service, outside incarceration. There are certain distinctly discerning features in the former, as compared to the latter”, observed the Single Bench. Expounding these differences, the Judge said that first, prison service, if under rigorous imprisonment, is not only compulsory for the prisoner, but is mandatorily to be provided by the authorities as well. …. Even prisoners undergoing simple, as opposed to rigorous, imprisonment have the option to choose work; if opted for, the jail authority/employer is bound to provide such work and does not have a choice to refuse such request, even when law does not mandate such work as a necessary corollary of the imprisonment. This element of compulsion on the employer, associated with prison service, somewhat negates the bargaining power of the employer, as opposed to other employments, consequentially diluting the obligation of employers to pay the minimum rates of wages prescribed for employees under the Minimum Wages Act, which obligation is intended to set off the negative effect of such bargaining power in the hands of employers. Secondly, the judgment reads, that since there is a special statute, that is, the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992, governing the incidents of prison service in the state of West Bengal, which provides for the remuneration of prisoners and working hours etc., the same overrides the general service law as far as prison service is concerned.


  • Vinodchandra Sakarlal Kapadia v. State of Gujarat and Ors
    Bar on ‘Transfer/Assignment’ of Agricultural Land to Non-Agriculturist applicable to testamentary disposition also: Supreme Court (SC)
    The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ruled that Section 63 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948 debars an agriculturist from parting with his agricultural land to a non-agriculturist through a “Will”. The three-judge bench, in dismissing the appeals against the impugned Gujarat High Court judgment, also held that Section 43(1) of the Tenancy Act restricts transfer of any land or interest purchased by the tenant under Sections 17B, 32, 32F. 321. 320, 32U, 33(1) or 88E or sold to any person under Section 32P or 64 of the Tenancy Act through the execution of a Will by way of testamentary disposition. The Court said that if a testamentary disposition which does not have the element of consideration is to be permitted, and if it is assumed that Sections 43 and 63 of the Act do not get attracted, the land can be bequeathed to a total stranger and a non-agriculturist who may not cultivate the land himself; which in turn may then lead to engagement of somebody as a tenant on the land. In such a situation, the legislative intent to do away with absentee landlordism and to protect the cultivating tenants, and to establish direct relationship between the cultivator and the land would then be rendered otiose. “The construction put on the expression “assignment” appearing in Section 43, therefore, has to be consistent with the legislative scheme. In the context of the entire scheme, the term “assignment” used in Section 43 of the Act must include testamentary disposition as well. By adopting such construction, in keeping with the law laid down by this Court, the statute would succeed in attaining the object sought to be achieved.
  • Siri Chand (Deseased) v. Surinder Singh
    Contingent Clause in rent deed to increase rent each year cannot be read to mean that Tenancy was for more than one year period: Supreme Court (SC)
    The Supreme Court (SC) has observed that, merely because a Rent deed contains a clause which binds the tenant to increase the rent by certain percentage each year, it cannot be read to mean that the tenancy was for a period of more than one year. In this case, the issue before the Apex Court was whether a rent note signed by the tenant which required compulsory registration under Section 17(1)(d) of the Registration Act, 1908? The Court noted that as per Section 17(1)(d) of the Registration Act, leases of immovable property from year to year, or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent requires compulsory registration. The rent deed in question did not provide for any specific period for which the rent deed was executed.


  • Mr S R Krishna Murthy v. Union of India
    Karnataka High Court (HC) dismisses Plea against imposing ‘Unscientific’ Masks On Public
    The Karnataka High Court (HC) recently refused to entertain a public interest litigation against imposition of the use of the ‘unscientific’ Masks and PPE’s.
  • Gaurav Jain v. Union of India & Anr
    Can’t waive rent, Landlords need money too: High Court(HC)
    The High Court (HC) of Delhi, while dismissing a plea that wanted a blanket waiver on payment of rent and protection from eviction during Covid-19 crisis said that tenants are not suffering from financial hardship alone, even landlords can be financially dependent on rent. A division bench noted that the Court will be “extremely slow to interfere in contractual terms” between landlords and tenants, adding that waiver of rent can’t be granted by the Court as payment of rent is based on a contract between tenant and landlord.
  • Charan Ravindra Bhatv. State of Maharashtra & Ors
    Contracting Covid-19 is no ground to ostracize essential service staffers; Bombay High Court (HC) dismisses PIL alleging unhindered movement leading to rise in cases
    The Bombay High Court (HC) last Friday while dismissing a PIL alleging that unhindered movement of doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, policemen and others working in essential services has led to the rise in the number of positive cases of Coronavirus in different parts of suburbs around Mumbai, held that even if some essential service staffers got infected with the virus, it is no ground to ostracise them. Calling for a more humane approach, Court dismissed the Petition- “It is a humane approach, which is the call of the moment. The essential staffers, instead of being put to any disability because of their nature of work and also instead of being forced to reside in places away from their residences, should be encouraged to discharge their duty without fear of duress and restraint. After all, these staffers have their own families and to ensure that none of their family members is infected, it is expected that they would themselves take the greatest care and act with caution so that they are free of the infection and do not transmit the same to their near and dear ones.”


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