Law is not static as circumstances and conditions in a society change, laws are also changed to fit the requirements of the society. The object of law is to provide hope of security for the future. It serves as a vehicle of social change and as a harbinger of social justice.
For the purpose of clarity and better understanding of the nature and meaning of law, definitions of law can classify into five broad classes (a) Natural (b) Positivistic (c) Historical (d) Sociological (e) Realistic.
The modern Indian law as administered in courts is derived from various sources and these sources fall under the following two heads:
Principle Sources of Indian Law
Customs or Customary Law
Judicial Decisions or Precedents
Statutes or Legislation
Personal Law e.g., Hindu and Mohammedan Law, etc.
Secondary Sources of Indian Law
Justice, Equity and Good Conscience
Sources of English Law
Principle of Equity
Mercantile Law is a wide term and embraces all legal principles concerning business transactions. The most important feature of such a business transaction is the existence of a valid agreement, express or implied, between the parties concerned. The main sources of Indian Mercantile Law are (a) English Mercantile Law (b) Acts enacted by Indian Legislature (c) Judicial Decisions (d) Customs and Trade Usages.
Jurisprudence is derived from the word ‘juris’ meaning law and ‘prudence’ meaning knowledge. Jurisprudence is the study of the science of law. The study of law in jurisprudence is not about any particular statute or a rule but of law in general, its concepts, its principles and the philosophies underpinning it.
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The preamble to the Constitution sets out the aims and aspirations of the people of India. Constitution of India is basically federal but with certain unitary features. The essential features of a Federal or System are – dual Government, distribution of powers, supremacy of the Constitution, independence of Judiciary, written Constitution, and a rigid procedure for the amendment of the Constitution.
The fundamental rights are envisaged in Part III of the Constitution. These are:
Right to Equality;
Right to Freedom;
Right against Exploitation;
Right to Freedom of Religion;
Cultural and Educational Rights;
Right to Constitutional Remedies.
The Directive Principles as envisaged by the Constitution makers lay down the ideals to be observed by every Government to bring about an economic democracy in this country.
Article 51 A imposing the fundamental duties on every citizen of India was inserted by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.
The most important legislative power conferred on the President is to promulgate Ordinances. The ambit of this Ordinance-making power of the President is co-extensive with the legislative powers of the Parliament. The Governor’s power to make Ordinances is similar to the Ordinance making power of the President and has the force of an Act of the State Legislature.
The Union of India is composed of 29 States and both the Union and the States derive their authority from the Constitution which divides all powers-legislative, executive and financial, between them. Both the Union and States are equally subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution. However, there are some parts of Indian Territory which are not covered by these States and such territories are called Union Territories.
The courts in the Indian legal system, broadly speaking, consist of (i) the Supreme Court, (ii) the High Courts, and (iii) the subordinate courts. The Supreme Court, which is the highest Court in the country is an institution created by the Constitution. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is vast including the writ jurisdiction for enforcing Fundamental Rights.
The increasing complexity of modern administration and the need for flexibility capable of rapid readjustment to meet changing circumstances, have made it necessary for the legislatures to delegate its powers
Article 50 of the Constitution of India dealing with Separation of judiciary from executive. It provides that the State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State
A Bill is a draft statute which becomes law after it is passed by both the Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President. All legislative proposals are brought before Parliament in the forms of Bills.
Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in the Parliamentary System. They are a vibrant link between the Parliament, the Executive and the general public.
Interpretation of Statute
A statute normally denotes the Act enacted by the legislature. The object of interpretation in all cases is to see what is the intention expressed by the words used. The words of the statute are to be interpreted so as to ascertain the mind of the legislature from the natural and grammatical meaning of the words which it has used.
The General Principles of Interpretation are Primary Rules and other Rules of Interpretation.
The primary rules are:
The Mischief Rule or Heydon’s Rule
Rule of Reasonable Construction i.e. Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pareat
Rule of Harmonious Construction
Rule of Ejusdem Generis
Other Rules of Interpretation are: o Expressio Unis Est Exclusio Alterius o Contemporanea Expositio Est Optima Et Fortissima in Lege o The ‘Noscitura Sociis’i o Strict and Liberal Construction o Presumptions
Internal Aids in Interpretation are: Title; Preamble; Heading and Title of a Chapter; Marginal Notes; Interpretation Clauses; Proviso; Illustrations or Explanations; and Schedules.
External Aids in Interpretation: Apart from the intrinsic aids, such as preamble and purview of the Act, the Court can consider resources outside the Act, called the extrinsic aids, in interpreting and finding out the purposes of the Act. There are: Parliamentary History; Reference to Reports of Committees; Reference to other Statutes; Dictionaries and Use of Foreign Decisions.
General Clauses Act 1897
The General Clauses Act, 1897 has been enacted with the aim and objective to provide a one single statute as a composite structure in defining different provisions as regards to the interpretation of words and legal principles which would better placed to be defined for the general application for various rules and regulations
Rule of Construction is a rule used for interpreting legal instruments, especially contracts and statutes. Very few states have codified the rules of construction. Most states treat the rules as mere customs not having the force of law.
Section 8 of General Clauses Act, 1897 talks about the validating provision for the applicability of the Rule of Construction in the larger interest of justice at the court of law.
Kinds of Rule of Construction and Interpretation are Literal Rule of Interpretation, Purposive Rule of Interpretation, Harmonious Construction, Rule of Beneficial Construction and Strict Construction of Penal Statutes.
In any Central Act or Regulation made after the commencement of the General Clause Act, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of indicating the relation of a law to the successors of any functionaries or of corporations having perpetual succession, to express its relation to the functionaries or corporations.
Administrative law is that branch of law that deals with powers, functions and responsibilities of various organs of the state. There is no single universal definition of ‘administrative law’ because it means different things to different theorists.
The ambit of administration is wide and embraces following things within its ambit:- ○ It makes policies ○ It executes and administers the law ○ It adjudicates ○ It exercises legislative power and issues a plethora of rules, bye- laws and orders of a general nature.
Four principal sources of administrative law in India are: (a) Constitution of India (b) Acts/ Statutes (c) Ordinances, Administrative directions, notifications and Circulars (d) Judicial decisions.
In India the modes of judicial control of administrative are grouped into three heads (a) Constitutional (b) Statutory (c) Ordinary or Equitable.
One of the most important principles in the administration of justice is that justice must not only be done but also seen to be done. This is necessary to inspire confidence in the people in the judicial system. Natural justice is a concept of Common Law and represents procedural principles developed by judges. In India, the principles of natural justice are derived from Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. • The liability of the government can either be contractual or tortious.
Law Relating to Torts
Tort means wrong. But every wrong or wrongful act is not a tort. Tort is really a kind of civil wrong as opposed to criminal wrong. Wrongs, in law, are either public or private.
A tort consists of some act or omission done by the defendant (tortfeasor) whereby he has without just cause or excuse caused some harm to plaintiff. To constitute a tort, there must be: (i) a wrongful act or omission of the defendant; (ii) the wrongful act must result in causing legal damage to another; and (iii) the wrongful act must be of such a nature as to give rise to a legal remedy.
Tortious Liabilities are of three types (a) Strict or Absolute Liability, (b) Vicarious Liability and (c) Vicarious Liability of the State.
An action for damages lies in the following kinds of wrongs which are styled as injuries to the person of an individual: ○ Battery ○ Assault ○ Bodily harm ○ False imprisonment ○ Malicious prosecution ○ Nervous shock ○ Defamation
Remedies in tort are of two type judicial remedies and extra judicial remedies. Three types of judicial remedies are available to the plaintiff in an action for torts are: (i) Damages, (ii) Injunction, and (iii) Specific Restitution of Property.
Extra judicial remedies are: (i) Self Defense, (ii) Prevention of Trespass, (iii) Re-entry on Land, (iv) Recaption of Goods, (v) Abatement of Nuisance and (vi) Distress Damage Feasant.
Limitation Act 1963
The essential purpose of a limitation period is to place a time limit on the period within which a party can commence legal proceedings.
Limitation periods are imposed by statute, primarily the Limitation Act 1963. The Limitation Act provides different limitation periods for different types of suits.
If a limitation period has expired for a particular claim, the claim will be “statute-barred”. This means that it will no longer be possible for the claimant to effect recovery for that claim against the alleged wrongdoer.
Where once time has begun to run, no subsequent disability or inability to institute a suit or make an application can stop it provided that where letters of administration to the estate of a creditor have been granted to his debtor, the running of the period of limitation for a suit to recover debt shall be suspended while the administration continues.
where payment on account of a debt or of interest on a legacy is made before the expiration of the prescribed period by the person liable to pay the debt or legacy or by his agent duly authorised in this behalf, a fresh period of limitation shall be computed from the time when the payment was made.
Limitation is dealt with in entry 13, List III of the Constitution of India. The Statute of Limitation is not unconstitutional since it applies to right of action in future.
Civil Procedure Code, 1908
The Civil Procedure Code consists of two parts. 158 Sections form the first part and the rules and orders contained in Schedule I form the second part. The object of the Code generally is to create jurisdiction while the rules indicate the mode in which the jurisdiction should be exercised.
The Code defines important terms that have been used thereunder and deals with different types of courts and their jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means the authority by which a Court has to decide matters that are brought before it for adjudication.
Under the Code of Civil Procedure, a civil court has jurisdiction to try a suit if two conditions are fulfilled: (i) the suit must be of a civil nature; and (ii) the cognizance of such suit should not have been barred. Jurisdiction of a court may be off our kinds: jurisdiction over the subject matter; local or territorial jurisdiction; original and appellate jurisdiction; pecuniary jurisdiction depending on pecuniary value of the suit.
The Code embodies the doctrine of res judicata that is, bar or restraint on repetition of litigation of the same issues. It enacts that since a matter is finally decided by a competent court, no party can be permitted to reopen it in a subsequent litigaton. It is pragmatic principle accepted and provided in law that there must be a limit or end to litigation on the same issues. In the absence of such a rule there would be no end to litigation and the parties would be put to constant trouble, harassment and expenses.
The grant of a temporary injunction is a matter of discretion of Courts. Such injunction may be granted if the Court finds that there is a substantial question to be investigated and that matter should be preserved in status until final disposal of that question.
The Code also provides for making certain interlocutory orders. The court has power to order sale of any moveable property which is the subject-matter of the suit or attached before judgement in such suit which is subject to speedy and natural decay or for any just and sufficient cause desirable to be sold at once.
Suit ordinarily is a civil action started by presenting a plaint in duplicate to the Court containing concise statement of the material facts, on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence. In every plaint the facts must be proved by an affidavit.
The main essentials of the suit are: (i) the opposing parties; (ii) the cause of action; (iii) the subject matter of the suit, and (iv) the relief(s) claimed.
Every suit shall be instituted in the Court of the lowest grade to try it. The Code specifies the categories of suits that shall be instituted in the court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situated. This is subject to the pecuniary or other limitations prescribed by any law. The various stages in proceedings of a suit have been elaborately laid down under the Code.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 is the substantive law of crimes. It defines acts which constitute an offence and lays down punishment for the same. It lays down certain principles of criminal law. The procedural law through which the Indian Penal Code is implemented is the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
The basic function of criminal law is to punish the offender and to deter the incidence of crime in the society.
The commission of a crime consists of some significant stages. If a person commits a crime voluntarily, it involves four important stages, viz. (i) Criminal Intention (ii) Preparation (iii) Attempt (iv) Commission of Crime or Accomplishment.
The punishments to which offenders are liable under the provisions of IPC are Death, Life imprisonment, Imprisonment, Forfeiture of property and fine.
When two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done an illegal act, or an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy.
Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or willfully suffers any other person so to do, commits “criminal breach of trust”.
Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to “cheat”.
Fraudulent Deeds and Dispositions of Property are covered under section 421 to 424 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. These sections deal with fraudulent conveyances referred to in section 53 of the Transfer of Property Act and the Presidency-towns and Provincial Insolvency Acts.
Whoever makes any false document or false electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage or injury, to the public or to any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.
Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides general exceptions for a person accused of committing any offence under the Code to plead in his defence. General defences or exceptions are contained in sections 76 to 106 of the IPC.
Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
The law of criminal procedure is meant to be complimentary to criminal law. It is intended to provide a mechanism for the enforcement of criminal law. The Code of Criminal Procedure creates the necessary machinery for apprehending the criminals, investigating the criminal cases, their trials before the criminal courts and imposition of proper punishment on the guilty person.
For the purpose of the Code all offences have been classified into different categories. Firstly, all offences are divided into two categories – cognizable offences and non-cognizable offences; secondly, offences are classified into bailable and non-bailable offences; and thirdly, the Code classifies all criminal cases into summons cases and warrant cases.
The Code enumerates the hierarchy of criminal courts in which different offences can be tried and then it spells out the limits of sentences which such Courts are authorized to pass.
The Code contemplates two types of arrests – (a) arrest with a warrant; and (b) arrest without a warrant. Where a person has been concerned in a non-cognizable offence, he cannot, except in a few cases be arrested without a warrant. Powers to arrest without a warrant are mainly conferred on the police. The Code envisages the various circumstances under which a police officer may arrest a person without a warrant.
Further, a private person may arrest or cause to be arrested any person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence or who is a proclaimed offender. Furthermore, the Magistrate has been given power to arrest a person who has committed an offence in his presence and also commit him to custody.
Whether the arrest to be made s with a warrant or without a warrant, it is necessary that in making such anarrest, the police officer or other person making such an arrest actually touches or confines the body of the person to be arrested and such police officer or other person may use all necessary means to effect the arrest if there is forcible resistance.
Persons arrested are to be taken before the Magistrate or officer-in-charge of a police station without unnecessary delay.
Every warrant of arrest issued by a Court under this Code shall be in writing, signed by the presiding officer of such Court, and shall bear the seal of the Court. Such warrant shall remain in force until it is cancelled by the Court which issued it, or until it is executed. Where a warrant remains unexecuted, the Code provides for two remedies (i) issuing a proclamation; and (ii) attachment and sale of property.
The main processes for compelling production of things and documents are (a) summons issued by a court; (b) warrant order issued by a police officer in charge of a police station; (c) search and seizure with or without a warrant. These processes may be used – (i) for the investigation, inquiry or trial in respect of an offence; or(ii) for any other proceeding generally taken as a preventive or precautionary measure.
In case of a cognizable offence the police officer may conduct investigations without the order of a Magistrate. Investigation includes all proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence by the police officer or by any person who is authorized by the Magistrate in this behalf.
Any Magistrate of first class and of the second class specially empowered may take cognizance of an offence upon: (i) receiving a complaint of facts constituting such offence; (ii) a police report of such facts; (iii) information received from any person other than police officer; (iv) his own knowledge that such offence has been committed.
Summary trial means the “speedy disposal” of cases. By summary cases is meant a case which can be tried and disposed of at once. Generally, it will apply to such offences not punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding two years. The kinds of offences that can be tried summarily have been stipulated under the Code. In every case tried summarily in which the accused does not plead guilty, the Magistrate shall record the substance of the evidence and a judgement containing a brief statement of the reason for the finding. The concerned Magistrate must sign such record and judgement.
Indian Evidence Act, 1872
The law of Evidence may be defined as a system of rules for ascertaining controverted questions of fact in judicial inquiries. This system of ascertaining the facts, which are the essential elements of a right or liability and is the primary and perhaps the most difficult function of the court, is regulated by a set of rules and principles known as law of Evidence”.
The word evidence in the Act signifies only the instruments by means of which relevant facts are brought before the court, viz., witnesses and documents, and by means of which the court is convinced of these facts.
Evidence under the Act may be either oral or personal (i.e. all statements which the court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses), and documentary (documents produced for the inspection of the court), which may be adduced in order to prove a certain fact (principal fact) which is in issue.
The general rule known as the hearsay rule is that what is stated about the fact in question is irrelevant. To this general rule there are three exceptions which are: (i) Admissions and confessions; (ii) Statements as to certain matters under certain circumstances by persons who are not witnesses; and (iii) Statements made under special circumstances.
All facts which are neither admitted nor are subject to judicial notice must be proved. The Act divides the subject of proof into two parts: (i) proof of facts other than the contents of documents; (ii) proof of documents including proof of execution of documents and proof of existence, condition and contents of documents.
A presumption is a rule of law that courts or juries shall or may draw a particular inference from a particular fact or from particular evidence unless and until the truth of such inference is disproved. There are three categories of presumptions:(i) presumptions of law, which is a rule of law that a particular inference shall be drawn by a court from particular circumstances; (ii) presumptions of fact, it is a rule of law that a fact otherwise doubtful may be inferred from a fact which is proved; (iii) mixed resumptions, they consider mainly certain inferences between the presumptions of law and presumptions of fact.
The general rule of estoppel is when one person has by his declaration, act or omission, intentionally caused or permitted another person to believe a thing to be true and to act upon such belief, neither he nor his representative shall be allowed, in any suit or proceeding between himself and such person or his representative to deny the truth of that thing.
Special Courts, Tribunal under Companies Act and other Legislations
Tribunal is an administrative body established for the purpose of discharging quasi-judicial duties. An Administrative Tribunal is neither a Court nor an executive body. It stands somewhere midway between a Court and an administrative body. The exigencies of the situation proclaiming the enforcement of new rights in the wake of escalating State activities and furtherance of the demands of justice have led to the establishment of Tribunals.
Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body and the primary objective of constituting the Tribunals is to provide a simpler, speedier and more accessible dispute resolution mechanism in Company Law matter specifically apart from other laws for which it is empowered.
Any person aggrieved by an order of the National Company Law Tribunal may prefer an appeal to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. No appeal shall lie to the Appellate Tribunal from an order made by the Tribunal with the consent of parties.
Any person aggrieved by any order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal to the Supreme Court within sixty days from the date of receipt of the order of the Appellate Tribunal to him on any question of law arising out of such order.
The National Company Law Tribunal and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal shall have the same jurisdiction, powers and authority in respect of contempt of themselves as the High Court has and may exercise, for this purpose, the powers under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
A party to any proceeding or appeal before the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal, as the case may be, may either appear in person or authorise one or more chartered accountants or company secretaries or cost accountants or legal practitioners or any other person to present his case before the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal, as the case may be.
The provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 shall, as far as may be, apply to proceedings or appeals before the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal, as the case may be.
The Central Government may, for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences under Companies Act, 2013 by notification, establish or designate as many Special Courts as may be necessary. The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 shall apply to the proceedings before a Special Court and for the purposes of the said provisions, the Special Court shall be deemed to be a Court of Session or the court of Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class, as the case may be, and the person conducting a prosecution before a Special Court shall be deemed to be a Public Prosecutor.
Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
The purpose of Arbitration Act is to provide quick redressal to commercial disputes by private arbitration. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 aims at streamlining the process of arbitration and facilitating conciliation in business matters.
The Act has been divided into four parts. Part one deals with Arbitration; Part two deals with enforcement of certain Foreign Awards; Part three deals with conciliation; and Part four contains supplementary provisions
The present Act is based on model law drafted by United Nations Commission on International Trade Laws (UNCITRAL), both on domestic arbitration as well as international commercial arbitration, to provide uniformity and certainty to both categories of cases.
The award shall be made within a period of twelve months from the date the arbitral tribunal enters upon the reference.
The award under fast track procedure shall be made within a period of six months from the date the arbitral tribunal enters upon the reference.
Conciliation is an informal process in which the conciliator (the third party) tries to bring the disputants to agreement. He does this by lowering tensions, improving communications, interpreting issues, providing technical assistance, exploring potential solutions and bringing about a negotiated settlement. Mediation is a structured process in which the mediator assists the disputants to reach a negotiated settlement of their differences.
Mediation is usually a voluntary process that results in a signed agreement which defines the future behavior of the parties. The mediator uses a variety of skills and techniques to help the parties reach the settlement, but is not empowered to render a decision.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes provide procedural flexibility save valuable time and money and avoid the stress of a conventional trial. The International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) is a unique centre in this part of the world that makes provision for promoting teaching and research in the field of ADR as also for offering ADR services to parties not only in India but also to parties all over the world.
Indian Stamp Act, 1889
The Indian Stamp Act, 1899 is the law relating to stamps which consolidates and amends the law relating to stamp duty. It is a fiscal legislation envisaging levy of stamp duty on certain instruments.
Entry 91 of the Union List, gives power to Union Legislature to levy stamp duty with regard to certain instruments (mostly of a commercial character). They are bill of exchange, cheques, promissory notes, bill of lading, letters of credit, policies of insurance, transfer of shares, debentures, proxies and receipt. Likewise, entry 63 of the State List confers on the States power to prescribe the rates of stamp duties on other instruments.
Instrument includes every document by which any right or liability, is, or purported to be created, transferred, limited, extended, extinguished or recorded. Any instrument mentioned in Schedule I to Indian Stamp Act is chargeable to duty as prescribed in the schedule. • In case of sale, mortgage or settlement, if there are several instruments for one transaction, stamp duty is payable only on one instrument. On other instruments, nominal stamp duty of Re. 1 is payable. If one instrument relates to several distinct matters, stamp duty payable is aggregate amount of stamp duties payable on separate instruments.
Government can reduce or remit whole or part of duties payable. Such reduction or remission can be in respect of whole or part of territories and also can be for particular class of persons. Government can also compound or consolidate duties in case of issue of shares or debentures by companies.
The payment of stamp duty can be made by adhesive stamps or impressed stamps. Instrument executed in India must be stamped before or at the time of execution. Instrument executed out of India can be stamped within three months after it is first received in India. In some cases, stamp duty is payable on ad valorem basis, i.e. on the basis of value of property, etc. In such cases, value is decided on prescribed basis.
An instrument not ‘duly stamped’ cannot be accepted as evidence by civil court, an arbitrator or any other authority authorized to receive evidence. However, the document can be accepted as evidence in criminal court. Duly stamped means that the instrument bears an adhesive or impressed stamp not less than proper amount and that such stamp has been affixed or used in accordance with law in force in India.
If non-payment or short payment of stamp duty is by accident, mistake or urgent necessity, the person can himself produce the document to Collector within one year. In such case, Collector may receive the amount and endorse the document that proper duty has been paid.
If the company issues securities to one or more depositories, it will have to pay stamp duty on total amount of security issued by it and such securities need not be stamped. If an investor opts out of depository scheme, the securities surrendered to Depository will be issued to him in form of a certificate. Such share certificate should be stamped as if a ‘duplicate certificate’ has been issued. If securities are purchased or sold under depository scheme, no stamp duty is payable.
A levy of a penalty or payment in respect of an unstamped or insufficiently stamped document does not necessarily exempt a person from liability for prosecution for such offence. Revenue Authority has been authorized to refund the penalty in excess of duty payable on instrument in certain cases.
The Collector has got the power notwithstanding anything contained in the order of the lower court, to prosecute a person if any offence against the Stamp Act which he considers that the person has committed in respect of such an instrument. The prosecution is instituted when he is satisfied that the offence is committed with an intention of evading the proper stamp duty. The order of the lower court as to the instrument shall be valid except for the purposes of prosecution in this respect.
Provisions have been incorporated in the Act to relieve companies renewing debentures issued by them from the liability to pay stamp duty on both the original and the renewed debenture.
Registration Act 1908: Registration Of Documents
Registration of documents relating to immovable property is compulsory. Registration of will is optional. Some documents though related to immovable property are not required to be registered. These are given in Section 17(2) of the Act.
Document should be submitted for registration within four months from date of execution. Decree or order of Court can be submitted within four months from the day it becomes final. If document is executed by several persons at different times, it may be presented for registration within four months from date of each execution. If a document is executed abroad by some of the parties, it can be presented for registration within four months after its arrival in India.
If a person finds that a document has been filed for registration by a person who is not empowered to do so, he can present the document for re-registration within four months from the date he became aware of the fact that registration of document is invalid.
Documents relating to immovable property should be registered in the office of Sub-Registrar of sub-district within which the whole or some portion of property is situated. Other documents can be registered in the office of Sub- Registrar. Where all persons executing the document desire it to be registered. Registrar can accept a document which is registrable with Sub-Registrar who is subordinate to him. Document should b presented for registration at the office of Registrar/Sub-Registrar. However, in special case, the officer may attend residence of any person to accept a document or will.
All persons executing the document or their representatives, assign or agents holding power of attorney must appear before registering officer. They have to admit execution and sign the document in presence of Registrar, as required under Section 58(1)(a). Appearance may be simultaneous or at different times. If some of the persons are unable to appear within four months, further time up to additional four months can be given on payment of fine up to 10 times the proper registration fee.
If the Registering Officer is satisfied about identity of persons and if they admit about execution of documents, and after registration fees are paid, the registering officer will register the document. He will make necessary entries in the Register maintained by him.
After all formalities are completed, the Registering Officer will endorse the document with the word ‘Registered’, and sign the same. The endorsement will be copied in Register. After registration, the document will be returned to the person who presented the document.
A document takes effect from its date of execution and not from date of registration. However, if the document states that it will be effective from a particular date, it will be effective from that date.
Any non-testamentary document registered under the Act takes effect against any oral agreement relating to the property. The only exceptions are: (a) if possession of property (movable or immovable) is delivered on the basis of such oral agreement and such delivery of possession is valid transfer under any law (b) mortgage by deposit of title deeds takes effect against any mortgage deed subsequently executed and registered which relates to some property.
Right to Information Act, 2005
Right to know is a necessary ingredient of participatory democracy. The Government enacted Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 which came into force on October 12, 2005.
The RTI Act provides for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information held by public authorities to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. Every public authority under the Act has been entrusted with a duty to maintain records and publish manuals, rules, regulations, instructions, etc. in its possession as prescribed under the Act. Further, it is obligatory on every public authority to publish the information about various particulars prescribed under the Act within one hundred and twenty days of the enactment of this Act.
Every public authority has to designate in all administrative units or offices, Central or State Public Information Officers to provide information to persons who have made a request for the information. The Public Information Officers/Assistant Public Information Officers will be responsible to deal with the requests for information and also to assist persons seeking information.
The Act specifies the manner in which requests may be made by a citizen to the authority for obtaining the information. It also provides for transferring the request to the other concerned public authority who may hold the information.
Certain categories of information have been exempted from disclosure under Section 8 and 9 of the Act.
Intelligence and security agencies specified in Schedule II to the Act have been exempted from the ambit of the Act, subject to certain conditions.
The Public Information Officer has been empowered to reject a request for information where an infringement of a copyright subsisting in a person would be involved.
Only that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information, may be provided.
The Act envisages constitution of Central Information Commission and the State Information Commissions.
The Central Information Commission is to be constituted by the Central Government through a Gazette Notification. The Central Information Commission consists of: (i) The Chief Information Commissioner; (ii) Central Information Commissioners not exceeding10.
The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
CIC shall be appointed for a term of 5 years from date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. CIC is not eligible for reappointment.
The State Information Commission will be constituted by the State Government through a Gazette notification. The State Information Commission consists of: (i) One State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and (ii) Not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC).
The Central /State Commission have been authorized to receive and enquire into a complaint from any person who has been denied information by the concerned authorities due to various reasons as specified under the Act. If the Commission feels satisfied, an enquiry may be initiated and while initiating an enquiry the Commission has same powers as vested in a Civil Court.
Any person who does not receive a decision within the specified time or is aggrieved by a decision of the PIO may file an appeal under the Act.
Stringent penalty may be imposed on a Public Information Officer for failing to provide information. The Information Commission (IC) at the Centre and at the State levels will have the power to impose this penalty.
The Act also stipulates the role of the Central/State Governments.
Information Technology Act, 2000
The Information Technology Act has been passed to give effect to the UN resolution and to promote efficient delivery of Government services by means of reliable electronic records. The Act came into effect on 17.10.2000.
The purpose of the Act is (a) to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “electronic commerce”, which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information and (b) to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies.
Any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his electronic signature.
“Digital Signature” means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Act.
The digital signature will be certified by ‘Certifying Authority’. The ‘certified authority’ will be licensed, supervised and controlled by ‘Controller of Certifying Authorities’.
The Act contemplates a dual scheme in regard to wrongful acts concerning computers, etc. Certain acts are visited with (so called) “penalties”, which are however, adjudicated, not before courts, but before adjudication officers.
The Act provides for the establishment of one or more Appellate Tribunal and lays down various provisions regarding its jurisdiction, composition, powers and procedure.
Any person aggrieved by an order of the Controller of Certifying Authorities or of the adjudicator can appeal to the Appellate Tribunal.
Chapter XI of the Act spells out provisions regarding offences relating to computers, etc. This chapter also contains provisions empowering the Controller of Certifying Authorities to issue certain directions to Certifying Authorities and to subscribers. There is also a provision for confiscation.