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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Whether the Accused had violated Section 9(1)(b) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as, the 1973 Act). Section 9(1)(b) aforementioned, is being extracted hereunder:- “9. Restrictions on payments – (1) Save as may be provided in, and in accordance with any general or special exemption from the provisions of this sub-section which may be granted conditionally or unconditionally by the Reserve Bank, no person in, or resident in, India shall – (a) xxx xxx xxx (b) receive, otherwise than through an authorized dealer, any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India; Explanation – For the purposes of this clause, where any person in, or resident in, India receives any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India through any other person (including an authorized dealer) without a corresponding inward remittance from any place outside India, then, such person shall be deemed to have received such payment otherwise than through an authorized dealer;” = “36. A person accused of commission of an offence is not expected to prove to the hilt that confession had been obtained from him by any inducement, threat or promise by a person in authority. The burden is on the prosecution to show that the confession is voluntary in nature and not obtained as an outcome of threat, etc. if the same is to be relied upon solely for the purpose of securing a conviction.we are satisfied that the charge against the appellant under Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act, cannot be established on the basis of newspaper sheets, in which the money was wrapped. The newspaper sheets relied upon, would not establish that the amount recovered from the residence of the appellant – A. Tajudeen was dispatched by Abdul Hameed from Singapore, through a person who was not an authorized dealer. Based on the above determination, and the various conclusions recorded hereinabove, we are satisfied, that the impugned judgment passed by the High Court deserves to be set aside. =2014- Oct.Part.- S.C.- CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5773 OF 2009 A. Tajudeen …. Appellant versus Union of India …. Respondent

                                                                “REPORTABLE”

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5773 OF 2009


A. Tajudeen                                        …. Appellant

                                   versus


Union of India                                     …. Respondent


                               J U D G M E N T

Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.

1.    Through memorandum dated 12.3.1990 it was alleged, that the  appellant
herein – A. Tajudeen, without any general  or  special  exemption  from  the
Reserve Bank of India, had  received  an  amount  of  Rs.8,24,900/-  in  two
installments,  at  the  behest  of  Abdul  Hameed,  a  person  resident   in
Singapore.  The first  installment  was  allegedly  received  on  23.10.1989
which comprised  of  Rs.4,00,000/-.   The  remaining  amount  was  allegedly
received in the second installment on 25.10.1989.   As  per  the  memorandum
the aforesaid amounts had been received from a local person, who was not  an
authorised dealer in foreign exchange.
2.    Based on the factual  position  noticed  hereinabove,  the  allegation
against the appellant was, that he  had  violated  Section  9(1)(b)  of  the
Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as, the  1973
Act).  Section 9(1)(b) aforementioned, is being extracted hereunder:-
“9.   Restrictions on payments – (1) Save as may  be  provided  in,  and  in
accordance with any general or special  exemption  from  the  provisions  of
this sub-section which may be granted conditionally  or  unconditionally  by
the Reserve Bank, no person in, or resident in, India shall –

      (a)   xxx        xxx        xxx
      (b)   receive,  otherwise  than  through  an  authorized  dealer,  any
payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India;
      Explanation – For the purposes of this clause, where  any  person  in,
or resident in, India receives any payment by order  or  on  behalf  of  any
person resident  outside  India  through  any  other  person  (including  an
authorized dealer) without a corresponding inward remittance from any  place
outside India, then, such person shall  be  deemed  to  have  received  such
payment otherwise than through an authorized dealer;”

Based on  the  aforesaid  statutory  provision,  and  the  factual  position
noticed  hereinabove,  the  Enforcement  Directorate  initiated  proceedings
against the appellant under Section 50 of the 1973 Act.
3.    Before  adjudicating  upon  the  merits  of  the  controversy,  it  is
essential to narrate the factual position leading to  the  issuance  of  the
aforesaid memorandum dated 12.3.1990.  The facts as  they  emerge  from  the
pleadings, and the various orders leading to the  passing  of  the  impugned
judgment rendered by the High Court of  Judicature  at  Madras  (hereinafter
referred to as, the High Court)  on  28.9.2006,  are  being  chronologically
narrated hereunder:-
(i)   The appellant – A. Tajudeen is alleged to have  made  a  statement  to
the Enforcement Directorate on 20.4.1989, wherein he acknowledged,  that  he
had received a sum of Rs.1,40,000/- from Abdul Hameed.   Out  of  the  above
amount, he paid a sum of Rs.60,000/- through  his  shop  boy  –  Shahib,  to
Shahul Hameed (a  relative  of  Abdul  Hameed)  of  Village  Pudhumadam.   A
further amount of Rs.20,000/- was paid to some friends of  Abdul  Hameed  at
Keelakarai, and remaining amount was retained by appellant himself.  In  the
statement made on 20.4.1989, it was allegedly acknowledged by the  appellant
that Abdul Hameed was a resident  of  Singapore,  and  was  running  a  shop
located at Market Street, Singapore.
(ii)  On 25.10.1989, the officers of the Enforcement Directorate raided  the
residential premises of the appellant, namely, no.  6,  Dr.  Muniappa  Road,
Kilpauk, Madras.  At the time of the raid, which commenced at 1.00  pm,  his
wife T. Sahira Banu was at the residence.   The  appellant  -  A.  Tajudeen,
also  reached  his  residence  at  1.30  pm,  whilst  the  officers  of  the
Enforcement Directorate were still conducting the raid.  During  the  course
of the raid, a sum of Rs.8,24,900/- in Indian currency  was  recovered  from
under a mattress from a bedroom of the appellant’s residence.
(iii) A mahazar was prepared on 25.10.1989, depicting  the  details  of  the
currency recovered from the raid.  The said  mahazar  was  prepared  in  the
presence of two independent witnesses, namely, R.M.  Subramanian  and  Hayad
Basha.  The above independent witnesses also  affixed  their  signatures  on
the mahazar.
(iv)  At the time of the raid itself, the statement of the  appellant  -  A.
Tajudeen  was  recorded  (on  25.10.1989).   The  relevant  extract  of  the
aforesaid statement of the appellant  is  being  reproduced  hereunder.   It
needs to be expressly noticed, that the appellant  now  allegedly  disclosed
the address of Abdul Hameed, as no. 24, Sarangoon Road, Singapore.
“Today your officers searched  my  aforesaid  house  and  seized  a  sum  of
Rs.8,24,900/- as set out in the Mahazar.  I wanted to establish a  jewellery
shop in Madras.  I commenced a jewellery shop  in  the  name  and  style  of
“M/s.  Banu  Jewellers”  on  19.10.1989  at  No.   12,   Ranganathan   Road,
Nungambakkam, Madras-34.  It is a partnership business wherein  my  wife  T.
Sahira Banu is a partner.  For that I sold my wife’s gold  jewels  and  also
taken hand loans from my friends.  The said  business  was  started  with  a
capital of Rs.2,20,000/- in my  wife’s  name.   The  other  partner  Mr.  S.
Muthuswamy of No. 20, Indira Nagar, Adyar (I do not  remember  his  address)
has contributed to the capital a sum of Rs.30,000/-.
For expanding the said shop and  for  improving  the  business,  I  required
about Rs.9,00,000/-.  My relatives are working in  Singapore  and  Malaysia.
One Abdul Hameed from my native place is carrying on business for  the  past
15 years at no. 24, Sarangoon Road, Singapore.  He is  dealing  in  clothes,
VCRs etc.  He came down to Madras about 2 months back.   At  that  time,  he
met me at my residence.   I  told  him  that  a  jewellery  business  to  be
commenced and that I require about Rs.9,00,000/- for the said  business  and
to discharge certain small loans.  Further I requested him  to  help  me  by
providing the said money assuring to repay the same in 2 or  3  years’  time
with small interest during his visit to India.
He assured to contact me over phone, House telephone no. 666611 on  reaching
Singapore.  The said Abdul Hameed, about  2  months  back,  called  me  over
phone from Singapore and told me that as I requested to  him,  he  had  made
arrangements for sending the sum of Rs.9,00,000/- and that  he  will  inform
me about the mode of transmitting the same.  Thereafter during the 2nd  week
of this month, the said Abdul Hameed contacted me over phone.  At that  time
he told me that he  would  send  Rs.8,25,000/-  in  two  installments  being
Rs.4,00,000/- and Rs.4,25,000/- and that the said money would  be  delivered
at my house in the 3rd week or  4th  week  of  this  month  through  unknown
person.  Pursuant thereto, on 23.10.1989 around 9.00 pm  an  unknown  person
came to my house inquiring about me and gave me Rs.4,00,000/-  stating  that
he is delivering the same on the instruction of Abdul Hameed  of  Singapore.
Similarly another unknown person came to my house at 8.00 am  on  24.10.1989
and delivered to me Rs.4,25,000/- claiming to be on the instructions of  the
said Singapore Abdul Hameed.  I  was  keeping  the  said  Rs.4,00,000/-  and
Rs.4,25,000/-, totaling to Rs.8,25,000/-, in my house which was received  on
the instruction of Abdul Hameed.
The  Enforcement  Officer  who  searched  the  house  seized  the   sum   of
Rs.8,24,900/- which I got in the aforesaid manner.  The  said  Abdul  Hameed
who is residing at Singapore is my distant relative on  the  paternal  side.
He is living with his family at Singapore.  He  used  to  come  down  to  my
native lace, Pudhumadam Village, once in a year to visit his relatives.   He
is aged 45 years and of the height of about 5½  feet,  fair  complexion  and
medium built.
The person who delivered the sum of Rs.4,00,000/-  on  the  instructions  of
said Abdul Hameed did not disclose his name and address.  He  was  about  35
years old and with medium height and medium built.   He  was  wearing  pants
and  shirt.   He  left  within  few  minutes  on  delivering  the   sum   of
Rs.4,00,000/- to me and hence I could not notice other  identifiable  marks.
Similarly the other person who came on 24.10.1989 and delivered the  sum  of
Rs.4,25,000/- on  the  instructions  of  said  Abdul  Hameed  also  did  not
disclose his name and address.  He must be around 40 years old.  He is  also
medium built and also medium height.  Since  both  of  them  left  my  house
within a few minutes on delivering the said sums, I could not  notice  their
identifiable  marks.   I  was  making  arrangements  to   export   readymade
garments.  In respect thereof, I required the place apart from my  house  to
meet my customers.  For that I have taken on rent room no.  402,  in  Ganpat
Hotel, Nungambakkam High Road about 4-5 months back from its owner one  M.R.
Prabhakaran.  I am using the telephone no. 477409  in  the  said  shop,  A/C
machine and fridge available in the said room.  Since  Export  business  did
not suit me, I left it.  The said room is in my possession.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

(v)   During the course of the raid conducted on 25.10.1989,  the  appellant
- A. Tajudeen, was detained by the officers of the Enforcement  Directorate.
 His statement was again recorded on 26.10.1989  by  the  Chief  Enforcement
Officer, whilst he was in custody.  Relevant portion of his above  mentioned
statement is being extracted hereunder:-
“I have earlier given statement before you on 25.10.1989.  In  that  I  have
disclosed that by searching  my  house  on  25.10.1989  your  officers  have
seized a sum of Rs.8,24,900/- which  I  received  from  unknown  persons  on
23.10.1989 and 25.10.1989 on the instructions of Abdul Hameed of  Singapore.
 This is true.  On 25.10.1989, the  said  officers  searched  the  jewellery
shop “Banu Jewellers” in which my wife is a partner.  At  that  time  I  was
also there.  In the  said  search  no  documents  were  seized.   The  other
partner Mr. Muthusamy who is looking after the seized sum  of  Rs.8,24,900/-
is not related to the  said  business.   As  stated  by  him,  there  is  no
connection between the said business and the sums seized.
Today your officers searched my room at No. 402, Ganpat  Hotel,  Nungapakkam
High Road, Madras-34 which I have taken on rent.  I  was  there  during  the
search.  Since I have lost the  key  it  was  opened  by  a  lock  repairer.
Pursuant to the said search a  quotation  from  A.L.  Textiles  Mills  dated
15.4.1989 was seized.
Hereinbefore, in April last, I appeared  before  the  officers  and  gave  a
statement.  Today I was shown the statement which I have  given  before  the
officers on 20.4.1989.  I  have  stated  about  the  receipt  of  a  sum  of
Rs.1,40,000/- through my shop boy,  Shahib,  on  the  instructions  of  said
Abdul Hameed of Singapore and out of the same, I have disbursed  Rs.60,000/-
on the instructions of the said Abdul Hameed to Shahul Hameed at  Pudhumadam
and the payment of Rs.20,000/- to a friend in  Keelakarai  through  my  shop
manager, Hasan.  The said Shahul Hameed mentioned  in  the  statement  dated
20.4.1989 and Abdul Hameed disclosed in the statement  dated  25.10.1989  is
one and the same person.  In the said  statement  dated  24.10.1989  I  have
stated that Abdul Hameed is running  a  fancy  store  in  Market  Street  in
Singapore.  In the statement dated 25.10.1989,  I  have  stated  that  Abdul
Hameed is running a shop at Sarangoon Road, Singapore.  Few months back,  he
has shifted his business from the Market Street to Sarangoon Road.   In  the
statement dated 20.4.1989, I have stated that I am running  a  textile  shop
“Seemati Silks” at Periyakadai Veethi,  Ramanathapuram.   In  the  statement
dated 25.10.1989 I have stated that I am the proprietor of  “Seemati  Silks”
at Salai Street.  Periyakadai Veethi is used to be called as  Salai  Street.
All that I stated in this statement are true.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

(vi)  Whilst the  appellant  -  A.  Tajudeen  was  under  detention  of  the
Enforcement Directorate, the statement of his wife T. Sahira Banu  was  also
recorded on 26.10.1989.  The same  was  allegedly  scribed  by  M.J.  Jaffer
Sadiq, a  nephew,  and  then  signed  by  T.  Sahira  Banu.   In  the  above
statement, T. Sahira Banu, the wife of A. Tajudeen admitted the recovery  of
Rs.8,24,900/- by the officers  of  the  Enforcement  Directorate,  from  the
residence of the appellant i.e., no. 6, Dr. Muniappa Road, Kilpauk, Madras.
(vii) On 27.10.1989, A. Tajudeen and T. Sahira Banu retracted their  earlier
statement(s), alleging that the same had been recorded  against  their  will
and under the threat and compulsion  of  the  officers  of  the  Enforcement
Directorate.
4.    In response to the memorandum dated 12.3.1990, the appellant  filed  a
reply (which is available on the record of the present case as  Annexure  P-
9).  In his reply, he denied having made any  statement  on  20.4.1989.   He
asserted, that a copy of the aforesaid statement dated 20.4.1989  had  never
been furnished to him, nor had been relied  upon  in  the  memorandum  dated
12.3.1990.  He also denied the factual  contents  of  the  statements  dated
25.10.1989 and 26.10.1989.  He denied having  ever  met  Abdul  Hameed.   He
also denied, that there was any occasion for him to ask for  any  loan  from
the said Abdul Hameed.  He denied any acquaintanceship with the  said  Abdul
Hameed.  Insofar as the statements recorded  on  25.10.1989  and  26.10.1989
are concerned, his  specific  assertion  in  his  reply  was,  that  he  was
compelled to make the above statements at the dictation of the  officers  of
the Enforcement Directorate.  He also asserted,  that  the  said  statements
had been made under threat, coercion and undue  influence.   He  highlighted
the fact, that on the very day of  his  release  from  detention,  i.e.,  on
27.10.1989, he had  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Enforcement  Directorate,
repudiating the factual position indicated in the statements made by him  on
25.10.1989 and 26.10.1989.  He also  asserted,  that  a  similar  course  of
action had been adopted by his wife T. Sahira Banu,  inasmuch  as,  she  too
had repudiated the statement recorded by her on 26.10.1989 at the office  of
the  Enforcement  Directorate  through  a   separate   communication   dated
27.10.1989.  Insofar  as  the  currency  recovered  from  his  residence  is
concerned, his explanation was, that he had an  established  business  under
the trade name of Seemati Silks, which had an annual turnover  of  Rs.25  to
30 lacs.  He also asserted, that his wife T. Sahira Banu had  also  business
establishments including Seemati Matchings and Banu  Jewellers,  from  which
she was earning income.  Besides the aforesaid business  establishments,  it
was the contention of the appellant -  A.  Tajudeen,  that  he  had  several
other business projects, from which he was also earning independent  income.
 In addition to his financial status reflected hereinabove, it was also  the
case of the appellant, that he had taken hand loans.  The amount  which  was
recovered by the officers of the Enforcement Directorate from his  residence
on 25.10.1989, was comprised of all  the  above  sources.   He  clearly  and
expressly denied, having received the aforesaid  currency  (Rs.  8,24,900/-)
from a person resident in India, at the behest of a person not  resident  in
India.
5.     Having  examined  the  response  of  the  appellant,  the  Additional
Director  of  Enforcement,  Southern  Zone,  Madras,  by  an   order   dated
22.4.1991, arrived at the conclusion,  that  the  appellant  was  guilty  of
violating Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act.  Having so concluded, the  seized
amount of Rs.8,24,900/- was ordered to be  confiscated.   In  addition,  the
appellant was imposed  a  penalty  of  Rs.1,00,000/-  for  contravening  the
provisions of Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act.  Dissatisfied with the  order
dated 22.4.1991 passed by the Additional Director of  Enforcement,  Southern
Zone, Madras, the appellant preferred an appeal before the Foreign  Exchange
Regulation Appellate  Board  (hereinafter  referred  to  as,  the  Appellate
Board).  The aforesaid appeal bearing number 316 of 1991 was allowed  by  an
order dated 31.12.1993.  While allowing  the  appeal,  the  Appellate  Board
directed the refund of penalty of Rs.1,00,000/- imposed  on  the  appellant.
The  Appellate  board  also  quashed  the  direction   pertaining   to   the
confiscation of Rs.8,24,900/- seized from the residence of the appellant.
6.    Aggrieved by the order passed by the Appellate  Board,  the  Union  of
India through the Director of Enforcement preferred an appeal under  Section
54 of the 1973 Act, before the High  Court.   The  High  Court  allowed  the
above appeal being C.M.A. NPD no. 1282 of 1994 by an order dated  28.9.2006.
 While allowing the aforesaid appeal, the High Court placed reliance on  the
statement made by the appellant, before  the  officers  of  the  Enforcement
Directorate on 20.4.1989.  The  aforesaid  statement  was  referred  to,  as
having been voluntarily made by the appellant.   The  High  Court  expressed
the view, that the statements recorded by the appellant  on  25.10.1989  and
26.10.1989 were voluntarily made by him, and as such, the retraction of  the
said statements, was not accepted.  Likewise, the High  Court  accepted  the
statement  of  T.  Sahira  Banu  made  at  the  office  of  the  Enforcement
Directorate at Madras on 26.10.1989, as voluntary.  Her  retraction  of  the
said statement was also not accepted by the  High  Court.   The  High  Court
placed reliance on the fact, that the appellant  had  been  produced  before
the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras, during the  course  of
his detention, but he  had  not  indicated  to  the  Magistrate  during  his
production,  that  he  and  his  wife  were  compelled  to  make  the  above
statements,  by the officers of the Enforcement Directorate.  This  was  the
primary reason for the High Court, in rejecting the retractions made by  the
appellant and his wife.
7.    Insofar as the veracity of  name  and  identity  of  Abdul  Hameed  is
concerned, the High Court expressed the view, that the name and identity  of
the person who had dispatched the money in question,  was  in  the  personal
knowledge of the appellant alone, and therefore, his  disclosure  about  the
name and identity of Abdul Hameed could not  be  doubted.   Insofar  as  the
different addresses of  Abdul  Hameed  indicated  in  the  statements  dated
20.4.1989 and 25.10.1989/26.10.1989 are concerned, the  High  Court  was  of
the view, that the appellant had himself disclosed the address of the  above
mentioned Abdul Hameed, and as such, he cannot be permitted to use the  said
statements to his own benefit.  The High Court was also of  the  view,  that
merely because the statements had been recorded at the time of the  raid  at
the residence of the appellant, and whilst he was under detention, it  could
not be inferred, that the same were not voluntary.
8.    During the course of hearing, the first  contention  advanced  at  the
hands of the learned counsel for the appellant was, that it was not open  to
the  Enforcement  Directorate  to  rely  on  the  alleged  statement   dated
20.4.1989, which the appellant is stated to have made  before  the  officers
of the Enforcement Directorate.   Insofar  as  the  instant  aspect  of  the
matter is concerned, it was the vehement contention of the  learned  counsel
for the appellant, that no reference was made to the above  statement  dated
20.4.1989 in the memorandum dated  12.3.1990.   It  was  further  submitted,
that a copy of the aforesaid statement dated 20.4.1989 was  never  furnished
to the appellant.  In fact it was the vehement  contention  of  the  learned
counsel for the appellant, that no such  statement  was  ever  made  by  the
appellant - A. Tajudeen, to the officers  of  the  Enforcement  Directorate.
Learned  counsel  for  the  appellant,  in  fact  emphatically  invited  our
attention to the fact, that the High  Court  in  para  16  of  the  impugned
judgment had inter alia, observed as under:-
“16.  …..  Referring to the explanation given by the officer that  they  had
no record of the statement made on 20.4.1989 at the time when the  statement
was made by Tajudeen on 26.10.1989…..”

It was also submitted, that if the appellant had made any such statement  on
20.4.1989, as was now being relied upon by the Enforcement  Directorate,  he
would have most definitely been  proceeded  against  for  violation  of  the
provisions of Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act.  The very fact  that  he  was
not proceeded against, shows that no such earlier statement  may  have  been
recorded by the appellant on 20.4.1989.
9.    We have given our thoughtful consideration  to  the  first  contention
advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for the  appellant.   There  is
no doubt whatsoever, that  no  reliance  has  been  placed  on  the  alleged
statement made by the appellant on 20.4.1989  before  the  officers  of  the
Enforcement  Directorate,  in  the  memorandum  dated  12.3.1990.   Per  se,
therefore, it was not open to the  authorities  to  place  reliance  on  the
aforesaid statement, while proceeding  to  take  penal  action  against  the
appellant, in furtherance  of  the  aforesaid  memorandum  dated  12.3.1990.
Additionally, it is apparent from the reply (Annexure P-9) furnished by  the
appellant to the memorandum dated 12.3.1990, that the appellant clearly  and
expressly refuted having executed  any  statement  on  20.4.1989.   It  was,
therefore, imperative for the Enforcement Directorate, to establish  through
cogent evidence, that the appellant had indeed  made  such  a  statement  on
20.4.1989.  It also cannot be  overlooked,  that  no  action  was  initiated
against the  appellant  on  the  basis  of  the  aforesaid  statement  dated
20.4.1989.  A perusal of the  aforesaid  statement,  in  the  terms  as  are
apparent from the pleadings of the case, leaves no room for any doubt,  that
if the appellant had made any such statement, he would have  been  proceeded
against under Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act.  The mere fact  that  he  was
not proceeded against, prima  facie  establishes,  in  the  absence  of  any
evidence to the contrary, that the assertion made by the  appellant  to  the
effect that he never made  such  statement,  had  remained  unrefuted.   The
reason depicted in the paragraph 16 of the impugned judgment passed  by  the
High Court extracted in the foregoing paragraph is clearly  a  lame  excuse.
Even though the aforesaid excuse may have  been  valid,  if  the  allegation
was, that the record of the statement made on 20.4.1989, was  not  available
with the officers of Enforcement Department at  the  time  of  the  raid  on
25.10.1989, yet to state that the aforesaid record was  not  available  when
the  second  statement  was  made  on  26.10.1989  at  the  office  of   the
Enforcement Directorate, is quite  ununderstandable.   It  is  pertinent  to
mention, that the second statement was recorded  by  the  Chief  Enforcement
Officer when the appellant – A. Tajudeen was in custody of  the  Enforcement
Directorate.  At that juncture if the record, as alleged, was not  available
with the authorities, it must lead to the  inevitable  inference,  that  the
record was not available at all.  For the reasons recorded  hereinabove,  we
are satisfied in holding, firstly, that the statement dated 20.4.1989  could
not  be  relied  upon  by  the  Enforcement  Directorate  to  establish  the
allegations levelled against the  appellant  through  the  memorandum  dated
12.3.1990.  And secondly, in  the  absence  of  having  established  through
cogent evidence, that the appellant  had  made  the  above  statement  dated
20.4.1989, it was not open to the Enforcement Directorate to place  reliance
on the same, for establishing the charges levelled against the appellant  in
 memorandum dated 12.3.1990.
10.   With reference to the statement of the appellant dated  20.4.1989,  it
is also necessary to record, that we had an impression during the course  of
hearing, that the above statement would lead us to a  clearer  understanding
of the truth of the matter.  After the hearing  concluded  on  6.6.2014,  we
required the learned counsel for the respondent  to  hand  over  to  us  the
record of the case.  We had clearly indicated to learned counsel,  that  the
purpose for this was, that we wished to examine  the  alleged  statement  of
the appellant dated 20.4.1989, along with the  record  connected  therewith.
In compliance, the summoned record was presented at the  residential  office
of one of us (J.S. Khehar,  J.)  on  7.6.2014.   A  perusal  of  the  record
revealed, that  the  same  did  not  comprise  of  the  appellant’s  alleged
statement dated 20.4.1989, or the  record  connected  therewith.   The  said
record was therefore returned forthwith (on 7.6.2014 itself), by making  the
following remarks:
“Mr. A.B.  Ravvi,  Assistant  Legal  Advisor,  Directorate  of  Enforcement,
Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Chennai office, alongwith  Mr.  B.
Naveen  Kumar,  Assistant  Legal  Advisor,  Directorate   of    Enforcement,
Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Headquarters at  New  Delhi,  have
visited the Residential office of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh  Khehar,
Judge, Supreme Court of India, 6, Moti Lal Nehru Marg, New Delhi  –  110011,
today on           7th June, 2014  at  about  1.30  pm  to  deliver  a  file
containing original papers in the matter – Civil Appeal  no.  5773  of  2009
(A. Tajudden vs. Union of India).  Since the file does not contain  document
dated 20.4.1989 (statement of the appellant in the matter),  for  which  the
same was  summoned,  the  file  is  being  returned  herewith,  as  per  the
directions of the Hon’ble Judge.
                                                                        Sd/-
                                                            (Deepak Guglani)
                                                                Court Master
                                                                    7.6.2014
File received by:-
Sd/-
[Mr. A.B. Ravvi]”

Needless to mention, that despite the above remarks no  further  record  was
ever brought to our notice.  This is  a  seriously  unfortunate  attitudinal
display, leaving us with no other option but to conclude, that  the  alleged
statement made by the appellant on  20.4.1989,  may  well  be  a  fictitious
creation of the Enforcement Directorate.  In  such  circumstances,  reliance
on the appellant’s alleged statement dated 20.4.1989, just does not arise.
11.   Having arrived at the aforesaid conclusion, we shall now  examine  the
veracity  of  the  remaining  evidence  available   with   the   Enforcement
Directorate, for substantiating the charges levelled against  the  appellant
through memorandum dated 12.3.1990.  Having discarded  the  statement  dated
20.4.1989, what remains is, the statements of the appellant  -  A.  Tajudeen
recorded on 25.10.1989 and 26.10.1989, as also, the statement  of  his  wife
T. Sahira Banu recorded on 26.10.1989.  Besides  the  aforesaid  statements,
the remaining evidence  against  the  appellant  is,  in  the  nature  of  a
“mahazar” prepared on  25.10.1989,  which  was  signed  by  two  independent
witnesses, namely, R.M. Subramanian and Hayad Basha.   In  addition  to  the
above, the Enforcement Directorate also relied upon the newspaper sheets  of
the Hindu and Jansatha, in which the bundles of  notes  recovered  from  the
residence of the appellant, were wrapped.  Insofar as  the  Hindu  newspaper
sheets are concerned, they were of  the  Delhi  and  Bombay  editions  dated
19.2.1989, 14.4.1989, 23.7.1989 and 4.10.1989.  The sheets of  the  Jansatha
newspaper also pertain to its Delhi and Bombay editions  of  February,  1989
and 23.10.1989.
12.   Insofar as the aforesaid remaining evidence is concerned, it  was  the
vehement contention of the learned counsel for the appellant, that the  same
was  not  sufficient  to  discharge  the  onerous  responsibility   of   the
Enforcement Directorate,  to  establish  the  charge  levelled  against  the
appellant.  It was the submission of the learned counsel for the  appellant,
that reliance could not be placed on the statements made by  the  appellant,
as also, his wife (on 25.10.1989 and 26.10.1989).  In this  behalf,  it  was
sought to be cautioned, that if this  manner  of  establishing  charges  was
affirmed, the officers of the Enforcement Directorate, could  easily  compel
individuals through coercion,  threat  and  undue  influence,  as  they  had
allegedly done in this case,  and  then  proceed  to  punish  them,  on  the
strength of their own statements.  It was submitted, that in the  facts  and
circumstances of this case, there was ample opportunity available  with  the
Enforcement Directorate, to establish the veracity of  the  statements  made
by the appellant - A. Tajudeen and his wife T. Sahira Banu.  In this  behalf
it was pointed out, that the appellant has allegedly indicated,  that  Abdul
Hameed, the dispatcher  of  the  funds,  was  originally  from  his  Village
Pudhumadam in District Ramanathapuram.  He also stated, that the said  Abdul
Hameed was related to him from his paternal side.  In the statements  relied
upon by the  Enforcement  Directorate,  the  appellant  had  allegedly  also
disclosed, that Abdul Hameed had  contacted  him  over  the  telephone  from
Singapore.  It was submitted, that all the above facts were verifiable.   It
was submitted,  that  it  could  not  be  believed,  that  officers  of  the
Enforcement Directorate did not  verify  the  authenticity  of  the  factual
position in respect of Abdul Hameed.  It was  further  submitted,  that  the
appellant  in  the  statement  dated  20.4.1989  had  mentioned,  that   the
appellant, on the instructions of Abdul Hameed of  Singapore,  dispatched  a
sum of Rs. 60,000/- (out of  total  amount  of  Rs.  1,40,000/-)  to  Shahul
Hameed at Pudhumadam through his  shop  boy  -  Shahib.   According  to  the
learned counsel,  the  Enforcement  Directorate  could  have  confirmed  the
aforesaid factual position through Shahib.  It  is  apparent,  according  to
learned counsel, that  the  aforesaid  factual  position  was  found  to  be
incorrect, and  therefore,  no  further  statements  were  recorded  by  the
Enforcement Directorate, in connection therewith.  It  was  also  submitted,
that  the  appellant  had  produced  before  the   Assistant   Director   of
Enforcement, a communication  from  the  Revenue  Department  of  Singapore,
dated 2.9.1990 stating that, there was no such address at no. 24,  Sarangoon
Road, Singapore, and as such, the very foundational basis of the  statements
made  by  the  appellant  on  25.10.1989  and   26.10.1989   were   rendered
meaningless.  It was also submitted, that an Advocate had  enclosed  a  copy
of the certificate issued by the  Controller  of  Property  Tax,  Singapore,
depicting that no such address was there at Sarangoon Road, where  the  said
Abdul Hameed was alleged to be running his business.
13.   In order to contend that the statements made by  the  appellant  –  A.
Tajudeen and his wife T. Sahira Banu  could  not  be  relied  upon  in  law,
learned counsel for the appellant, placed  reliance  on  K.T.M.S.  Mohd.  v.
Union of  India,  (1992)  3  SCC  178  and  invited  our  attention  to  the
observations made in paragraph 34.  The same is extracted hereunder:
34.   We think it is not  necessary  to  recapitulate  and  recite  all  the
decisions on this legal aspect. But suffice to say that the core of all  the
decisions of this Court is to the effect that the voluntary  nature  of  any
statement made either before the  Custom  Authorities  or  the  officers  of
Enforcement under the relevant provisions of the respective Acts is  a  sine
quo non to act on it for any purpose and if the statement  appears  to  have
been obtained by any inducement, threat, coercion or by any  improper  means
that statement must be rejected brevi manu. At the same time, it  is  to  be
noted that merely because a statement is retracted, it  cannot  be  recorded
as involuntary or unlawfully obtained. It is  only  for  the  maker  of  the
statement who alleges inducement, threat, promise  etc.  to  establish  that
such improper means has been adopted. However, even  if  the  maker  of  the
statement fails to establish his  allegations  of  inducement,  threat  etc.
against the officer who recorded the statement, the authority  while  acting
on the inculpatory statement of the maker is not completely relieved of  his
obligations in at least subjectively applying its  mind  to  the  subsequent
retraction to hold that the inculpatory statement was not extorted. It  thus
boils down that the authority  or  any  Court  intending  to  act  upon  the
inculpatory statement as a voluntary  one  should  apply  its  mind  to  the
retraction and reject the same in writing. It is only on this  principle  of
law, this Court in several decisions  has  ruled  that  even  in  passing  a
detention order on the basis of an inculpatory statement  of  a  detenu  who
has violated the provisions  of  the  FERA  or  the  Customs  Act  etc.  the
detaining authority should consider the  subsequent  retraction  and  record
its opinion before accepting the inculpatory statement lest the  order  will
be vitiated. Reference may be made to a decision of the full  Bench  of  the
Madras High Court in Roshan Beevi v. Joint Secretary to the Govt.  of  T.N.,
Public Deptt., [1983] LW (Crl.)  289,  to  which  one  of  us  (S.  Ratnavel
Pandian, J.) was a party.
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

In order to supplement the legal position expressed in the  above  extracted
judgment, learned counsel for the appellant also placed  reliance  on  Vinod
Solanki v. Union of India, (2008) 16 SCC 537, by inviting our  attention  to
the following conclusion recorded therein:-
“36. A person accused of commission of an offence is not expected  to  prove
to the hilt that confession had been obtained from him  by  any  inducement,
threat  or  promise  by  a  person  in  authority.  The  burden  is  on  the
prosecution to show that the confession  is  voluntary  in  nature  and  not
obtained as an outcome of threat, etc. if the same  is  to  be  relied  upon
solely for the purpose of securing a conviction.

37.   With a view to arrive at a finding as regards the voluntary nature  of
statement or otherwise of a confession which has since been  retracted,  the
court must bear in mind the attending circumstances which would include  the
time of retraction, the nature thereof, the manner in which such  retraction
has been made and other relevant factors. Law does not say that the  accused
has to prove that retraction of  confession  made  by  him  was  because  of
threat, coercion, etc. but the requirement is that  it  may  appear  to  the
court as such.

38. In  the  instant  case,  the  investigating  officers  did  not  examine
themselves. The authorities under the Act  as  also  the  Tribunal  did  not
arrive at a finding upon application of their mind  to  the  retraction  and
rejected the same  upon  assigning  cogent  and  valid  reasons  18herefore.
Whereas mere retraction of a confession may not be sufficient  to  make  the
confessional statement irrelevant for the  purpose  of  a  proceeding  in  a
criminal case or a quasi  criminal  case  but  there  cannot  be  any  doubt
whatsoever that the court is obligated to take into consideration  the  pros
and cons of both the confession and retraction made by the  accused.  It  is
one thing to say that a retracted confession  is  used  as  a  corroborative
piece of evidence to record a finding of guilt but it is  another  thing  to
say that such a finding is arrived at only on the basis of  such  confession
although retracted at a later stage.

39. The appellant is said to  have  been  arrested  on  27.10.1994;  he  was
produced before the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on 28.10.1994.  He
retracted his confession and categorically stated the manner in  which  such
confession was purported to have been obtained. According to him, he had  no
connection with any alleged import transactions, opening of  bank  accounts,
or floating of company by name of M/s Sun Enterprises, export control,  bill
of entry  and  other  documents  or  alleged  remittances.  He  stated  that
confessions were not only untrue but also involuntary.

40. The allegation that  he  was  detained  in  the  Office  of  Enforcement
Department for two days and two nights had not been refuted. No attempt  has
been made to controvert the statements made by appellant in his  application
filed on  28.10.1994  before  the  learned  Chief  Metropolitan  Magistrate.
Furthermore, the Tribunal as also the authorities misdirected themselves  in
law insofar as they failed to pose unto themselves a correct  question.  The
Tribunal proceeded on the basis that issuance and services of  a  show-cause
notice subserves the requirements of law only because by reason  thereof  an
opportunity was afforded to the proceedee to  submit  its  explanation.  The
Tribunal  ought  to  have  based  its  decision  on  applying  the   correct
principles of law.

41.    The  statement  made  by  the  appellant  before  the  learned  Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate was not a bald statement. The inference that  burden
of proof that he had made those statements under  threat  and  coercion  was
solely on the proceedee does not rest on any legal principle.  The  question
of the appellant’s failure to discharge the burden  would  arise  only  when
the burden was on him. If the burden was on the Revenue, it was  for  it  to
prove the said fact. The Tribunal on  its  independent  examination  of  the
factual matrix placed before it did not  arrive  at  any  finding  that  the
confession being free  from  any  threat,  inducement  or  force  could  not
attract the provisions of Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

14.   The aforesaid submissions were sought to be  refuted  by  the  learned
counsel representing  the  Union  of  India,  by  placing  reliance  on  the
findings recorded by the High Court, in the impugned judgment.
15.   First and foremost, we shall endeavour to examine the veracity of  the
statements made by the appellant – A. Tajudeen and his wife T.  Sahira  Banu
on  25.10.1989  and  26.10.1989  to  the   officers   of   the   Enforcement
Directorate.   Before  proceeding  with  the  factual  controversy,  it   is
essential to record, that from the  view  we  have  taken  in  the  ultimate
analysis,  the  innocence  or  guilt  of  the  appellant  will  have  to  be
determined on the basis of the statements made  by  the  appellant  and  his
wife (on 25.10.1989 and 26.10.1989)  to  the  officers  of  the  Enforcement
Directorate.  Therefore, for the case in hand, the above statements are  not
to be referred to as  corroborative  pieces  of  evidence,  but  as  primary
evidence  to  establish  the  guilt  of  the  appellant.   It  is  in   this
background, that we shall endeavour to apply the legal position declared  by
this Court, to determine the veracity and  reliability  to  the  statements,
which later came to be retracted by the appellant  and  also  by  his  wife.
Insofar  as  the  above  statements  are  concerned,  there  is   no   doubt
whatsoever, that they were all made either at the time of  the  raid,  which
was carried out by the  officers  of  the  Enforcement  Directorate  at  the
residence of the appellant, or whilst the appellant was in  custody  of  the
Enforcement Directorate.  Immediately after the appellant  was  released  on
bail by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras on  27.10.1989,
on the same day itself, both the appellant – A. Tajudeen  and  his  wife  T.
Sahira  Banu  addressed  communications   to   the   Director,   Enforcement
Directorate, New Delhi  resiling  from  the  above  statements,  by  clearly
asserting that they were recorded under coercion and  undue  influence,  and
would not be binding on them.
16.   Having given our thoughtful consideration to the aforesaid  issue,  we
are of the view that the statements  dated  25.10.1989  and  26.10.1989  can
under no circumstances constitute the sole basis for recording  the  finding
of  guilt  against  the  appellant.   If  findings  could  be  returned   by
exclusively relying on such oral statements, such  statements  could  easily
be thrust upon the persons who were being proceeded against  on  account  of
their actions in conflict  with  the  provisions  of  the  1973  Act.   Such
statements ought not to be readily believable, unless there  is  independent
 corroboration of certain material aspects of the said  statements,  through
independent sources.   The  nature  of  the  corroboration  required,  would
depend on the facts of each case.  In the present case, it is apparent  that
the appellant – A. Tajudeen and  his  wife  T.  Sahira  Banu  at  the  first
opportunity resiled from the statements which are now sought  to  be  relied
upon by the Enforcement Directorate, to substantiate  the  charges  levelled
against the appellant.  We shall now endeavour to examine whether  there  is
any independent corroborative evidence to support the above statements.
17.   According to the learned counsel  representing  the  appellant,  there
was an effective opportunity to the officers of the Enforcement  Directorate
to  produce  evidence  with  reference  to  a  number  of  important  facts,
disclosed by the appellant while making the aforesaid  statements,  yet  the
officers of the Enforcement Directorate chose not to substantiate  the  same
through independent evidence.  He cited a few instances where such  evidence
could  have  been  easily  gathered  by  the  officers  of  the  Enforcement
Directorate.  In  the  absence  of  any  corroboration  whatsoever,  it  was
submitted, that retracted statements made by the  appellant  –  A.  Tajudeen
and his wife T. Sahira Banu, could not be used to  record  findings  against
the appellant.
18.   We have no doubt, that evidence  could  be  gathered  to  substantiate
that Abdul Hameed, the person who is alleged to have  dispatched  the  money
from  Singapore,  was  a  resident  of  Village   Pudhumadam   in   District
Ramanathapuram, to which the appellant also  belongs.  Material  could  also
have been gathered to show, whether he was related  to  the  appellant  from
his paternal side.  Furthermore,  the  Enforcement  Directorate  could  have
easily substantiated whether or not,  as  asserted  by  the  appellant,  the
aforesaid Abdul Hameed had contacted him over telephone from  Singapore,  to
inform him about the delivery of the amount recovered from his residence  on
25.10.1989.   Additionally,  the  Enforcement  Directorate  could  have  led
evidence to establish that the aforesaid  Abdul  Hameed  with  reference  to
whom the appellant made statements on 20.4.1989, 25.10.1989 and  26.10.1989,
was actually resident of Singapore, and was  running  businesses  there,  at
the location(s) indicated by the appellant.  Still further, the officers  of
the Enforcement Directorate could have ascertained the truthfulness  of  the
factual position from Shahib, the shop boy of the appellant –  A.  Tajudeen,
whom he allegedly sent to hand over a sum of Rs. 60,000/- to  Shahul  Hameed
(a relative of Abdul Hameed) of Village Pudhumadam.  Had the  statements  of
the appellant and his wife been corroborated by independent evidence of  the
nature indicated hereinabove, there could have been room for  accepting  the
veracity of the statements made by the appellant – A. Tajudeen and his  wife
T.  Sahira  Banu  to  the   officers   of   the   Enforcement   Directorate.
Unfortunately, no effort was made by the Enforcement Directorate  to  gather
any independent evidence  to  establish  the  veracity  of  the  allegations
levelled against the appellant, through the memorandum dated 12.3.1990.   We
are  of  the  considered  view,  that  the  officers  of   the   Enforcement
Directorate were seriously negligent in gathering independent evidence of  a
corroborative nature.  We have therefore no hesitation  in  concluding  that
the retracted statements made by  the  appellant  and  his  wife  could  not
constitute  the  exclusive  basis  to  determine  the  culpability  of   the
appellant.
19.   We shall now deal  with  the  other  independent  evidence  which  was
sought to be relied upon by the Enforcement  Directorate  to  establish  the
charges levelled  against  the  appellant.   And  based  thereon,  we  shall
determine whether the same is sufficient on its own, or  in  conjunction  to
the  retracted  statements  referred  to  above,  in  deciding  the  present
controversy, one way or the other.  First and foremost, reliance was  placed
on “mahazar” executed (at the time of the recovery, from  the  residence  of
the appellant) on 25.10.1989.  It would be pertinent to  mention,  that  the
appellant in his response to the memorandum dated  12.3.1990  had  expressly
refuted the authenticity of the “mahazar” executed  on  25.10.1989.   Merely
because the “mahazar” was attested by  two  independent  witnesses,  namely,
R.M. Subramanian and Hayad Basha, would not led  credibility  to  the  same.
Such credibility would  attach  to  the  “mahazar”  only  if  the  said  two
independent witnesses were produced as  witnesses,  and  the  appellant  was
afforded an opportunity to cross-examine them.  The aforesaid procedure  was
unfortunately not adopted in this case.  But then, would the preparation  of
the “mahazar” and the  factum  of  recovery  of  a  sum  of  Rs.  8,24,900/-
establish the guilt of the appellant, insofar as the  violation  of  Section
9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act is concerned?  In our considered view, even  if  the
“mahazar” is accepted as valid and genuine, the same is wholly  insufficient
to establish, that the amount recovered from the residence of the  appellant
was dispatched by Abdul Hameed, a resident of Singapore,  through  a  person
who is not an authorised dealer in foreign exchange.  Even, in  response  to
the memorandum dated 12.3.1990, the appellant had acknowledged the  recovery
of Rs. 8,24,900/- from his residence,  but  that  acknowledgment  would  not
establish the violation of Section 9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act.   In  the  above
view of the matter, we  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  execution  of  the
“mahazar” on 25.10.1989, is inconsequential for  the  determination  of  the
guilt of the appellant in this case.
20.   The only other independent evidence relied  upon  by  the  Enforcement
Directorate is of pages from the  Hindu  and  the  Jansatha  newspapers,  in
which the bundles of money were wrapped, when the recovery was  effected  on
25.10.1989.  In view of the position expressed in the  foregoing  paragraph,
we are satisfied  that  the  charge  against  the  appellant  under  Section
9(1)(b) of the 1973 Act, cannot be established on  the  basis  of  newspaper
sheets, in which the money was wrapped.  The newspaper sheets  relied  upon,
would not establish that the amount recovered  from  the  residence  of  the
appellant – A. Tajudeen was  dispatched  by  Abdul  Hameed  from  Singapore,
through a person who was not an authorized dealer.
21.    Based  on  the  above  determination,  and  the  various  conclusions
recorded hereinabove, we are satisfied, that the  impugned  judgment  passed
by the High Court deserves to be set aside.  The same is accordingly  hereby
set  aside.   Resultantly,  the  entire  action  taken  by  the  Enforcement
Directorate against the appellant in furtherance  of  the  memorandum  dated
12.3.1990,  is  also  set  aside.   As  a  consequence  of  the  above,  the
Enforcement Directorate is directed to forthwith refund the confiscated  sum
of Rs.8,24,900/-, to the  appellant,  as  also,  to  return  the  amount  of
Rs.1,00,000/-, which was deposited by the appellant as penalty.
22.   The instant appeal is, accordingly, allowed in the abovesaid terms.

 …………………………….J.
(Jagdish Singh Khehar)

…………………………….J.
                                        (C. Nagappan)
New Delhi;
October 10, 2014.



ITEM NO.1B             COURT NO.6               SECTION XII

               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal  No(s).  5773/2009

A.TAJUDEEN                                     Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA                                 Respondent(s)

[HEARD BY HON'BLE JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR AND HON'BLE C. NAGAPPAN, JJ.]

Date : 10/10/2014 This appeal was called on for judgment
 today.

For Appellant(s) Mr. R. Nedumaran,Adv.


For Respondent(s)      Mr. B. V. Balaram Das,Adv.(Not present)


             Hon'ble  Mr.  Justice  Jagdish  Singh  Khehar  pronounced   the
judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and  Hon'ble  Mr.  Justice  C.
Nagappan.
            For the reasons recorded in the Reportable  judgment,  which  is
placed  on  the  file,  the  appeal  is  allowed.  As  a  consequence,   the
Enforcement Directorate is directed to forthwith refund the confiscated  sum
of Rs.8,24,900/- to  the  appellant,  as  also,  to  return  the  amount  of
Rs.1,00,000/-, which was deposited by the appellant as penalty.

(Parveen Kr. Chawla)              (Phoolan Wati Arora)
  Court Master                           Assistant Registrar
-----------------------
25

26


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Whether an NSC could only be issued in the name of an individual, and that, the NSC taken in the name of M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders, was not valid. and whether it is curable defect and maturity amount can be issued in the name of proprietor ? whether rule 17 bars ? - Legally, rule 17 of the Post Office Savings Bank General Rules, 1981, would apply only when an applicant is irreregularly allowed something more, than what is contemplated under a scheme. - the NSC was purchased in the name of M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders. It is also equally true, that M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders is a sole proprietorship concern of B.K. Garg, and as such, the irregularity committed while issuing the NSC in the name of M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders, could have easily been corrected by substituting the name of M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders with that of B.K. Garg. For, in a sole proprietorship concern an individual uses a fictional trade name, in place of his own name. The rigidity adopted by the authorities is clearly ununderstandable. The postal authorities having permitted M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders to purchase the NSC in the year 1995, could not have legitimately raised a challenge of irregularity after the maturity thereof in the year 2001, specially when the irregularity was curable. - Ordinarily, when the authorities have issued a certificate which they could not have issued, they cannot be allowed to enrich themselves, by retaining the deposit made. This may well be possible if the transaction is a sham or wholly illegal. Not so, if the irregularity is curable.- It is not possible for us to deny relief to the appellant, based on the judgments rendered by this Court in Raja Prameeelamma case (supra) and Arulmighu Dhandayadhapaniswamy Thirukoil case (supra), in view of the fact that, the matter was never examined in the perspective determined by us hereinabove. In neither of the two judgments, the amendment of the NSC was sought. The instant proposition of law, was also not projected on behalf of the certificate holders, in the manner expressed above.= 2014 Oct. Part -CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4854 OF 2009 M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders …. Appellant versus Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Meerut …. Respondent

                                                                “REPORTABLE”

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4854 OF 2009


M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders                          …. Appellant

                                   versus


Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Meerut                 …. Respondent


                               J U D G M E N T


Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.

1.    M/s. Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders,  the  appellant  before  us,  is  a
proprietorship  concern.   Mr.  B.K.  Garg  is  its  sole  proprietor.    On
28.4.1995,  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders  purchased  one,  six  years’
National Savings Certificate  (hereinafter  referred  to  as,  NSC)  bearing
number 6NS/06DD 387742, by investing a sum of  Rs.5,000/-.   The  above  NSC
was to mature on 28.4.2001.  The maturity amount payable  on  28.4.2001  was
Rs.10,075/-.
2.    Since M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders was not paid the amount  due  on
maturity, B.K. Garg made repeated visits to the office from  where  the  NSC
was purchased.  He was informed, that an NSC could only  be  issued  in  the
name of an individual, and that, the NSC taken in the name of M/s.  Bhagwati
Vanaspati Traders, was not valid.  He was also  informed,  that  the  matter
had been referred for advice to  the  Post  Master  General,  Bareilly,  and
that, the question of payment of the maturity  amount  would  be  considered
only after the receipt  of  inputs  from  Bareilly.   Having  waited  for  a
substantial length of time, and realizing that no further  action  had  been
taken at the hands of the respondent, B.K. Garg visited the  office  of  the
Post Master General, Bareilly.   At  Bareilly  he  was  informed,  that  the
matter had been referred to  the  Director  General  (Post),  Department  of
Posts, New Delhi, and that, he would have  to  await  the  decision  of  the
Director General (Post).  Having waited long enough,  without  any  fruitful
result, M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders preferred Complaint Case no. 513  of
2004  before  the  District  Consumer  Disputes  Redressal   Forum,   Meerut
(hereinafter referred to as, the District Forum).  The  District  Forum,  by
its order dated 1.2.2007 accepted  the  claim  of  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati
Traders, and accordingly,  directed  the  respondent  to  pay  the  maturity
amount of Rs.10,075/- with 12% interest, from the date of maturity till  the
date of payment.  The respondent was additionally directed to pay, a sum  of
Rs.5,000/- as compensation, and also cost of Rs.2,000/-,  to  the  appellant
proprietorship concern.
3.    Dissatisfied with the order dated 1.2.2007,  passed  by  the  District
Forum in favour of the appellant, the respondent  Senior  Superintendent  of
Post Offices, Meerut, preferred Appeal no. 460  of  2007  before  the  State
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,  Lucknow.   The  aforestated  appeal
was allowed by the State Commission vide its  order  dated  21.1.2008.   The
appellant concern then preferred Revision Petition no. 1456 of  2008  before
the  National  Consumer  Disputes  Redressal  Commission,  New  Delhi.   The
National Commission dismissed  the  revision  petition,  vide  the  impugned
order dated  4.9.2008.   The  special  leave  to  appeal  preferred  by  the
appellant, against the impugned order dated 4.9.2008, was  granted  by  this
Court on 27.7.2009.
4.    A perusal of the orders passed by the State Commission, as  also,  the
National Commission reveals, that the same were premised on the  fact,  that
the NSC purchased by M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders, had  an  irregularity,
inasmuch as, an NSC could only be purchased by an individual, and  the  same
could not be issued in the name of a  concern,  firm,  institution,  banking
institution or company etc.  On account of the aforesaid  irregularity,  the
respondent placed reliance on rule  17  of  the  Post  Office  Savings  Bank
General Rules, 1981.  The above rule is being extracted hereunder:-
“17.  Account opened in contravention of rules:- Subject  to  the  provision
of rule 16, where an account is found to have been opened  in  contravention
of any relevant rule for the time being  in  force  and  applicable  to  the
account kept in the Post Office Savings  Bank,  the  relevant  Head  Savings
Bank may, at any time, cause the account to be closed and the deposits  made
in the account refunded to the depositor without interest.”

In addition to the above, the respondent had placed reliance on  a  decision
rendered by this Court in  Post  Master,  Dargamitta  HPO,  Nellor  v.  Raja
Prameeelamma, (1998) 9 SCC 706, wherein this Court had held as under:-
“But as this contract was contrary to the terms notified by  the  Government
of India and this was due to inadvertence of the staff.  In  my  opinion  it
does not become a contract binding the Government of  India  being  unlawful
and void.  As such this is not a case of deficiency  in  service  either  in
terms of the law or in terms of the contract as defined in  Section  2(1)(g)
of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

During the course  of  hearing,  learned  counsel  for  the  respondent,  in
addition to the judgment extracted hereinabove, placed reliance on a  recent
decision  rendered  by  this   Court   in   Arulmighu   Dhandayadhapaniswamy
Thirukoil,  Palani,  Tamil  Nadu  v.  Director  General  of  Post   Offices,
Department of Posts & Ors., (2011) 13 SCC 220, and  drew  our  attention  to
the following conclusions recorded therein;-
“18.  This Court in Raja Prameeelamma case, (1998)  9  SCC  706,  held  that
even though the certificates contained the terms  of  contract  between  the
Government of India and the holders of  the  National  Savings  Certificate,
the terms in the contract were contrary to the  Notification  and  therefore
the terms of contract being unlawful  and  void  were  not  binding  on  the
Government of India and as such the Government refusing to pay  interest  at
the rate mentioned in the  Certificate  is  not  a  case  of  deficiency  in
service either in terms of law or in terms  of  contract  as  defined  under
Section 2(1)(g) of  the  Consumer  Protection  Act,  1986.  The  above  said
decision is squarely applicable to the case on hand.
19.   It is true that when the Appellant deposited a huge  amount  with  the
third Respondent from 5.5.1995 to 16.8.1995 under the Scheme  for  a  period
of five years, it was but proper on the part of  the  Post  Master  to  have
taken a note of the correct Scheme applicable to the deposit.  It  was  also
possible for the Postmaster to have  ascertained  from  the  records,  could
have applied the correct Scheme and if the Appellant, being an  institution,
was not eligible to avail the Scheme and advised them properly.  Though  Mr.
S. Aravindh, learned Counsel for  the  Appellant  requested  this  Court  to
direct the third Respondent to pay some reasonable  amount  for  his  lapse,
inasmuch as such direction would go contrary to the  Rules  and  payment  of
interest is prohibited for such Scheme in terms  of  Rule  17,  we  are  not
inclined to accept the same.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

Based on the decision of this Court relied upon by the State Commission,  as
also, the National Commission in the impugned  orders  dated  21.1.2008  and
4.9.2008 respectively, as also, the latest judgment rendered by  this  Court
in  Arulmighu  Dhandayadhapaniswamy  Thirukoil  case  (supra),  it  was  the
emphatic contention of the learned counsel for the  respondent,  that  there
was no question of release of the maturity amount to the appellant.
5.    It was also the contention of the learned counsel for the  respondent,
that the mistake at the  hands  of  the  postal  authorities  was  innocent.
After the appellant’s claim was examined, a preliminary  enquiry  disclosed,
that the NSC was issued to M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders  by  Ved  Bahadur
Singh (an employee of the postal  department).   A  departmental  proceeding
was held against the above employee, and he was duly punished.   Accordingly
it was sought to be asserted, that it was not as if, the postal  authorities
were intentionally depriving the  appellant  of  the  benefits  of  the  NSC
purchased by him on 28.4.1995.  The deprivation of the appellant,  according
to learned counsel, was based on a pure determination of  the  legal  rights
of the appellant.
6.    The first contention advanced at the hands of the learned counsel  for
the appellant was based on the decision rendered by this Court in Tata  Iron
& Steel Co. Ltd. v. Union of India  &  Ors.,  (2001)  2  SCC  41,  wherefrom
learned counsel invited our attention to the following observations:-
“20.  Estoppel by  conduct  in  modern  times  stands  elucidated  with  the
decisions of the English Courts in  Pickard  v.  Sears, 1837  6  Ad.  &  El.
469, and its gradual elaboration until placement of its true  principles  by
the Privy Council in  the  case  of  Sarat  Chunder  Dey  v.  Gopal  Chunder
Laha, (1891-92) 19 IA 203, whereas earlier Lord Esher in the case  of  Seton
Laing Co. v. Lafone, 1887 19 Q.B.D. 68, evolved three basic elements of  the
doctrine of Estoppel to wit:
“Firstly, where a man makes a fraudulent misrepresentation and  another  man
acts upon it to its true detriment: Secondly, another may  be  where  a  man
makes a false statement negligently though without fraud and another  person
acts upon it: And thirdly, there may be circumstances under which,  where  a
misrepresentation is made without fraud and without  negligence,  there  may
be an Estoppel.”
Lord Shand, however, was pleased to add one further element  to  the  effect
that there may be statements made, which have  induced  other  party  to  do
that from which otherwise he would have abstained and which cannot  properly
be characterized as misrepresentation. In this  context,  reference  may  be
made to the decisions of the High Court of Australia in the case  of  Craine
v. Colonial Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., 1920 28 C.L.R.  305.  Dixon,  J.
in his judgment in  Grundt  v.  The  Great  Boulder  Pty.  Gold  Mines  Pty.
Ltd., 1938 59 C.L.R. 641, stated that:
"In measuring the detriment, or demonstrating its existence,  one  does  not
compare the position of the representee, before and after  acting  upon  the
representation, upon  the  assumption  that  the  representation  is  to  be
regarded as true, the question of estoppel does not arise. It is  only  when
the  representor  wished  to  disavow  the  assumption  contained   in   his
representation that an estoppel arises, and the  question  of  detriment  is
considered, accordingly, in the light of the position which the  representee
would be in if the representor were allowed to  disavow  the  truth  of  the
representation."
(In this context see Spencer Bower and Turner: Estoppel  by  Representation,
3rd Ed.). Lord Denning also in the case  of  Central  Newbury  Car  Auctions
Ltd. v. Unity Finance Ltd., 1956 (3) All ER 905, appears to have  subscribed
to the view of Lord Dixon, J. pertaining to the test of 'detriment'  to  the
effect  as  to  whether  it  appears  unjust   or   unequitable   that   the
representator should now be  allowed  to  resile  from  his  representation,
having regard to what the representee has done or refrained  from  doing  in
reliance on the representation, in short, the party asserting  the  estoppel
must have been induced to act to his detriment. So long  as  the  assumption
is adhered to, the party who altered the situation  upon  the  faith  of  it
cannot complain. His complaint is  that  when  afterwards  the  other  party
makes a different state of affairs, the  basis  of  an  assertion  of  right
against him then, if it is allowed, his  own  original  change  of  position
will operate  as  a  detriment,  (vide  Grundts:  High  Court  of  Australia
(supra)).
21.   Phipson on Evidence (Fourteenth Edn.) has the following  to  state  as
regards estoppels by conduct.
“Estoppels by conduct, or, as they are still sometimes called, estoppels  by
matter in pais, were anciently acts of notoriety not less solemn and  formal
than the execution of a deed, such as livery of  seisin,  entry,  acceptance
of an estate and the like, and whether a party had or had not  concurred  in
an act of this sort was deemed a matter which there could be  no  difficulty
in  ascertaining,  and  then  the  legal  consequences  followed  (Lyon   v.
Reed, (1844) 13 M & W 285 (at  p.  309).   The  doctrine  has,  however,  in
modern times, been  extended  so  as  to  embrace  practically  any  act  or
statement by a party which it would  be  unconscionable  to  permit  him  to
deny. The rule has been authoritatively stated as  follows:  ‘Where  one  by
his words or conduct willfully causes another to believe the existence of  a
certain state of things and induces him to act  on  that  belief  so  as  to
alter this own previous position, the  former  is  concluded  from  averring
against the latter a different state of  things  as  existing  at  the  same
time.’ (Pickard v. Sears (supra)).  And whatever a man's real intention  may
be, he is deemed to  act  willfully  ‘if  he  so  conducts  himself  that  a
reasonable man would take the representation to be true and believe that  it
was meant that he should act upon it.’  (Freeman v.  Cooke, 1848  (2)  Exch.
654: at p. 663).
Where the conduct is negligent or consists wholly of  omission,  there  must
be a duty to the person misled (Mercantile Bank  v.  Central  Bank, 1938  AC
287  at  p.  304, and   National   Westminster   Bank   v.   Barclays   Bank
International, 1975 Q.B. 654).  This principle sits oddly with the  rest  of
the law of estoppel, but it appears to have been  reaffirmed,  at  least  by
implication,  by  the  House  of  Lords  comparatively  recently   (Moorgate
Mercantile Co. Ltd. v. Twitchings, (1977) AC 890).  The  explanation  is  no
doubt that this aspect of estoppel is properly to be considered  a  part  of
the  law  relating  to  negligent  representations,  rather  than   estoppel
properly so-called.  If two people  with  the  same  source  of  information
assert the same truth or agree to assert the  same  falsehood  at  the  same
time,  neither  can  be  estopped  as  against  the  other  from   asserting
differently at another time (Square v. Square, 1935 P. 120).”
22.   A bare perusal of the same would go to  show  that  the  issue  of  an
estoppel by conduct can only be said to be available in the event  of  there
being a precise and unambiguous representation and on that score  a  further
question arises as to whether there was any unequivocal assurance  prompting
the assured to alter his position or status. The contextual  facts  however,
depict otherwise. Annexure 2 to the application form for  benefit  of  price
protection contains an undertaking to the following effect:-
“We hereby undertake to refund to EEPC Rs… the amount paid to us in full  or
part thereof against our application for price protection.  In terms of  our
application dated against exports made  during...  In  case  any  particular
declaration/certificate furnished  by  us  against  our  above  referred  to
claims are found to be incorrect or any excess payment is determine to  have
been made due to oversight/wrong calculation  etc.  at  any  time.  We  also
undertake to refund the amount within 10  days  of  receipt  of  the  notice
asking for the refund, failing which the amount erroneously paid or paid  in
excess shall be recovered from or  adjusted  against  any  other  claim  for
export benefits by EEPC or by the licensing authorities of CCI & C.”
and it is on this score it may be noted that in the event of there  being  a
specific undertaking to refund for any amount erroneously paid  or  paid  in
excess (emphasis supplied), question of there  being  any  estoppel  in  our
view would not arise. In this context correspondence exchanged  between  the
parties are rather significant. In particular letter dated  30.11.1990  from
the Assistant Development Commissioner  for  Iron  &  Steel  and  the  reply
thereto dated 8.3.1991 which unmistakably record the factum  of  non-payment
of JPC price.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

Based on the aforesaid observations it was the emphatic  contention  of  the
learned counsel for the appellant, that the rule of estoppel would  come  to
the  aid  of  the  appellant,  inasmuch  as,  the  appellant   having   been
consciously permitted to purchase the NSC, could not be denied  the  benefit
of the maturity amount by asserting, that there  was  some  irregularity  in
the purchase of the NSC.
7.    It is  not  possible  for  us  to  accept  the  applicability  of  the
principle of estoppel in the facts  and  circumstances  of  this  case.   No
representation is ever shown to have been made to  the  appellant.   It  was
the appellant’s individual decision to purchase the NSC.  It is  not  shown,
that a fraudulent representation was made to the appellant.  It is also  not
shown, that a false statement was negligently made to  the  appellant.   The
rule of estoppel, in the present case, could  have  only  been  premised  on
some conduct of the respondent, which had willfully  induced  the  appellant
to invest in the NSC.  Unfortunately, for the  appellant,  no  such  willful
conduct has been  brought  to  our  notice.   Having  given  our  thoughtful
consideration to the instant aspect of the matter, we feel  that  this  case
would be governed by the proposition  evolved  in  Moorgate  Mercantile  Co.
Ltd. v. Twitchings, (1977) AC 890, namely, where two people  with  the  same
source of information assert the same truth or  agree  to  assert  the  same
falsehood at the same time, neither  can  be  estopped  against  the  other.
Therefore, whilst it cannot be disputed, that the  authorities  issuing  the
NSC were required to ensure, that the same was issued to only  such  persons
who were eligible in law to purchase the same, yet in terms of  the  mandate
of rule 17 extracted hereinabove, the vires whereof is  not  subject  matter
of challenge, it is not  possible  for  us  to  accept,  that  the  rule  of
estoppel could be relied upon at  the  behest  of  the  appellant,  for  any
fruitful benefit.
8.    To overcome the mandate of rule 17  extracted  hereinabove,  as  also,
the decision rendered by this Court in Raja Prameeelamma case  (supra),  and
the proposition of law declared in Arulmighu Dhandayadhapaniswamy  Thirukoil
case (supra), learned counsel for the appellant placed emphatic reliance  on
the decision of this Court in Ashok Transport Agency  v.  Awadhesh  Kumar  &
another., (1998) 5 SCC 567.  He  invited  our  attention  to  the  following
observations recorded therein:-
“6.   A partnership firm differs from a  proprietary  concern  owned  by  an
individual. A partnership is  governed  by  the  provisions  of  the  Indian
Partnership Act, 1932. Though a partnership is not  a  juristic  person  but
Order XXX Rule 1 CPC enables the partners of a partnership firm  to  sue  or
to be sued in the name of the  firm.  A  proprietary  concern  is  only  the
business name in which  the  proprietor  of  the  business  carries  on  the
business. A suit by or against a proprietary concern is by  or  against  the
proprietor of the business. In the event of the death of the  proprietor  of
a proprietary concern, it is the legal  representatives  of  the  proprietor
who alone can sue or be sued in respect of the dealings of  the  proprietary
business. The provisions of Rule 10 of Order XXX which make  applicable  the
provisions of Order XXX to a proprietary concern, enable the  proprietor  of
a proprietary business to be sued in the business names of  his  proprietary
concern. The real party who is being sued is  the  proprietor  of  the  said
business. The said provision does not have  the  effect  of  converting  the
proprietary business into a partnership firm. The provisions of  Rule  4  of
Order XXX have no application to such a suit as by virtue of Order XXX  Rule
10 the other provisions of Order XXX are applicable to a  suit  against  the
proprietor of proprietary business "insofar  as  the  nature  of  such  case
permits". This means that only those provisions of Order  XXX  can  be  made
applicable to proprietary concern which can be so  made  applicable  keeping
in view the nature of the case.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

Based on the observations recorded in the  aforesaid  judgment,  the  second
contention advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant  was,  that  in
sum and substance, a sole proprietorship concern allows  the  fictional  use
of a trade name  on  behalf  of  an  individual.   It  was  contended,  that
truthfully only one  individual  is  the  owner  of  a  sole  proprietorship
concern.  As such, according to  learned  counsel,  the  name  of  the  sole
proprietorship concern, can again be substituted with the name of  the  sole
proprietor.  If that is allowed, the NSC purchased by  the  appellant  would
strictly conform to the mandate of law.  According to  learned  counsel,  it
makes no difference whether the individual’s name, or  the  proprietorship’s
name is recorded while purchasing an NSC.   It was pointed out, that if  the
respondent was not agreeable in accepting the  trade  name,  the  respondent
ought to have corrected the NSC by substituting the name  of  M/s.  Bhagwati
Vanaspati Traders with that of its sole proprietor, namely, B.K. Garg.
9.    We find merit in the second contention advanced at the  hands  of  the
learned counsel for the appellant.  It is indeed  true,  that  the  NSC  was
purchased in the name of  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders.   It  is  also
equally true, that M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders is a sole  proprietorship
concern of B.K. Garg, and as such, the irregularity committed while  issuing
the NSC in the name of M/s. Bhagwati Vanaspati Traders,  could  have  easily
been corrected by substituting the name of M/s. Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders
with  that  of  B.K.  Garg.   For,  in  a  sole  proprietorship  concern  an
individual uses a fictional trade name, in  place  of  his  own  name.   The
rigidity adopted  by  the  authorities  is  clearly  ununderstandable.   The
postal authorities having  permitted  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders  to
purchase the NSC in the year 1995, could  not  have  legitimately  raised  a
challenge of irregularity after the  maturity  thereof  in  the  year  2001,
specially when the irregularity was curable.  Legally, rule 17 of  the  Post
Office Savings Bank General Rules, 1981, would apply only when an  applicant
is irreregularly allowed something more, than what is contemplated  under  a
scheme.  As for instance, if the scheme contemplates an interest of  Y%  and
the certificate issued records the interest of Y+2% as payable on  maturity,
the certificate holder cannot be deprived of the interest  as  a  whole,  on
account of the above irregularity.  He can only be  deprived  of  2%,  i.e.,
the excess amount, beyond the permissible interest, contemplated  under  the
scheme.  A certificate holder, would have an absolute right,  in  the  above
illustration, to claim interest at Y%, i.e., in consonance with the  scheme,
despite  rule  17.   Ordinarily,  when  the  authorities   have   issued   a
certificate which they could not have issued,  they  cannot  be  allowed  to
enrich themselves,  by  retaining  the  deposit  made.   This  may  well  be
possible if the transaction is a sham or wholly illegal.   Not  so,  if  the
irregularity is curable.  In  such  circumstances,  the  postal  authorities
should devise means to regularize the irregularity, if possible.
10.   It is not possible for us to deny relief to the  appellant,  based  on
the judgments rendered by this Court in Raja Prameeelamma case  (supra)  and
Arulmighu Dhandayadhapaniswamy Thirukoil case (supra), in view of  the  fact
that, the matter was never examined in  the  perspective  determined  by  us
hereinabove.  In neither of the two judgments, the amendment of the NSC  was
sought.  The instant proposition of law, was also not  projected  on  behalf
of the certificate holders, in the manner expressed above.
11.    There  was  seriously  no  difficulty  at  all  in  the   facts   and
circumstances of the present case, to regularize  the  defect  pointed  out,
because  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati   Traders,   is   admittedly   the   sole
proprietorship concern of B.K. Garg.  The  postal  authorities  should  have
solicited the change of the name in the NSC,  through  a  representation  by
B.K. Garg himself.   On  receipt  of  such  a  representation,  the  alleged
irregularity would have been cured, and  the  beneficiary  of  the  deposit,
would have legitimately reaped the fruits  thereof.   Rather  than  adopting
the above simple course,  the  postal  authorities  chose  to  strictly  and
rigidly interpret the terms of the scheme.  This resulted in the  denial  of
the legitimate claims of the  sole  proprietor  of  the  appellant  concern,
i.e., B.K. Garg, of the investment made by him.  In the above  view  of  the
matter,  we  consider  it  just  and  appropriate,  in   exercise   of   our
jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, to  direct  the
Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Meerut, to correct the NSC issued  in
the  name  of  M/s.  Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders,   by   substituting   the
appellant’s name, with that of B.K. Garg.
12.   The irregularity having been cured, we hope that B.K.  Garg  will  now
be released all the payments due to him, in terms of  the  order  passed  by
the District Forum.  The respondent is accordingly directed to pay  to  B.K.
Garg, the maturity amount of Rs.10,075/- with 12% interest,  from  the  date
of maturity, till the date of payment.  He would be entitled  to  Rs.5,000/-
towards compensation, as was awarded to  him  by  the  District  Forum.   In
addition, we consider it just and appropriate to award him litigation  costs
of Rs.10,000/-.  The entire amount aforementioned,  should  be  released  to
B.K. Garg, the sole proprietor of M/s. Bhagwati  Vanaspati  Traders,  within
one month from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this judgment.
13.   The instant appeal is allowed in the aforesaid terms.


 …………………………….J.
 (Jagdish Singh Khehar)


 …………………………….J.
                                              (C. Nagappan)
New Delhi;
October 10, 2014.


ITEM NO.1A               COURT NO.6               SECTION XVII

               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal  No(s).  4854/2009

M/S.BHAGWATI VANASPATI TRADERS                     Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

SR.SUPERIN.OF POST OFFICE,MEERUT                   Respondent(s)

[HEARD BY HON'BLE JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR AND HON'BLE C.NAGAPPAN, JJ.]

Date : 10/10/2014 This appeal was called on for Judgment today.


For Appellant(s) Mr. V. K. Monga,Adv.(Not present)


For Respondent(s)      Mr. Kamal Mohan Gupta,Adv.(Not present)



             Hon'ble  Mr.  Justice  Jagdish  Singh  Khehar  pronounced   the
judgment of the Bench comprising his Lordship and  Hon'ble  Mr.  Justice  C.
Nagappan.
            For the reasons recorded in the Reportable  judgment,  which  is
placed on the file, the appeal is allowed.


(Parveen Kr. Chawla)                         (Phoolan Wati Arora)
    Court Master                                    Assistant Registrar
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