Text of the opinion of Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India



A central requirement for upholding the rule of law is that there should not be any executive interference in the independence and integrity of the judicial process.

The rapid expansion of the power and jurisdiction of quasi judicial bodies raises new challenges in this regard. Great caution is called for on the part of the Government, the judiciary and society to ensure that the independence of quasi judicial bodies is fully protected and that executive power is not misused to interfere with their decision making, their independence and their integrity. It is essential to ensure that quasi judicial orders should not be subject to review or interference by executive authorities that have neither the power nor the requisite expertise to review, alter or nullify quasi judicial orders. Quasi judicial orders should be subject to review only by lawfully authorised tribunals or by courts, based on well established principles of law.
The recent decision SEBI board to review and declare as "non-est" two quasi judicial orders of SEBI violates established legal and Constitutional principles. These quasi judicial orders may be reviewed only by a judicial forum with requisite jurisdication, at the instance of a petitioner with standing to seek relief.
The decision to declare these quasi judicial order as void is meaningless in any absolute sense. Its meaning is relative, depending upon the courts' willingness to grant relief in any particular situation. Even if a decision is 'void' or a 'nullity', it remains in being unless and until some steps are taken before courts to have it declared void.
Lord Radcliff said in Smith v/s East Ellse, 1956 A.C. 736 at 769
"An order, even if not made in good faith, is still an act capable of legal consequences. It bears no brand of invalidity upon its forehead. Unless the necessary proceedings are taken at law to establish the cause of invalidity and to get it quashed or otherwise upset.
It will remain as effective for its ostensible purpose as the most impeccable of orders".
The necessity of recourse to the court has been pointed out repeatedly in the House of Lords and Privy Council, without distinction between latent and patent defects. Supreme Court of India has taken the same view.
The order would be presumed to be valid unless the presumption was rebutted in competent legal proceedings by a party entitled to sue.
The court will invalidate an order only if the right remedy is sought by the right person in the right proceedings and circumstances. The order may be hypothetically a nullity, but the court may refuse to quash it because of the plaintiff's lack of standing, … or for some other legal reason. In any such case, the 'void' order remains effective and is, in reality, valid. (see pg. 341-344, Administrative Law, 7th Edn., by Wade and cases in footnote).
All official decisions are presumed to be valid until set aside or otherwise held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction ( de Smith, 5th Edn.- See Chapter 5-048 at pg. 259-260 and cases in footnotes 17&18).

December 5 2009                                                                    Justice J S Verma
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    Around 1,500 Reliance Infrastructure consumers switch to Tata Power

    More than 1,500 consumers have switched over from Reliance Infrastructure to Tata Power already while  3,000 connections have been scheduled for switchover and another 2,000 switchover applications are still pending.

    On 15 October 2009, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had passed an interim order stating that Tata Power Ltd (TP) would be allowed to supply power to existing Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RelInfra) customers who wished to switch power utilities.

    Since the MERC order has been passed—as of information available for November 2009—more than 1,500 switchover connections in the city have been completed, since the process started in October 2009. The total number of applications pending for switchover from RelInfra to TP is believed to be 5,000, till the end of November 2009.

    Out of these 5,000 applications, switchover dates have already been finalised for 3,000 applications in November 2009. These 3,000 applications were those where no issues had to be resolved. The remaining 2,000 applications pending with TP will be cleared this month.

    Sources close to the issue say that TP has been maintaining an average switchover rate of around 60 connections per day; it has processed 100 applications on certain days—the company is eventually gearing up to provide 100 to 200 connections on a daily basis. TP has also set up a team of seven to eight members who would supervise the switchover process. Recently, TP added a section to its website where the status of a pending switchover application can be checked.
    TP officials could not be reached for immediate comments on this issue.
    — Amritha Pillay

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    A more cautious approach needed towards m-commerce: RBI

    The use of the mobile phone as an instrument for conducting financial transactions and the potential it has for financial inclusion and growth is being recognised by the apex bank, which has however called for caution in m-commerce adoption

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that use of mobile commerce
    (m-commerce) must be made easy for the common man and it should be facilitated carefully—and well-measured—keeping in mind the concerns over money laundering, financial terrorism and the stability of the payment and settlement systems.

    Speaking at the India Telecom 2009 conference, RBI’s deputy governor Dr KC Chakrabarty said, “While e-commerce has skipped the majority of the population due to the cost of setting up such channels, m-commerce has the capability to be inclusive due to the widespread use of mobile phones.”

    The current guidelines for mobile banking permit banks to provide mobile banking transactions and mandate that all transactions have to originate from one bank account and terminate in another bank account.

    “We all agree that the benefits of m-commerce should reach the common man at the remotest locations in the country. However, the extent and the manner in which m-commerce should be facilitated calls for a cautious and well-considered approach,” he added.

    In India, out of the 32 banks which have been given approval to provide mobile banking facilities, only 21 have started providing these services. However, there is not much activity in this space, resulting in low transaction volumes, Dr Chakrabarty added.

    According to the deputy governor, the reason for low uptake of mobile banking facilities are the requirements of end-to-end encryption that makes implementation expensive. Transaction limits —which range between Rs5,000 and Rs10,000—also have to be revised upwards.

    The other issue banks face in providing mobile banking is that they are required to tie up with individual service providers for enabling such services. Banks face difficulties in entering into such partnerships. Again, mobile service providers do not open up channels for facilitating mobile banking services by banks.

    “The successful partnering of banks and mobile service providers would also need the resolution of the issue related to customer ownership,” the deputy governor added.

    Dr Chakrabarty also spoke about the growing use and transaction volumes of electronic services in the country. Presently, electronic clearing services (ECS) transaction volumes amount to about 2.5 lakh transactions in 2008-09, up from 1.4 lakh in 2006-07.

    The number of bank branches offering national electronic funds transfer (NEFT) service has increased from 42,900 to 54,200 in 2008-09. The aggregate value of transactions increased to Rs2,51,956 crore from Rs77,446 crore during the same period. 
    — Aaron Rodrigues

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    james sandberg

    1 decade ago

    Did you hear about this new thing from PayMate? Any mobile phone user can now send or receive money by using their mobile phone! You just visit the nearest Green TATA PCO or TVS and request for money remittance to anyone in India. The recipient just collects the money by visiting the nearest Green TATA PCO or TVS with the transaction authorization code from the sender. It’s so cool!
    Check this out for more info: http://www.paymate.co.in/green/index.aspx

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