The Bombay High Court was recently posed with an issue regarding the fate of proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 in the event of compromise or compounding in a predicate offence. This judgment is significant as it ensures that perpetrators of serious economic offences cannot use actions such as compromise or settlement to undermine the object of a statute of public importance.
The Supreme Court recently dealt with the question of whether a consumer complaint filed and registered under an earlier piece of legislation which was then repealed must be entertained under the provisions of newer legislation. This judgment is significant as it reiterates the law governing the saving provisions and fate of proceedings initiated and pending under repealed enactments.
The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 bars the courts from taking cognisance of offences directed against the administration of justice for the purpose of preventing baseless or vindictive prosecutions by private litigants, parties or third parties. There seems to be a clear distinction between the cases which may or may not fall within the restrictions imposed under the code. Therefore, it is incumbent on the courts to delineate between such cases based on a consideration of the facts and law specific to each case.
In a recent case, the Supreme Court decided on the limitation period for filing an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 and whether the court can refuse to refer a dispute to arbitration under Section 11 where the claims are ex facie time barred. The court observed that the issue of limitation, in essence, speaks to the maintainability or admissibility of the claim, which is to be decided by the arbitral tribunal.
The judiciary has frequently acknowledged the ill effects of lingering litigation. Accordingly, several mechanisms have been introduced to provide some respite to clogged judicial instruments. At the same time, the courts have professed the effective application of existing devices to reduce vexatious and frivolous claims. The awarding of actual realistic costs is one step towards better employment of the legal provisions to tame the ever-growing expanse of false, frivolous and vindictive claims.