SC: Appointing CA for limited purpose doesn’t mean appointing a surveyor

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 28th January 2020, in the matter of Oriental Insurance Company Limited v. M/s. J.K. Cement Works observed that appointment of a chartered accountant for a limited purpose of verifying the accounts books does not tantamount to the appointment of a surveyor.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Appointment of a Chartered Accountant for a limited purpose of verifying the accounts books does not tantamount to the appointment of a surveyor. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 6)

…….On flood and inundation

A flood may be described as overflow of water over land. Floods can be broadly divided into the following categories: coastal floods, fluvial floods (river floods), and pluvial floods (surface floods). (Para 9)

Coastal floods occur when water from a sea or an ocean flows into nearby areas. They are caused either by extreme tidal activity (high tides) or by a storm surge – strong winds from a hurricane or other storms forcing the water onshore – or by the simultaneous occurrence of both these phenomena. (Para 9.1)

Fluvial or river flood occurs when the water level exceeds the capacity of a river, stream, or lake, resulting in the overflow of the surplus water to surrounding banks and neighbouring land. They are usually caused by either excessive rainfall or unusually high melting of snow because of rising temperatures. (Para 9.2)

Lastly, pluvial or surface floods refers to the accumulation of water in an area because of excessive rainfall. These floods occur independently of an overflowing water body. Pluvial floods include flash floods which take place due to intense, torrential rains over a short period of time. A pluvial flood may also occur if the area is surrounded by hilly regions from where the run­off water comes and accumulates in the low­lying area. In urban localities, because of concrete streets and dense construction, rainwater is unable to seep into the ground. Steady rainfall over a few days or torrential rains for a short period of time may overwhelm the capacity of the drainage systems in place, leading to accumulation of water on the streets and nearby structures, and resulting in immense economic damage. (Para 9.3)

So far as the term ‘inundation’ is concerned, it can be used to refer to both the act of overflow of water over land that is normally dry and to the state of being inundated. Inundation can also be intentional, which is sometimes carried out for military purposes, as well as for agricultural and river­management purposes. In the latter sense, i.e. as a state of being, inundation refers to accumulation of water in which objects or land may be submerged. In simpler terms, inundation can be used to refer both the act of overflow of water as well as the result of such overflow. (Para 10)

Overflow of water due to a flood may result in the state of inundation. Floods are of different types, and may be caused due to several factors complementing each other. Usually, non­coastal floods originate from rainfall, but the magnitude of rainfall sufficient to cause a flood, and the damage that a flood causes, may vary depending on a variety of aspects such as the location of land (low­lying or altitudinous), the water retention capacity of the soil, and the density of population and man­made construction in the area, among other things. In rare cases, a non­coastal flood may also occur without any rainfall. For instance, shortcomings in the construction of a dam may lead to its complete breakdown, resulting in a flood. (Para 11)

Floods are not restricted to overflow of water bodies. (Para 12.2)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_28-Jan-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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