Institution Of Litigation Cannot Be Permitted To Confer Any Advantage On A Suitor By Act Of The Court- SC
The Supreme Court has observed that the institution of litigation cannot be permitted to confer any advantage on a suitor by the act of the Court and any undeserved or unfair advantage gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the court must be neutralized.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah applying the principle of restitution, observed that “...the act of the Court shall prejudice no one and in such a fact situation, the Court is under an obligation to undo the wrong done to a party by the act of the Court. The maxim actus curiae neminem gravabit shall be applicable. As per the settled law, any undeserved or unfair advantage gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the court must be neutralized, as the institution of litigation cannot be permitted to confer any advantage on a suitor by the act of the Court.”
“...we are of the opinion that this is a fit case to apply the principle of actus curiae neminem gravabit and the principle of restitution and to direct Shri Naresh Kempanna and Col. Mohinder Khaira to return the amount and deposit the same with this Court with 9% interest from the date on which the payment is received by them.” the Bench further held.
ASG S. Venkataraman, ASG K.M. Nataraj, ASG Madhvi Diwan, Senior AAG Lokesh Singhal, Senior AAG Sushil Kumar Sharma, AAG B.K. Satija, Senior Advocates Siddhartha Dave, Ravindra Kumar, Nikhil Nayyar, Rajiv Dutta, Garima Prashad, Deepak Nargolkar appeared in the matter.
In this case the dispute was with respect to the sale consideration in respect of 26 acres and 19 guntas of land which was owned by Unitech Limited in favour of M/s Devas Global Services LLP.
It was contended by the Unitech limited that it was the absolute owner of the land and was entitled to entire consideration of Rs. 172.08 crores. But out of total consideration only 87.35 crores were received by the Unitech, and the balance amount was ordered to be paid to the respondents, who had no title or ownership rights in the land in question.
The Apex Court perused the earlier order of this Hon’ble Court and the report of the Justice Dhingra committee and noted that solely on the basis of Justice Dhingra committee report and without adjudicating the rights and claims of the respective parties, Unitech, M/s Devas, the balance amount was ordered to be paid to two persons.
“There are serious disputes on the entitlement of the aforesaid amount already paid to Shri Naresh Kempanna and Col. Mohinder Khaira. Thus, there was an obvious error and/or mistake on the part of this Court in directing to pay Rs. 56.11 crores to Shri Naresh Kempanna and Rs. 41.96 crores to Col. Mohinder Khaira, which as such was without any adjudication of the claims of the aforesaid two persons. In that view of the matter, we are of the opinion that the mistake/error committed by this Court is to be corrected on the basis of the principle of restitution.” the Apex Court said.
Consequently, Shri Naresh Kempanna and Col. Mohinder Khaira were directed to return and deposit the amount paid to them with 9% interest from the date on which the amount was received.
Accordingly, the application was disposed of.
Cause Title- Bhupinder Singh v. Unitech Limited