Consistent Efforts To Abuse Process Of Law – SC Upholds Cost Of 5 Lacs Imposed On 78-Year-Old Litigant
The Supreme Court in its order dated June 22, has held that there have been consistent efforts on the part of the Petitioner to abuse the process of law as well as the process of the Court as there has been a deliberate attempt on the part of the petitioner in the non-disclosure of relevant facts before the Court.
The two-judge Bench of Justice CT Ravikumar and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia noted that the Bombay High Court was absolutely justified in imposing the cost of Rs. 5 lacs on the Petitioner.
The Court also held that it is not only proceedings before the Civil Court initiated by the Petitioner in the year 2022 which was an abuse of the process of law, but the entire conduct of the Petitioner is a clear reflection of the fact that the Petitioner was doing so repeatedly.
The Bench further went on to note that they were initially persuaded in this case, to initiate contempt proceedings against the Petitioner, considering that there has been a deliberate attempt on her part, in not disclosing relevant facts before the Court, but the Court is not doing so due to the age of the Petitioner as she is a lady of 78 years of age.
While placing reliance on Subrata Roy Sahara v. Union of India, the Bench quoted the findings in the case about how the Indian Judicial system is grossly afflicted with frivolous litigations, the Court also emphasized on the finding that in the process of litigation, there is an innocent sufferer on the other side, who suffers long drawn anxious periods of nervousness and restlessness whilst the litigation is pending, without any fault on his part.
The Petitioner had in this case filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court which had dismissed the case with a cost of Rs. 5 lacs. The suit was filed by the Petitioner before the Trial Court in which the Defendant had moved the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC for rejection of Plaint. The application was allowed by the Court and the suit was dismissed.
In this case, the Petitioner had failed to repay the outstanding dues after availing of a credit facility from Oriental Bank of Commerce. Proceedings were initiated against the Petitioner under the SARFAESI Act, after which the Petitioner failed to full the commitments towards the secured creditor. Attempts were made by the Petitioner in obstructing the execution of the recovery certificate by filing numerous proceedings before the authorities under the SARFAESI Act as well as before the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court.
Thereafter, several cases were filed by the Petitioner before the DRT, District Courts, and Bombay High Court.
The Bench of the Apex Court noted that there is no reference made by the Petitioner of the earlier SLPs filed by the Petitioner and observed –
"We, therefore, have no hesitation to say the petitioner has not approached this Court with clean hands. To the contrary there has been a consistent effort to abuse the process of law as well as the process of Court."
"We are totally in agreement with the above observations of the two courts and the order passed by the trial court allowing the application under Order VII, Rule 11 of the CPC the Bombay High Court dated 13.06.2022 and upholding that order and dismissing the appeal of the present Petitioner. Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the Bombay High Court was absolutely justified in imposing the cost of Rs. 5 lakh, on the Petitioner," the Court observed.
The Court also held that the Petition is no doubt an abuse of the process of the law and has caused harm to other parties to the litigation, some of whom have been needlessly drawn into litigation.
Thus, the Court dismissed the Petition.