Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Persons polluting the stream of justice deserve no mercy whatsoever: Karnataka High Court imposes 5 lakh costs for frivolous litigation

The Karnataka High Court recently imposed c

osts of Rs 5 lakh on a petitioner who had been harassing a widow for more than two decades by filing an "avalanche of litigation" against her.

The judgment delivered by Justice Krishna Dixitstates,

"...exemplary cum penal costs merits to be levied on the petitioner who has harassed the respondent-widow for more than two decades by launching an avalanche of litigations, serially; what bewilders this court is the incongruous conduct of the petitioner in instituting suit after suit, despite each being settled by compromise decree leading to the institution of the next one, and despite receiving a huge sum of Rs.30,00,000/- (thirty lakh rupees) in 2012; force, fraud & greed appear to be in his bone, blood & flesh; persons polluting the stream of justice deserve no mercy whatsoever and therefore heavy costs need to be extracted from him for being paid to the victim-respondent..."

Terming it as a "classic case of militant abuse of judicial process", the Court was of the opinion that imposing costs on the petitioner was absolutely necessary as only then it would the respondent get a "feeling that ultimately justice triumphs". 

The petitioner’s mother had filed a partition suit for a property, in which petitioner came on record as one of the legal representatives of the deceased mother. The said suit came to be dismissed in terms of a compromise dated August 21, 2013.

After dismissal of the above suit, the petitioner filed another suit seeking the same relief. This too came to be disposed of in terms of a compromise. After this, the petitioner filed two more suits, seeking similar relief, even after the respondent paid him a sum of Rs 30 lakh. 

The petitioner then approached the High Court with the present writ petition, challenging a 2014 court order by which the suit was decreed in terms of the compromise.

Finding the petition to be "militantly devoid of merits", the High Court dismissed it, and directed the petitioner to pay costs of Rs 5 lakh to the respondent. 

While doing so, the Court also granted liberty to the respondent to institute contempt proceedings against the petitioner for enforcing the order for costs or to levy execution in the jurisdictional court.

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