Important Judgments dealing with cases wherein Material Facts Suppressed amounting to Abuse Of Process of Courts

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1. Nirmal Singh Kahlon v. State of Punjab (2009) 1 SCC 441 (para 28), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has specifically observed that an accused is entitled to a fair investigation. It is further observed that fair investigation and fair trial are concomitant to preservation of fundamental right of an accused under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. But the State has a larger obligation i.e. to maintain law and order, public order and preservation of peace and harmony in the society. It is specifically observed that a victim of a crime, thus, is equally entitled to a fair investigation. Thus, whatever the rights are available to the accused, somewhat similar rights are available to the victim inclusive of fair trial and fair investigation as well as speedy trial. Thus, a victim of the crime has always a legitimate expectation that real culprits who have in fact committed the offence are booked and they are punished.

2. Supreme Court in Kishore Samrite v. State of Uttar Pradesh And Others (2013)2 SCC 398, has held as under : Cases of abuse of the process of court and such allied matters have been arising before the Courts consistently. This Court has had many occasions where it dealt with the cases of this kind and it has clearly stated the principles that would govern the obligations of a litigant while approaching the court for redressal of any grievance and the consequences of abuse of the process of court. We may recapitulate and state some of the principles. It is difficult to state such principles exhaustively and with such accuracy that would uniformly apply to a variety of cases. These are :

  • Courts have, over the centuries, frowned upon litigants who, with intent to deceive and mislead the Courts, initiated proceedings without full disclosure of facts and came to the courts with unclean hands . Courts have held that such litigants are neither entitled to be heard on the merits of the case nor entitled to any relief
  • The people, who approach the Court for relief on an ex parte statement, are under a contract with the court that they would state the whole case fully and fairly to the court and where the litigant has broken such faith, the discretion of the court cannot be exercised in favour of such a litigant
  • The obligation to approach the Court with clean hands is an absolute obligation and has repeatedly been reiterated by this Court
  • Quests for personal gains have become so intense that those involved in litigation do not hesitate to take shelter of falsehood and misrepresent and suppress facts in the court proceedings. Materialism, opportunism and malicious intent have over..shadowed the old ethos of litigative values for small gains
  • A litigant who attempts to pollute the stream of justice or who touches the pure fountain of justice with tainted hands is not entitled to any relief, interim or final.
  • The Court must ensure that its process is not abused and in order to prevent abuse of the process the court, it would be justified even in insisting on furnishing of security and in cases of serious abuse, the Court would be duty bound to impose heavy costs
  • Wherever a public interest is invoked, the Court must examine the petition carefully to ensure that there is genuine public interest involved. The stream of justice should not be allowed to be polluted by unscrupulous litigants.
  • The Court, especially the Supreme Court, has to maintain strictest vigilance over the abuse of the process of court and ordinarily meddlesome bystanders should not be granted visa. Many societal pollutants create new problems of unredressed grievances and the Court should endure to take cases where the justice of the lis well justifies it.
  • 3. Dalip Singh v. State of U.P.; Amar Singh v. Union of India and State of Uttaranchal v. Balwant Singh Chaufal) held that With the passage of time, it has been realised that people used to feel proud to tell the truth in the Courts, irrespective of the consequences but that practice no longer proves true, in all cases. The Court does not sit simply as an umpire in a contest between two parties and declare at the end of the combat as to who has won and who has lost but it has a legal duty of its own, independent of parties, to take act ive role in the proceedings and reach at the truth, which is the foundation of administration of justice. Therefore, the truth should become the ideal to inspire the courts to pursue. This can be achieved by statutorily mandating the Courts to become active seekers of truth. To enable the courts to ward off unjustified interference in their working, those who indulge in immoral acts like perjury, prevarication and motivated falsehood, must be appropriately dealt with. The parties must state forthwith sufficient factual details to the extent that it reduces the ability to put forward false and exaggerated claims and a litigant must approach the Court with clean hands. It is the bounden duty of the Court to ensure that dishonesty and any attempt to surpass the legal process must be effectively curbed and the Court must ensure that there is no wrongful, unauthorised or unjust gain to anyone as a result of abuse of the process of the Court. One way to curb this tendency is to impose realistic or punitive costs. The party not approaching the Court with clean hands would be liable to be non..suited and such party, who has also succeeded in polluting the stream of justice by making patently false statements, cannot claim relief, especially under Article 136 of the Constitution. While approaching the court, a litigant must state correct facts and come with clean hands. Where such statement of facts is based on some information, the source of such information must also be disclosed. Totally misconceived petition amounts to abuse of the process of the court and such a litigant is not required to be dealt with lightly, as a petition containing misleading and inaccurate statement, if filed, to achieve an ulterior purpose amounts to abuse of the process of the court. A litigant is bound to make full and true disclosure of facts.
  • 4. Tilokchand H.B. Motichand; A. Shanmugam v. Ariya Kshatriya Rajakula Vamsathu Madalaya Nandhavana Paripalanai Sangam has held that person seeking equity must do equity. It is not just the clean hands, but also clean mind, clean heart and clean objective that are the equi..fundamentals of judicious litigation. The legal maxim jure naturae aequum est neminem cum alterius detrimento et injuria fieri locupletiorem, which means that it is a law of nature that one should not be enriched by the loss or injury to another, is the percept for Courts. Wide jurisdiction of the court should not become a source of abuse of the process of law by the disgruntled litigant. Careful exercise is also necessary to ensure that the litigation is genuine, not motivated by extraneous considerations and imposes an obligation upon the litigant to disclose the true facts and approach the court with clean hands. No litigant can play hide and seek with the courts or adopt pick and choose True facts ought to be disclosed as the Court knows law, but not facts. One, who does not come with candid facts and clean breast cannot hold a writ of the court with soiled hands. Suppression or concealment of material facts is impermissible to a litigant or even as a technique of advocacy. In such cases, the Court is duty bound to discharge rule nisi and such applicant is required to be dealt with for contempt of court for abusing the process of the court. (K.D. Sharma v. SAIL).
  • 5. Buddhi Kota Subbarao v. K. Parasaran Held that another settled canon of administration of justice is that no litigant should be permitted to misuse the judicial process by filing frivolous petitions. No litigant has a right to unlimited drought upon the court time and public money in order to get his affairs settled in the manner as he wishes. Easy access to justice should not be used as a licence to file misconceived and frivolous petitions.

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