SC imposes Rs 1 lakh fine for filing Frivolous petition

New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on a lawyer seeking directions to the High Court for posting a matter to an early date and said ‘It has become a trend to file Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) merely seeking to issue notice or grant adjournments to other courts.’

‘The Court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner saying this was to send a message to Advocates-on-Record (and Counsels engaged by them) that frivolous petitions should not be filed.’

A Bench of Justice BR Gavai, Justice Rajesh Bindal, and Justice Sandeep Mehta expressed displeasure in the manner Special Leave Petitions were being filed by the Advocates on Record (AoR) against High Court orders for merely issuing notice or granting adjournments and dismissed a petition filed against a High Court order.

Posting the matter to April, It said, “Filing of such petitions not only wastes the time of the Court but also puts unnecessary burden on the case pendency.’

The Bench while refusing to grant liberty to withdraw the petition after arguments had been addressed said, “To send a message to the AoRs and counsels appearing in such matters, we are inclined to dismiss the petition with a token cost of Rs.1 lakh”. The Court directed to deposit the cost to two Welfare Funds within 2 weeks from today.

The Court directed, “ A copy of the order shall be sent to the President, Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCORA) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to be intimated to their members.’

The case pertains to a petition filed in the Delhi High Court with a prayer to quash an order by which his case for promotion was rejected. The High Court on January 18, 2024, issued a notice on the petition and listed the matter for the week commencing April 8, 2024.

The petitioner represented by Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora moved the top Court against the High Court order seeking directions to the High Court to consider the matter on an early date.

Justice Gavai said, that April 8 is not that far. “We would have understood if the High Court was not considering the matter for 6 months, 7 months, 8 months”, said the Judge. ”

The petitioner, taking cue that the petition was going to be dismissed pleaded to withdraw his petition. But the SC bench refused it to withdraw the petition and said, that petitions are time and again being filed against high court orders issuing notice, granting adjournments, giving/refusing interim protection, etc.

The court said that the AoRs are “totally casual” in their approach, acting as postmen, even though they and Senior Counsels owe a responsibility to the Court as its officers.

Justice Gavai said that the AoRs of the top court are being used like postmen and remarked in a lighter vein that the petition may have been dismissed commensurate with the Senior Counsel’s status, but the Bench only wanted it to be a token cost.

Justice Bindal said that Article 32 petitions are now being filed for directions to High Courts to decide.

Senior Advocate Arora remarked that Article 32 can be invoked only for Fundamental Rights.

To this Justice Gavai said, “No, Article 32 can be for anything”, and on a serious note, the scope of Article 32 is narrower than that of Article 226.

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