Courts can`t be misused to persecute innocent: SC
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 20:38
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that unscrupulous persons cannot be allowed to use court proceedings to harass and persecute innocent persons by endless litigations.

"Chagrined and frustrated litigants should not be permitted to give vent to their frustrations by cheaply invoking the jurisdiction of the court. The court proceedings ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment and persecution," a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said in a judgement.

The apex court passed the judgement while upholding an appeal filed by Meghamala and her family challenging an Andhra Pradesh High Court judgement for a review of the ownership claim of a dispute piece of land.

In this case, a special court constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act,1982 had in 1997 held that the land belonged to Meghamala and directed eviction of Narasimha Reddy and certain others whom it had held were land grabbers.

The High Court had in 2001 upheld the findings of the Special Court and the Supreme Court in the same year refused to entertain the appeal but allowed Reddy to move a review petition in the High Court.

Reddy then filed a fresh review petition alleging that Meghamala and the others had obtained the earlier judgement in their favour by misrepresenting facts.

The High Court through a judgement on April 26, 2007, directed the special court to re-examine the issue. Aggrieved, Meghamala filed the appeal in the apex court.

Upholding the appeal, the apex court said all the earlier courts' proceedings reveal that after proper adjudication the declaration had been made that the land belonged to the appellants (Meghamala) and respondents (Reddy) were merely land grabbers.

"In earlier review petitions filed by the respondents before the special court and further taking the matter to the High Court in writ petitions and review applications before the High Court, the issue of misrepresentation/ fraud/collusion and mis-identification of the suit land had been raised but they could not succeed.

"In execution proceedings, the appellant/applicant succeeded and came in possession of the suit land in 2002. Respondents (Reddy) filed a frivolous application raising the issue of fraud and mis-identification of the suit land which had earlier been adjudicated upon," the Bench said.

The apex court said the review application was certainly not maintainable as the respondents had approached the higher forum and it merely amounted to abuse of process of the court.

"The respondents had been interested only to protract the litigation by one way or the other. Fresh proceedings taken by the respondents before the special court is, in fact, tantamount to malicious prosecution," the apex court said while quashing the High Court's direction.


First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 20:38

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