Courts can`t be misused to persecute innocent: SC

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.

PTI



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

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