One needs to be superhuman to handle cases like Sahara: SC

Fed up with the tactics of Sahara Group and its chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court Tuesday observed that judges would need to be "superhumans" to handle the pressures to handle frivolous litigations.

New Delhi: Fed up with the tactics of Sahara Group and its chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court Tuesday observed that judges would need to be "superhumans" to handle the pressures to handle frivolous litigations.

It suggested that Legislature frame a mechanism for evolving a Code for Compulsory Costs under which compulsive litigants will have to pay costs to the winning side.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, against whom Sahara Chief Subrata Roy levelled bias and other charges for sending him to jail, wondered what a judge should be made of to deal with such litigants.

"One wonders, what is it, that a judge should be made of, to deal with such litigants, who have nothing to lose. What is the level of merit, grit and composure required, to stand up to the pressures of today's litigants?

"What is it that is needed to bear the affront, scorn and ridicule hurled at officers presiding over Courts? Surely one would need (to be) superhumans to handle the emerging pressures on the judicial system," it said.

The bench proposed that a litigant, who succeeded, must be compensated by the one, who has lost and suggested that Legislature frame such rules.

"The suggestion to the legislature is, that a litigant who has succeeded, must be compensated by the one, who has lost. The suggestion to the legislature is to formulate a mechanism, that anyone who initiates and continues a litigation senselessly, pays for the same.

"It is suggested that the legislature should consider the introduction of a Code of Compulsory Costs," it said.

The bench noted that the litigation initiated by Sahara in the Supreme Court was heard on 81 days during which hundreds of judge hours were spent.

"It is apparent, that not a hundred, but hundreds of Judge hours, came to be spent in the instant single Sahara Group litigation, just at the hands of the Supreme Court.

"This abuse of the judicial process, needs to be remedied. We are, therefore of the considered view, that the legislature needs to give a thought, to a very serious malady, which has made strong inroads into the Indian judicial system," it said.

"We have no doubt, that the two companies and the present petitioner before this Court?Subrata Roy Sahara, are such litigants. They never subjected themselves to the authority and jurisdiction of the SEBI.

"They have continued with the same mannerism at all levels, right upto this Court. They have always adopted an accusing stance, before all the adjudicatory authorities. Even against us," the bench said.

The Court said judicial system is grossly afflicted, with frivolous litigation and ways and means need to be evolved, to deter litigants from their compulsive obsession, towards senseless and ill-considered claims.

"One needs to keep in mind, that in the process of litigation, there is an innocent sufferer on the other side, of every irresponsible and senseless claim. He suffers long drawn anxious periods of nervousness and restlessness, whilst the litigation is pending, without any fault on his part," it said.

The bench made it clear that it is not suggesting cost of litigation be enhanced and that the court fee or other litigation related costs, should be raised.

"Access to justice and related costs, should be as free and as low, as possible. What is sought to be redressed is a habituation, to press illegitimate claims. This practice and pattern is so rampant, that in most cases, disputes which ought to have been settled in no time at all, before the first Court of incidence, are prolonged endlessly, for years and years, and from Court to Court, upto the highest Court," it said.

"A conscious effort on the part of the legislature in this behalf, would serve several purposes. It would, besides everything else, reduce frivolous litigation. When the litigating party understands, that it would have to compensate the party which succeeds, unnecessary litigation will be substantially reduced.

"At the end of the day, Court time lost is a direct loss to the nation. It is about time, that the legislature should evolve ways and means to curtail this unmindful activity. We are sure, that an eventual determination, one way or the other, would be in the best interest of this country," the bench said.