In an unusual case, the Bombay High Court has dismissed an execution application argued pro se by an eccentric litigant who sought physical possession of the high court building as well as two wards in Bombay city.
Justice GS Patel recorded his displeasure at the “preposterous” demands made by this one Sukumar Samanta who was appearing pro se on behalf of Sushma Samanta.
At the very outset, Justice Patel stated that Sukumar deserved to have strictures passed against him for the persistent harassment he causes to every department of the high court but as he was appearing pro se, it was decided not to pass any strictures or impose costs.
Sushma Samanta filed a suit against one Ashok Zaveri for specific performance. The suit was decreed on March 8, 2010, when Zaveri submitted to a decree. The suit was with respect to an agreement for sale dated October 10, 2008, regarding three properties. A conveyance was executed on March 4, 2010, and this was signed by or on behalf of the decree-holder (Sushma Samanta).
Demands in the application
The court noted how Sukumar filed application after application in the matter and how the registry had briefed it about Sukumar’s habit of making extraordinary demands. Justice Patel recorded the interaction he had with Sukumar in open court as follows-
“Samanta appears in person. In open Court, I asked him what it is precisely that he claims. He said, to my very great consternation, that his decree entitles him to demand actual physical possession not just of this High Court and its campus, and everything in it, but the whole of the city’s ‘C’ and ‘E’ wards. He bases this submission — if it can be called that without doing considerable violence to the language — on some reading of the ‘street numbers’ in the schedules of the property.
This is not a finding based on any gleaning from the record. Samanta said so to me in person, and in so many words, in response to three questions I put to him. I first asked him to what it was he claimed to be entitled. He replied saying he had a decree for C Ward and E Ward. I then asked if that meant he was entitled to physical possession of the Bombay High Court. “Yes,” he said; and then added that he would pay all salaries (including, presumably, of the judges; I did not care, or even dare, to go further down this particular road). I then asked, on what he based this claim, and he responded by saying that since the decree and the conveyance mentioned street numbers, he was entitled to all properties and lands in those two city wards.”
Justice Patel then tried to explain to Sukumar that he had no suit or decree against the state government or the Municipal Corporation and that public lands are vested with these authorities. In his trademark wit, Justice Patel explained-
“A decree for three properties held by one individual cannot be expanded like this; that while many things may be ‘in the cloud’, his decree is not, and that it is not a cloud or a shroud that blankets two city wards; that his decree is limited to three properties, two at Dhanji Street in Zaveri Bazaar and one in Kamathipura in E-Ward; that the High Court is not in Zaveri Bazaar, and it is most emphatically not in Kamathipura.”
The court further noted-
“Enough is enough. Samanta must be stopped. Once and for all: Samanta is not entitled to possession of one millimetre of property beyond the area and the Cadastral Survey numbers of the three properties mentioned in his decree and conveyance. If he has not got possession of the three decreed properties, his remedies are elsewhere, and not in execution against the High Court or the State Government.”
Finally, it sternly warned Sukumar Samanta and directed him not to try and revive these applications in any way or the same would be referred to the Advocate General to take action for prevention of such vexatious litigation.
Thus, the execution application along with other interim applications was dismissed.