The Rajasthan high Court recently slapped ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company with penal costs of Rs. 10 lakhs for impleading several judges of District Judges Cadre as parties to a petition filed by it.
Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma saw right through the impleadment, opining that it was done in an attempt to influence compensation cases pending before the judges. Opining that this amounted to abuse of process of law, the petition was dismissed with a penalty of Rs. 10 lakhs.
In its petition, ICICI had impleaded Compensation Commissioners posted in Rajasthan at various districts. This included a judge who had been elevated to the High Court. The court, however, noted that the judges were impleaded without making any specific allegations against them.
On being confronted about the submissions, the counsel for ICICI prayed for the leave of the Court to withdraw the petition. The court, however, refused to allow the withdrawal, and went on to dismiss the petition instead, noting,
“Thus the forum of preferring writ petition before this court has been seriously misused and abused by the petitioners. The process of dispensation of justice has been effected and, therefore, this court does not allow the petitioner to withdraw the writ petition after the notice being already issued by this Court.”
It then went on to question the intent behind the impleadment, opining that this was an attempt at “wrongfully influencing” Compensation Commissioners in compensation cases pending before them.
“This court finds that the writ petition has been preferred by the ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company by naming all the Compensation Commissioners posted in Rajasthan at various districts. Having filed such a writ petition, the petitioner Company would not raise a reasonable excuse before the concerned Compensation Commissioners not to hear cases in relation to grant of compensation against their Company and would thus be browbeating and wrongfully influencing the employees [and] Compensation Commissioners posted at various districts,” it observed.