Describing a case as “classic example of the abuse of the judicial process by unscrupulous litigants with money power”, the Supreme Court has imposed Rs. 25 Lakhs costs on each of the parties before it, as a compensation for the loss of judicial time of this country.
The parties viz. Messer Griesham GmbH, Goyal Gases Ltd. And RUIAS(companies) were asked by the bench comprising of Justices J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre to pay the above said amount to National Legal Services Authority to utilize it to fund poor litigants to pursue their claims before this Court in deserving cases.
The facts of the case are too technical to describe and it can be narrated as follows. Three companies enter into three different share purchase agreements. They file suits against each other in Delhi and Bombay High Courts. One was withdrawn and others are pending. The parties approach Apex Court against the interlocutory orders passed by the High Court. 18 years pass like this. Now they wanted Supreme Court to examine all the questions of rights, title andinterest in these shares between the various parties. Arguments were advanced on either sidefor a period of about 18 working days. Finally, the Apex Court comes down heavily by imposing costs of Rs. 25 Lakhs on each parties.
The Court said that this case is a classic example of abuse of the judicial process by unscrupulous litigants with money power, all in the name of legal rights by resorting to half-truths, misleading representations and suppression of facts and each and every party is guilty of one or the other of the above-mentioned misconducts.
The Bench added “This case should also serve as proof of the abuse of the discretionary Jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 by the rich and powerful in the name of a ‘fight for justice’ at each and every interlocutory step of a suit. Enormous amount of judicial time of this 31 Page 32 Court and two High Courts was spent on this litigation. Most of it is avoidable and could have been well spent on more deserving cases.”
Read the Judgment here.