Repeated filing of applications which are not maintainable amounts to abuse of process of law, the Supreme Court observed while dismissing the appeal filed by Rashid Khan Pathan against the refusal by the Registry to register his application seeking recall of the order sentencing him for contempt.
The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose observed that the instant application for recall filed is an abuse of process of Court and thus dismissed the appeals with exemplary costs of Rs.25,000/-. If the Appellant continues to file such repetitive applications in this litigation which are not maintainable, he will be visited with deterrent actions .. such as initiation of criminal contempt proceedings or a direction to the Registry that no further applications in this litigation will be received, the bench said.
In April, this year, the bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose held Vijay Kurle (State President, Maharashtra & Goa, Indian Bar Association), Rashid Khan Pathan (National Secretary, Human Rights Security Council) & Nilesh Ojha (National President, Indian Bar Association) guilty of contempt. On 4th May, the bench sentenced them to to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 3 months each with a fine of Rs.2000/-. The court had further observed that the sentence shall come into force after 16 weeks from the date of the order i.e. 4th May, 2020, when the contemnors should surrender before the Secretary General of this Court to undergo the punishment. Allowing the applications filed by contemnors, the court had extended the time for surrendering by sixteen weeks.
While hearing the appeal against Registrar's order, the bench noted that an application filed by the contemnor Nilesh Ojha for recusal of Justice Deepak Gupta was rejected on 04.05.2020. They had also filed an application seeking recall of the convicting judgment. The same was dismissed by the court observing that the recall applications were not maintainable and the only proper remedy available to the contemnors is to file a Review Petition. A prayer made by Nilesh Ojha that he may be granted liberty to file a Writ Petition was also rejected by the Court by holding that a writ petition is not maintainable against the judgment. Taking note of all these proceedings, the court observed:
In a country governed by the rule of law, finality of the judgment is absolutely imperative and great sanctity is attached to the finality of the judgment. Permitting the parties to reopen the concluded judgments of this Court by filing repeated interlocutory applications is clearly an abuse of the process of law and would have far-reaching adverse impact on the administration of justice.
The bench also said that it is not necessary to consider the contention that the convicting judgment in Vijay Kurle case has been impliedly overruled in Prashant Bhushan's case. The court, while dismissing the appeal further observed:
The application for recall of an order by which an earlier application for recall of the judgment was dismissed is not maintainable. The only remedy open to the Appellant was to have filed a Review Petition as suggested by this Court in the order dated 04.05.2020. We are of the considered view that the application for recall of the order dated 04.05.2020 is an abuse of process of Court. Therefore, we are constrained to dismiss the Appeal with exemplary costs of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees Twenty-Five Thousand Only). If the Appellant continues to file such repetitive applications in this litigation which are not maintainable, he will be visited with deterrent actions referred above such as initiation of criminal contempt proceedings or a direction to the Registry that no further applications in this litigation will be received.
Case no.: M.A. No.1434 of 2020