Frivolous petitions: Supreme Court initiates action to recover Rs 25 lakh cost imposed in 2017

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta on Thursday directed the state to take steps to recover the Rs 25 lakh cost that had been imposed by the court on Suraj India Trust for filing 64 frivolous petitions both before various high courts and the Apex Court. That cost had been imposed by the then bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul in writ petition no. 880 of 2016 for wasting the judicial time of the apex court.

The Trust (or its chairman Rajiv Dhaiya) has not deposited the amount.

During hearing, the Union of India apprised the court that disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against the petitioner in person. The bench then directed the state to initiate fresh steps in recovering the costs from the petitioner, that could be gathered from the arrears of land revenue. 

In September 2020, the apex court issued notice to the original petitioner, directing him to pay the cost of Rs 25 lakh pursuant to the order of May 1, 2017, passed by the then bench led by CJI Khehar. The court had discouraged the manner and indiscretion adopted by so many individuals while filing PILs before the Supreme Court, “just like the petitioner in person, Rajiv Dhaiya has adopted in the present case.” He was further ordered to deposit such amount with the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Welfare Trust, within 3 months from date of order. In case if he fails to pay the cost such shall be recovered from the personal assets of the petitioner.

The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, vide order of 12.02.2021 noticed the fact that the application for modification filed by petitioner for waiving the cost awarded to petitioner in person, was outright rejected on 5.1.2017.  Furthermore, details of immovable and movable assets were sought by the Apex Court  from the petitioner, but he failed to furnish that. Seeing the conduct of the petitioner, the apex court issued a bailable warrant against Dhaiya for the sum of Rs 25,000 with one surety of like amount. 

The order dated 12.04.2021 indicate that Senior Advocate Manish Singhvi, counsel for the state, appeared and the court asked him to obtain instructions as to nature of employment of petitioner in person and whether all activities being carried out by the petitioner are permissible or not, while he is drawing a salary from the state since the petitioner is in a government job.

Genesis of writ petition no. (880 of 2016)

The following petition came up before the 3 judges bench (supra) in the month of April 2017. The court had a view that such petition does not disclose any cause in interest of public nature, and as such the court granted him liberty to not file such PILs which is not in interest of public cause. Ample opportunity was given to the Petitioner to make voluntary statement regarding not filing such petitions. Nevertheless, the suggestion put forward by the court was declined by him. Several representations were sent by the petitioner to the then President of India, making inappropriate remarks against SC judges, the Rajasthan High court and other court judges as well. Such letter contained allegation about the registry of the Supreme Court also.

Source: ILNS
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