The High Court of J&K and Ladakh in one of its pronouncements recently expressed concern over the frivolous litigation. In its observations, the court sent a strong reproach to parties resorting to a frivolous litigation. The court vented its displeasure in strong words over filing such cases as it pushes genuine cases into niches where they stay for prolonged periods without coming up for hearing.
Though the frivolous litigations, by and large, eventually end up in dismissal, but not before impacting the genuine ones adversely as they keep gathering the dust. It won’t be an overstatement to say that a frivolous litigation makes a genuine one lose its relevance.
When a frivolous litigation remains pending for a long period, the genuine cases cannot be taken up for hearings and the litigants generally give up in this procrastinated process for financial reasons or the fatigue they suffer.
For a frivolous litigation, the High Court had directed Director National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar to pay Rs 5 lakh in equal share to two candidates as compensation for denying them appointment for nearly two years as junior engineers in the Institute. Allowing a plea by the two candidates, who were selected as junior engineers in NIT Srinagar, the bench also dismissed a separate application filed by two persons who are working on these two posts on contractual basis and imposed Rs 2 lakh fine on them.
In the judgment, Justice Sanjeev Kumar has held the application of the two contractual persons for impleadment as “misconceived” in view of the fact that they had filed a few litigations before the High Court as well as Civil Court to “perpetuate” their stay at the cost of the petitioners who were duly selected in the selection process.
Justice Kumar directed them to pay the costs of Rs 2 lakh in equal share before the court’s Registry within a period of four weeks from the date of announcement of the judgment.
The seriousness of the court over the frivolous litigation can be gauged from the strong remarks it used against such litigation and the direction to NIT Srinagar to pay Rs 5 lakh in equal share to two candidates as compensation for denying them appointment as junior engineers in the Institute.
The no-nonsense manner in which the court has made light of the frivolous litigants is worth contemplation. Of course, the frivolous litigations give an undue advantage to the litigants over genuine litigants obviously at the expense of substantial pleas which remain unheard.
A questions arises as to why frivolous litigations course through years and waste the time of the court .
In the initial stage after few hearings, the courts can be unburdened of this frivolous pendency. At the embryonic stage, a frivolous litigation can save a litigant from financial loss for pursuing a litigation which is bound to fetch him no gains. The sooner the courts start discouraging the filing of such litigations, the better it will be for both the courts and the litigants. The courts will not see frightening heaps of useless files and the litigants will not be clinging to a false hope.
The Court’s observation that “the time has come to stay firm on frivolous litigation lest it prevents the Courts from taking up good causes involving adjudication of vital constitutional and statutory rights of the citizens” makes great sense.
We can’t deny the fact that a frivolous litigation mars rights of others as the courts are not in a position to decide cases related to constitutional and other statutory rights of the citizens on time.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a major portion of Court time is wasted in hearing and weeding out frivolous litigations.
The Court is absolutely justified in observing that to serve the cause of justice, it was imperative to act tough and discourage the tendency of some litigants to misuse the process of law.
The imposition of costs on persons filing frivolous litigations will send an unmistakable message to people that they need to refrain from such attempts or be ready to face serious consequences. Besides, the courts are also saddled with a huge responsibility to do away with the frivolous litigation at the very threshold.
It will save courts precious time and the litigants will be forced to shun such practices.