Allahabad High Court imposes fine of Rs 3 Lakh for successive writ petitions on same cause of action

Jan22,2021 #Allahabad HC

Umamageswari Maruthappan

The Allahabad High Court imposed a fine of 3 Lakh Rupees on the petitioner for filing successive writ petitions with the same cause of action.

Justice Rajiv Joshi while passing the order, dated 18th January 2021, noted that the petition in question was presented for the fourth time with the same cause of action. The previous three petitions were dismissed on grounds of lack of merit.

The High Court cited the Supreme Court’s judgement in September 2020 wherein it imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 on Raj Kumar Modi for filing repetitive petitions seeking interim bail. The accused was alleged to be involved in the Adarsh Scam Case.

The petitioner, who is a former Gram Sabha Pradhan, was ceased from exercising financial and administrative powers as a Gram Pradhan by an order passed on 20th February 2019 under the UP Panchayat Raj Act, 1947.

Challenging the order, the petitioner had notably approached the High Court four times. The first petition was filed by him was dismissed on 4th April 2019, the second was dismissed on 12th December 2019, while the third was also dismissed on 14th February 2020.

However, when questioned by the High Court Justice, the petitioner apologized saying that he was unaware of the legal proceedings due to his illiteracy. Nevertheless, the Court imposed the fine on the petitioner and dismissed the plea.

The Court directed that payment of fine should be made within one month failing to which it will be recovered as arrears of land revenue.

It is a well established rule that a petition filed repeatedly on the same cause of action is not maintainable. This is where the principle of ‘Res Judicata’ applies. Res Judicata prevents a party from filing successive petitions when a previous petition with the same cause of action had been adjudicated.

In cases of successive petitions, the Supreme Court’s observation in Forward Construction Co. v. Prabhat Mandal, (1986) can be relied upon.

It stated that the first writ petition operates as res judicata between the parties and no second petition on the same cause of action can be filed by the person against whom the order has been passed.

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