Published on: 25 November 2022 at 23:14 IST
The Karnataka High Court severely criticised the state government for “having scant regard for the judicial time wasted due to the cavalier fashion of filing numerous meritless petitions” and for ignoring the advice of the law department.
The court also ordered the government to determine the cost of such frivolous petitions and recover it from the officer in question, if such petitions are not entertained by the court.
The court stated, alluding to the state government, that “the high court cannot be used like a dustbin by the greatest litigant.”
Additionally, it instructed the government to distribute the “Karnataka State Dispute Resolution Policy 2021” litigation policy, developed by the law department to prevent pointless lawsuits, to the heads of all departments and interested parties and to hold workshops to inform them of the policy and its application.
The division bench of Justices G. Narendar and PN Desai dismissed the petition filed by the Home department to challenge the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal order that dismissed charges against Retired Assistant Sub-inspector Rahamathulla in a disproportionate assets case filed by Lokayukta police in 2014.
“We believe the moment has come for this court to make it clear that just because the state government is the biggest petitioner, it will not automatically be given permission to file any and all matters, using up important judicial time. The irony is that the state was one of the main proponents of popularising the ADR system.”
The state cannot be the cause of the docket explosion given this context, the court ruled. The court stated that the charges against the ASI are proven and made reference to the enquiry officer taking assets that the ASI owned before to joining the service. The court stated that it did not want to impose the exemplary cost of Rs. 10 lakh on the government and that this should only be considered a final warning.
The bench further lamented that, “The High Court cannot be treated like a dustbin by the largest litigant and the litigant bears a responsibility towards the justice dispensation system, a responsibility which is a constitutional mandate,”
The tribunal had quashed disciplinary proceedings against 66-year-old Rahamathulla when he was serving as an assistant police inspector prior to his retirement.
Even though the Law Department suggested against challenging the KSAT’s verdict before the High Court, the Home Department had filed the present petition, which the Bench termed “meritless.”