Supreme Court Stresses on Preventing Misuse of Legal Process as litigants filing Repeated Appeals


LI Network

Published on: 14 September 2023 at 19:12 IST

The Supreme Court has expressed its concern over litigants repeatedly filing appeals without the specific permission of the court, especially after the first appeal was dismissed for lack of prosecution. The court emphasized that such actions amount to the misuse of the legal process.

The judgment was delivered in a Civil Appeal case where the court dismissed the appeal and criticized the High Court for allowing vexatious applications without providing any rationale.

The bench, comprised of Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Dipankar Datta, observed, “From the afore-stated state of affairs, it clearly emerges that though this Court had not granted any specific permission to file any application seeking review of the judgment and decree passed in Second Appeal No. 84 of 1997… the respondents had preferred the [application] seeking review… The said [application] having been dismissed for want of prosecution, the respondents kept on filing one after the other Miscellaneous Civil Applications… All these applications were dismissed for want of prosecution. Under the circumstances, there was no question of allowing [the subsequent application]. No litigant should be permitted to be so lethargic and apathetic much less should be permitted to misuse the process of law.”

The court underlined the necessity of preventing litigants from misusing the legal system, highlighting that the High Court had committed a grave error by allowing such applications without providing any justification.

The Trial Court dismissed his suit, but he appealed to the High Court, which ruled in his favor, granting him an irrevocable license over the property. The Appellants then filed a Second Appeal in the High Court, which was successful. After the subsequent appeal by Respondent No. 1, who had since passed away, was dismissed for lack of prosecution, his legal heirs filed multiple applications seeking a review and restoration of their case.

The Supreme Court observed that despite not granting specific permission for a review of the judgment and decree, the Respondents filed several applications for review and restoration after a significant time lapse. All of these applications were dismissed for lack of prosecution, leading the court to conclude that there were no grounds to allow the restoration application. The High Court’s decision to permit it without any explanation was deemed a significant error.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s ruling serves as a reminder that the legal process should not be misused through repeated and unfounded appeals. It underscores the importance of adhering to the established legal procedures and discourages frivolous litigation.

The judgment also sets aside the High Court’s decision in the case, reaffirming the principle that misuse of the legal process will not be tolerated.

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