Asia & Australia

December 11, 2017

No waive off for Rajya Sabha officers over vexatious appeals: Delhi HC

Rajya Sabha

The costs of Rs 50,000 imposed on the officers of the Rajya Sabha by Justice Valmki J Mehta of the Delhi High Court were declined to be waived off, while dismissing a regular second appeal made by it in a civil case.

After finding that the Rajya Sabha Secretariat had abused the process of law and put the respondent/plaintiff through grave harassment by filing successive appeals in the case, Mehta, in an order dated August 3, 2017 had imposed costs of Rs 1 lakh.

Over a sum of Rs 39,010, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat had pursued prolonged litigation against a former employee for over 10 years; the court had observed.

Out of the costs of Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 50,000 was directed to be paid to the respondent, and the remaining Rs. 50,000 was required to be deposited in a charity for martyred security personnel, by the officer responsible for filing of the appeal.

An application was made later to waive the latter costs on the basis of a legal opinion made by the Attorney General for India. It would be difficult to fix the responsibility among different officers of the appellant, contended Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain in the court. Moreover, it was emphasised that the appeal was initiated after the officers of the appellant took legal advice from an Advocate.

However, the Court resolved these practical concerns by pointing out that the responsibility can be fixed on the highest officer under whose signatures final decision was taken to file the second appeal. The Court noted that, “After all an officer cannot say that he will not at all apply his mind and he can simply direct filing of an appeal just and merely because an Advocate has stated that the appeal should be filed, more so considering that the appeal was a Regular Second Appeal requiring existence of a substantial question of law under Section 100 CPC with the fact that the suit filed by the appellant/defendant was only for Rs.39,010/- and which suit was dismissed by both the courts below thereby showing that there was no merits in the same.”

Hence, the Court rejected the application made by the Rajya Sabha, after noting that,

“...if the appellant feels that it has suffered because of its Advocate or Advocates not giving the correct legal opinion, then surely it will be open to the appellant to proceed against its Advocate(s) in accordance with law.”

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