The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Haryana Urban Development Authority on the knuckles for “wasting” the time of courts in a matter involving the demand for more money from a man for allotment of a plot of land, and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on it for filing a “frivolous appeal”.
The apex court observed it has often deprecated the conduct of litigants in flooding the top court with frivolous litigations that are “choking the dockets” with the result that matters that require consideration get delayed.
A bench of Justices A S Oka and Rajesh Bindal said the man, who has been dragged into “unnecessary litigation” up to the apex court, deserves to be awarded a cost of Rs 50,000.
“For the aforesaid reasons and wasting the time of the courts at different levels, we deem it appropriate to burden the appellants (authority) with cost of Rs 1,00,000 to be deposited with the Supreme Court Mediation Centre,” the bench said, while dismissing the appeal.
It said the amount be recovered by the authority from guilty officials, who opined the case was fit for filing appeal at different levels despite being covered by the judgment of the top court.
The bench noted the additional amount sought to be recovered from the man for allotment of land was Rs 26,880 for which there was no justification even at the stage of issuance of notice and the suit was decreed in August 2008.
“The amount spent on litigation would be much more. It is because of impersonal and irresponsible attitude of the officers, who want to put everything to court and shirk to take decisions,” it said.
“However, still the appellants had not only filed appeals, resulting in addition to the pendency of cases and also must have spent huge amount on litigation in the form of fee of the counsels and allied expenses. Besides that, number of officer(s)/official(s) must have visited the counsel engaged either at Chandigarh, when the matter was taken up in the high court and thereafter to this court, when the order was challenged before this court,” the bench noted.
It said even that amount needs to be calculated and recovered from the guilty officers who, despite there being a judgment of the apex court on the same issue, opined the case was fit for appeal.
“For the aforesaid reasons, the appeal is dismissed. The amount of cost be deposited in Supreme Court Mediation Centre and paid to the respondent within two months from today and regarding cost of litigation, needful shall be done within six months. Affidavit of compliance to be filed in this court,” the bench said.
The top court was dealing with an appeal filed by the authority against an October 2009 order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had dismissed its plea and upheld the concurrent findings of facts recorded by trial court as well as by the first appellate court.
It noted the dispute pertained to the demand of additional price for the allotment of a plot in Hisar to the man. The man was allotted the plot vide allotment letter of August 1986 at Rs 224.90 per sq. yard.
The bench also noted that a notice was issued to him by the authority raising the demand for more money as well as to show cause as to why the plot should not be resumed on account of non-construction within a period of two years of allotment.
Later, a civil suit was filed by the man in October 2003 challenging the demand raised by the authority and the same was decreed.
The apex court said from undisputed facts on record and the terms and conditions contained in the allotment letter, there was no illegality committed by the court below in setting aside the demand of additional money.
“For filing the present frivolous appeal, in our opinion, the appellants deserve to be burdened with heavy cost. This court had deprecated the conduct of the litigants in flooding this court with frivolous litigations, which are choking the dockets as a result of which the matters, which require consideration are delayed,” it said.