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SC lays down 8-point agenda for judiciary
New doctrine seeks to prevent misuse of litigation
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 23
The Supreme Court has propounded a new doctrine laying down eight cardinal principles for the judiciary in order to prevent unscrupulous litigants from misusing the legal process and turning it into a “fruitful industry.”

“Litigation should not be permitted to turn into a fruitful industry so that the unscrupulous litigants are encouraged to invoke the jurisdiction of the court,” a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and HL Dattu said in a 158-page verdict while penning the 7th principle.

According to the 5th and 6th principles, no litigant should be allowed to derive benefit from the mere pendency of a case in a court of law and no party can take any benefit of his own wrongs.

“The institution of litigation cannot be permitted to confer any advantage on a party by delayed action of courts,” reads the last principle of the doctrine.

“While adjudicating, the courts must keep the following principles in view,” the Bench said at the outset of its doctrine theory and went on to outline them. The first and the foremost principle: “It is the bounden duty and obligation of the court to neutralise any unjust enrichment and undeserved gain made by any party by invoking the jurisdiction of the court.”

The second principle is about interim relief and the need for preventing its misuse. “When a party applies and gets a stay or injunction from the court, it is always at the risk and responsibility of the party applying. An order of stay cannot be presumed to be conferment of additional right upon the litigating party.”

Unscrupulous litigants should be prevented from taking undue advantage by invoking the jurisdiction of courts, reads principle No. 3.

The next one is about the dangers of showing leniency to persons in wrongful possession.

Such persons should not only be removed from the places of wrongful possession “as early as possible but also be compelled to pay for wrongful use” by way of fine, penalty and cost. “Any leniency would seriously affect the credibility of the judicial system,” warns the Supreme Court.

The apex court has come out with the guidelines while imposing a cost of Rs 10 lakh on a chemical industry that successfully stayed away from implementing its verdict for 15 years by filing some interlocutory application (IA) or the other. The industrial unit, along with others, had polluted the soil and ground water of Bichhri village in Udaipur district of Rajasthan.





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