Taking undue advantage of the legal process is unacceptable
Vijay Madanlala Choudary & Ors. Vs Union of India and Ors.
On 15th September 2020, the Supreme Court ordered a judgment regarding abuse of the process of law. The word process refers to the proceedings and procedures of a civil suit or a criminal suit. When a person uses the legal process or procedure in a malicious, casual, or unreasonable way then it becomes an abuse of process, the court has the authority to levy a fine or give minimal punishment for such actions.
Facts of the case
The petitioner in the case was granted bail for a period of 2 months on the grounds that the petitioner’s mother was ill. Later an application for extension of interim bail was filed stating that the petitioner’s mother had passed away and he wanted to perform rituals, and it was also pointed out that his wife was ill. Thus an extension order of 1 month was granted to the petitioner. In the aforesaid order, it was clearly mentioned that no further application for an extension can be made. But the petitioner again filed a plea for an extension stating that he was suffering from epididymitis and needed proper medical care.
- Repetitive filing of applications amounts to an abuse of the process of law. Even after clearly stating in the previous order that the petition regarding extension cannot be filed, the petitioner asked for an extension stating that he was suffering from a disease and that during the situation of a pandemic it was not safe for him to stay in prison.
- The Court decreed to levy a penalty for an act of abuse of legal process from the petitioner. An exemplary cost of Rs. 25,000 was imposed.
- It stated that considering the medical conditions of the petitioner will be given appropriate medical care.
Thus the petition regarding further extension of interim bail was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
• Abuse of process of law is considered as an intentional tort. If a person tried to cause hindrance in imparting justice or to contempt the order passed by the court then such a person is said to have committed an abuse of the process of law.
• Sec. 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure states that:
‘Saving of inherent powers of the High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.” .This concept has been used in multiple cases, some of them are like M/S.Rahul Foundations Private … vs Ratanlal, S.K. Bhalla & Ors. vs State Of Nct Of Delhi & Anr. and V.G. Row vs The State Of Madras on 14 September 1950. In all these cases the Court has observed the elements of abuse of power are the existence of a malicious purpose and an act that is not proper in the regular prosecution of the proceeding in court.
• In this case, there was an abuse of process observed as the repetitive filing of petition causes a burden to the court, and also the intent of the petitioner was unreasonable.
Therefore, in this case, the Supreme Court did not entertain the petition filed on the grounds given by the counsel of the petitioner. The court rejected the plea of the petitioner who was making several attempts to extend the interim bail which was granted to him, initially for necessary purposes. The court observed that the petitioner is trying to take undue advantage of leniency given by the court as the petitioner was trying to escape his prison sentence.