Rashid Paul

HC imposed ‘exemplary cost’ of Rs 50,000 on man for trying to misuse, abuse court processes

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Srinagar: The High Court on Tuesday imposed exemplary costs of Rs 50,000 on a man “deceptively” using two courts to revoke a subordinate court decision that granted maintenance to his estranged wife.

In the case titled Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khan Vs Rabia Jan, the High Court held that Khan has grossly misused and abused the process of the courts.

It noted that a dishonest litigant like him (Khan) cannot be shown any leniency and such elements cannot be allowed to abuse the process of the courts.

The court said “such trends need to be arrested and put down with an iron fist so that trust of the genuine litigants in the institution is maintained” and imposed the cost of Rs 50,000 on Khan.

Dismissing his revision petition against a 2017 maintenance order by Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Cherar-i-Sharief, the bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar directed the exemplary cost be deposited with the Registrar Judicial and paid to the lady.

In 2013-14, Rabia Jan had filed proceedings under Section 488 of J&K CrPC before the Magistrate claiming maintenance from her husband Khan.

After stopping to appear before the Magistrate, exparte proceedings were initiated against Khan. In 2015, the case ended with a direction that Khan should pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 5000 to Rabia Jan.

Khan, however, filed two separate applications before the magistrate, one for setting aside the exparte order calling for maintenance and another for staying its operation.

Both the applications were dismissed by the magistrate in 2017. Compensatory costs of Rs 30,000 were also imposed on the petitioner to be paid to the lady.

The order was challenged by Khan in a revision petition before the Principal Sessions Judge, Budgam. The judge in 2018 dismissed the revision petition.

Khan also filed a petition in the High Court which said the petitioner is impugning the order of the Magistrate as well as the order of revisional court (District Court).

“This amounts to filing of second revision against the order of the magistrate and the law clearly bars a second revision petition,” the High Court held.

Citing law it said “if a person has invoked the revisional jurisdiction of a Sessions Judge against an order of Magistrate, he cannot file second revision against the said order before the High Court and vice-versa.”

In the instant case, when the Sessions Judge refused to interfere with the order of the Magistrate, the High Court’s jurisdiction was invoked by the petitioner to avoid the order of the Magistrate and not that of the Sessions Judge.

The High Court maintained “the bar of Section 435(3) of the CrPC is, therefore, effectively attracted and the bar cannot be circumvented by subterfuge of treating the revision petition as directed against the Sessions Judge’s order.”

It found the petitioner has grossly abused the process of law by filing the instant petition. Previously he had already filed a petition under Section 561-A of the J&K Code of Criminal Procedure in 2017 in the High Court. The said petition had also been dismissed by the High Court in 2018.

Justice Dhar while recording his judgment noted “the petitioner during the pendency of the aforesaid proceedings, invoked the revisional jurisdiction of the Sessions Court, without even disclosing that he had already approached the High Court under Section 561-A of J&K CrPC.”

He said the petitioner by filing the instant petition has tried to test his luck once again.

“This is sheer abuse of process of court. The consequences of the tactics that the petitioner has adopted in this case, would have led to passing of conflicting and contradictory orders by different courts or even by the same court,” he said.

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