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Cost of Rs 2 lakh imposed on Director Health Services for trapping a citizen for 20 years in ‘frivolous litigation’

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has imposed costs Of Rs two lakh on Director Health Services Kashmir for entangling a citizen in “repeated frivolous litigation” for two decades after he received a favourable order by a subordinate court in 2003.

Hearing the case of the “victim” Iqbal Ahmad Baqal, Justice Atul Sreedharan observed the respondent (Iqbal Ahmad) who was recipient of an order in his favour in 2003 has been kept hanging for twenty (20) years thereafter by repeated frivolous litigation by the petitioners.

The bench dismissed the petition by the Director Health Services and imposed costs of Rs 2,00,000 upon him to be paid to the respondent (Iqbal Ahmad) within a period of 30 days from the date of this order.

“The Union Territory is given liberty to recover the amount of costs of Rs 2,00,000 from the Director Health Services, Kashmir,” it said.

The court ordered listing the matter on March 11, next year at the top of the list for the purpose of securing compliance.

According to the details “a petition was filed by the Director Health Services (Kashmir) against an order passed on May 14, 2018, wherein the Executing Court directed the judgment debtor No. 1 (director) to remain present before the court on May 30, 2018 and to show cause as aforesaid, failing which appropriate proceedings as warranted under law shall be initiated”.

It said “the petitioner director did not appear before the Executing Court as required. Instead the present petition was filed against the order of the Executing Court, stating that the order passed by the Court of Execution is bad in law and on facts as the decree given by the Trail Court in favour of the respondent herein has already been complied with, and therefore, there was nothing further to fulfil in the decree passed by the Trial Court”.

The petitioner authorities were the defendants in the civil suit filed by the respondent-plaintiff (Iqbal) before City Judge, Srinagar in 2001.

That suit was decreed in favour of Iqbal in 2003 ex-parte. Thereafter, the defendants filed an application for setting aside the ex-parte proceedings. However, they again remained absent which resulted in the dismissal of their application.

“After the suit was decreed, the appeal was not filed by the petitioners, challenging the judgment and decree passed by the Trial Court within prescribed period of limitation, resulting in the dismissal of the first Appeal on the ground that the Appeal was time-barred and filed without an application for condoning the delay,” recorded the court.

Thereafter, when execution proceedings were initiated, the petitioners filed a revision petition before the Principal District Judge, Srinagar, which was also dismissed.

Subsequently, a writ petition was filed in the High Court which too was dismissed in default.

The petitioner director moved an application for restoration of the writ petition along with an application for condonation of delay of 550 days which was dismissed in 2015.

The bench noted, “the conduct of the petitioner authorities reveals that it was casual and careless about the manner in which it was prosecuting the case.”

The authorities filed their last petition in 2018. The court said “if the petitioners were aggrieved by the order passed by the Executing Court, they had an opportunity to go before it and demonstrate there that the decree passed by the Trial Court was already complied with, and there was no reason for any execution, but instead it has chosen to further delay the proceedings by another five years by filing this petition.”

The respondent (Iqbal) recipient of an order in his favour in the year 2003 has been kept hanging for 20 years thereafter by repeated frivolous litigation by the petitioners, the court said.

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