The Delhi High Court has expressed its displeasure over the “unhealthy trend” of litigants who challenge orders that have attained finality by filing fresh petitions through a new set of litigants.
A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan said there was an “increasing tendency” today amongst the litigants to re-litigate the same issue which has already been tried and decided earlier.
If this “unhealthy trend” is not checked at the earliest it will be an abuse of the court process, they said.
“In our opinion, if an issue which has attained finality is sought to be re-litigated, it amounts to an abuse of the process of the court.
“In our view, frivolous or vexatious proceedings also amount to an abuse of the process of the court especially where the proceedings are absolutely groundless – like in the present case,” the bench said in a recent order.
The court’s remark came while hearing a petition of some villagers of Mundka, challenging the order by a single judge who had dismissed their plea of quashing the order of settlement officer (consolidation) dated April 4, 1983, directing shifting of a cremation ground to a new location on the outskirts of the extended Lal Dora.
The single judge had dismissed Dec 3, 2012 the plea of 20 villagers who had moved the court saying shifting the cremation ground would amount to taking away or abridging their fundamental right to freedom of religion.
The single judge had said that the settlement officer’s order, which was based upon the financial commissioner’s order of Oct 8, 1982 has attained finality and needs “no reiteration”.
The division bench hearing the case took note that the Gaon Sabha had also filed a petition challenging the order of the financial commissioner in 1995, and not only this, the petition was dismissed but also an appeal filed against the order of the single judge was dismissed by a division bench of this court in 2001.
The bench was miffed by the act of the petitioners. It observed that on this issue the petitions were already dismissed and now other litigants came with the same issue saying they were not party in the case earlier.
“If this unhealthy trend is not checked at the earliest, we are of the view that tomorrow another set of villagers shall approach this court challenging the previous and today’s decision of the division bench on the ground that they were not parties to either of the two proceedings,” the bench said.