CASE: Vijay Lata v. Rajiv Arora
CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Alka Sarin
Subject to the fact that although in a criminal proceeding the principles of res judicata and such analogous principles are not applicable, last week the Punjab & Haryana High Court noted that the courts are bound by the doctrine of judicial discipline in view of the prevailing hierarchical system in our country.
Significantly Justice Alka Sarin further noted,
“The findings of a higher Court or a Coordinate Bench must receive serious consideration at the hands of the Court entertaining a similar petition at a later stage when the same had been rejected earlier.”
The case before the Court
The Court was hearing a petition pursuant to Section 340 read with Section 195(1)(b)(i) Crpc for granting sanction to initiate criminal proceedings against the respondent for the offence of knowingly filing a false affidavit in CWP. No.1986 of 1993, cheating, forgery and defamation and for directing the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kurukshetra for further proceeding in Criminal Complaint No.231 of 2 of 2003.
Noticeably, by cleverly rewording certain parts of her petition, the petitioner had approached this Court for the fifth time, requesting the same relief under the same provisions of law, as she had been unsuccessful on the previous four occasions.
The petitions were either filed to pray that the respondent will be charged with intentionally filing a false affidavit or to grant a penalty to begin criminal proceedings against the respondent for deliberately filing a false affidavit.
Observations of the Court
Calling the present proceedings “nothing more than an abuse of the process of the Court”, the High Court noted,
“The earlier orders passed by this Court declining any relief to the petitioner in her petitions filed under Section 340 CrPC still hold good and have not been set aside by the Supreme Court. The present petition seeking the same relief on the same cause of action is not maintainable.”
The Court further observed that the four Coordinate Benches of that Court found that no inquiry was sought pursuant to Section 340 CrPC in relation to the written statement filed in CWP No.1986 of 1993 and that the Court did not find any material on record to allow the petitioner to respond to that question.
Furthermore the Court observed,
“It is well settled that litigants who, with an intent to deceive and mislead the Courts, initiate proceedings without full disclosure of facts, such litigants have come with unclean hands and are not entitled to relief.”
Finally the present petition was held to be not maintainable and was dismissed with costs. It was directed to be deposited with the Haryana Corona Relief Fund, costs of Rs.25,000/- .
The Court concluded that “Costs are being imposed since precious judicial time, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, has been wasted on an issue which already stands decided against the petitioner on four earlier occasions”.