In a punitive step, the Supreme Court today slapped an “exemplary cost” of Rs 25 lakh on an NGO and its chairman for filing 64 PILs without any success over the years and barred them from filing any plea before any court across the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said “waste” of judicial time was a matter of serious concern and all such endeavours have to be dealt sternly to prevent misuse of the courts by such individuals “who have nothing to do but only cast scandalous and imaginary aspersions”.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said that Rajiv Daiya, the chairman of NGO Suraz India Trust, would be refrained from filing any petition in public interest.
“So as to stop this practice (of wasting judicial time) once and for all, we hereby direct that Suraz India Trust will not file any petition in public interest before any court in this country,” the court said.
“Rajiv Dahiya is refrained from filing petition in public interest…for the judicial time wasted by Suraz India Trust and Rajiv Dahiya, we consider it appropriate to impose an exemplary cost, so as to discourage such persons from filing such petitions, of Rs 25 lakh on Suraz India Trust,” it said.
The apex court asked the NGO to deposit the cost within a month and said in all the pending matters, whether before this court or the high courts, which have been initiated by them, “it would imperative on Suraz India Trust to place this order on record in that case”.
Referring to the details of the matters filed by the NGO and the various orders passed by the apex court, the bench said it “leaves no doubt that Suraz India Trust has repeatedly misused the jurisdiction of this court”.
“In 64 occasions, when Suraz India Trust approached this court as per the details indicated above, it did not have any success whatsoever. Not a single direction was passed on acceptance of any issue canvassed by Suraz India Trust,” it said.
The bench said extremely important matters were being taken up for consideration by the court on daily basis and they lagged behind due to such misconceived petitions.
“At this juncture, we could have initiated action against Rajiv Dahiya for the factual position expressed by him against judges of the Rajasthan High Court and also against judges of this court.
“Not only has Suraz India Trust scandalously invoked the judicial arm of this court, it has also ventured to address communications to the Chief Justice of India and judges of this court at their residences,” the bench noted in its detailed order which was passed after hearing the petitioner for around one-and-a-half hours.
The apex court had on April 24 rapped the NGO and its chief for wasting judicial time.
The apex court, on March 27, had issued notice to the NGO for filing 64 petitions over the years under the garb of public interest litigation and Daiya to show cause as to why he should be allowed to continue filing cases.
It had handed over to him a compilation of the 64 pleas filed by him in the nature of writ petitions, review petitions to asked him to respond to the notice.