Saturday, August 14, 2010

Parties must pay for filing misguided petitions: HC

Parties must pay for filing misguided petitions: HC

13 Aug, 2010 0520hrs IST [ Abhinav Garg ]

NEW DELHI: Parties rushing to courts with "misguided petitions'' against public projects like infrastructure must be made to compensate the other side if they lose the case, the Delhi high court has emphasized.

Justice Gita Mittal ordered VHCPL-ADCC Pingalai Infrastructure, a private firm, to cough up Rs 6 lakh as compensation to the government for delaying a highway four-laning project by more than a year.

Rueing the delay HC noted, "The time therefore appears to have come that just as in some other jurisdictions, in this country as well, the losing party must compensate the other side for actual costs incurred by it as well as the justice dispensation system for the court time expended. Only then will parties carefully asssess legal merits in their case before filing or contesting misguided litigation.''

HC was agitated to note how a petition filed by the firm had held up an important project for a long period, forcing the government to defend itself on the technical issues raised by fielding senior most government lawyers led by the Attorney General of India. "A public infrastructure project couldn't be commenced despite completion of all formalities from as far back as November 18, 2009 till date on wholly untenable grounds. The project was undertaken in public interest and would have been of tremendous utility to the users of NH-6,'' Justice Mittal noted while tossing away the firms petition.

The firm was awarded a contract for construction and operation of a project involving a major bridge in Maharashtra and on that basis it claimed it had rights without bidding for another contract involving four laning of a 67km stretch of NH-6, also in Maharashtra.The HC pointed out how the firm was culpable for causing delay as it first "sat by and waited for the entire tendering process to be over and contract awarded before it has mouthed its objections or approached this court''. Delay in completion of the project would have an inevitable and obvious impact on the interest of the users of this stretch of NH, the court added.

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