Finding that a petition preferred before it was nothing but an appeal against its order, the Delhi High Court recently remarked that the petitioner, who was earlier found to be suffering from Alcohol Dependence Syndrome, now appeared to be suffering from Litigation Dependence Syndrome (Ram Naresh v. Union of India).
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon observed,
“Though we are honoured, by the petitioner preferring this petition in the form of an appeal against our order, before us only, but are afraid, in law, the same amounts to re-litigation and which has been held to be an abuse of the process of the Court… The petitioner, earlier found to be suffering from Alcohol Dependence Syndrome, now appears to be suffering from Litigation Dependence Syndrome.”
The petitioner had earlier filed a writ petition seeking a direction to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to obtain a third medical opinion in relation to the Medical Board and the Appeal Medical Board’s finding that he had Alcohol Dependence Syndrome. The relief claimed in this petition stood satisfied after the petitioner was referred for a third opinion.
The present petition, the Court said, worded the relief differently, but otherwise found faults with the judgment passed in the earlier petition bearing and sought an order to the contrary.
The petitioner pointed out that the third medical opinion, as well as the status report filed in the earlier petition, was in his favour. The respondent authorities stated that before further proceeding against the petitioner, they would take into consideration the medical opinion obtained under orders of the Court as well as the status report.
Considering the respondent’s stand and the fact that both the third medical opinion and the status report were considered in the earlier judgment, the Court questioned the rationale behind filing the present petition.
It observed that the petitioner earlier approached the Court against the findings of the Medical Board without waiting for the administrative decision, and then filed the present petition, during the pendency of which there was an interim stay.
It added that the petitioner thus, on both occasions, deferred/delayed the decision making, if any, by the respondents and perpetuated his own continuance in service.
The Court remarked,
“The petitioner cannot be permitted to frustrate the action, if any, liable to be taken against him, in this manner and it is high time that such attempts are put to a stop. If we entertain this petition at this interim stage of the action, if any, to be taken by the respondents against the petitioner, the same will again defer the decision, if any, to be taken against the petitioner. Interfering at the interim stage with the disciplinary proceeding, has always been deprecated by the Supreme Court and this court in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in its discretion, ought not to vest the petitioner with any advantage.”
Refusing to entertain the petition, the Court stated that if any decision prejudicial to the petitioner is taken, he would have departmental remedies available to him. It was added that the petitioner shall then have the right to invoke Article 226 if he remained dissatisfied even after preferring these remedies.
Advocate RK Shukla with Advocate Bhawna Massey appeared for the petitioner.
Central government standing counsel Ripudaman Bhardwaj with Advocates Kushagra Kumar and Ashu Pathak appeared for the respondents.