Realistic costs to be imposed to curb vexatious litigation

Delhi High Court: While dismissing an appeal for being devoid of merits, the Single Bench of Hima Kohli, J. observed that to curb vexatious, and frivolous litigation, it is necessary to impose realistic costs and to fully restitute the party that has been put to disadvantage on account of such litigation.

One Aishi Lal was allotted the subject plot by the Government. In 1989, Aishi Lal expired, leaving behind five legal heirs, namely, his widow and four children. Later, in 1999, the appellant and his siblings relinquished their share in the suit premises in favour of their mother (respondent). The respondent averred that in 2001, the appellant approached her with a request to shift to the third floor of the premises for a short time, but once permitted he never vacated the premises. Also, in 2006, the appellant instituted a suit claiming partition, declaration and permanent injunction in respect of the entire premises, though it was rejected for being barred by limitation. When the appellant still refused to vacate the suit premises, the respondent instituted a suit for eviction and possession against him. The trial court decided in her favour on the basis of admissions made by the appellant. The appellant challenged the aforesaid decision contending that there were no categorical admissions made by him. He also took the plea of adverse possession and contended that the suit was barred by limitation.

The Court noted that there were sufficient admissions on record for the trial court to have passed a judgment on admissions. The Court also observed that the mere fact that the appellant, being a family member, was permitted to occupy the third floor of the suit premises, cannot be treated as adverse to his mother. Moreover, even if it was assumed that the appellant was entitled to take the plea of adverse possession, the period of twelve years prescribed in the Limitation Act, would have expired in 2018. The Court, thus concluded, that the defences taken by the appellant were misconceived, and malafide. Resultantly, the appeal was dismissed with costs of Rs. 5,30,000 granted in favour of the respondent. [Harish Relan v. Kaushal Kumari Relan, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 6614, decided on January 19, 2017]

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