Bombay High Court: V.M. Deshpande, J. dismissed a criminal appeal and imposed costs of Rs 5000 on the appellant for filing the criminal complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and thereafter going dormant for years together.

The present was a matter wherein after filing a complaint under Section 138, the complainant became dormant in prosecuting the case and did not take any step further as were necessarily required under law. Even after directing the complainant to take necessary steps, he remained absent and therefore the trial judge dismissed his application for condonation of delay. The complainant filed the present appeal against the order of the trial judge.

The High Court said that the litigant cannot be dormant for years together; when a proceeding has filed a litigant before the court of law, it is his onerous duty to prosecute the same diligently. It was observed that since the present was a private complaint, it was complainant’s duty to serve the non-applicants. The Court said: “It appears from conduct of the applicant/complainant that it is his luxurious litigation. The Courts are experiencing filing of necessary litigations since there are some type of litigants who want to torment their ego.” It was further said: “This type of attitude on the part of the litigants has to be curbed though it is the right of citizens to approach to the court of law for redressal of their grievance if any,. At the same time, it is the duty of such citizens to prosecute the remedy availed of diligently and should not allow proceedings to remain in a dormant state for years together.”

During the course of hearing, the complainant could not offer any explanation as to why he could not any step to serve the non-applicants. In that view of the matter, the appeal was dismissed with costs of Rs 5000 to be deposited with the High Court Legal Service Sub-Committee at Nagpur. [Ramzan Khan v. Khadim Tours and travels, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 709, decided on 24-04-2019]

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