calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: A Division bench comprising of Harish Tandon and Prasenjit Biswas, JJ., while emphasizing that allegations of fraud should be made with clarity and precision, dismissed the appellant’s application for recall of Order based on alleged fraud played on the Court. The Court further discouraged the misuse of the legal process and imposed costs of Rs. 5,00,000/- on the applicants for filing a frivolous application.

Factual Matrix

In the instant matter, the applicants being aggrieved by rejection of contempt application, on the grounds that they lacked the right to initiate such a proceeding, filed an application seeking the recall of a previous order/judgment dated 13-03-2023. The applicants alleged that the respondents had committed fraud upon the Court. The applicants claimed that a resolution plan recognized the alleged contemnor 34 as the rightful owner of a pipeline, and that such recognition was an act of fraud.

Court’s Observation

While highlighting the difference between recall and review of an order/judgment, the Court observed that a review is entertained based on specific parameters under Order 47 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC) while a recall is decided within a limited sphere and should not be used to re-examine or the facts of the case dealt with in the original judgment.

“Neither the review jurisdiction nor an application for recall should be permitted for re-visitation, re-writing and/or re-appreciation of the facts as its applicability is within the limited contour envisaged under the law.”

The court emphasized that allegations of fraud should not be used as a pretext to reopen the entire case. The Court acknowledged that fraud is a serious matter and can be raised in a collateral proceeding and stressed that the mere use of the word “fraud” is insufficient, plea of fraud should be properly substantiated with precise particulars, as required under Order 6 Rule 4 of CPC.

The Court observed that the live streaming of court proceedings, intended to bring transparency but the same is being misused by the applicants by recording interactions to support frivolous claims or manipulate the outcome of the case and attempting to indirectly achieve what they could not achieve directly through a contempt application.

The Court emphasized that a judgment should be read as a whole and not in isolation. The applicants’ attempt to isolate a single sentence to claim fraud was not justified.

Court’s Verdict

The Court held that the applicants failed to demonstrate any element of fraud and dismissed their application for recall. The Court imposed costs of Rs. 5,00,000/-on the applicants for filing a frivolous application and abusing the judicial process and directed them to deposit the amount with the State Legal Services Authority, to be used for the benefit of juveniles.

The Court also rejected an alternative prayer seeking suo motu action based on the Supreme Court’s duty to correct records. The Court found that it was intricately related to the substantive prayer, which had already been addressed and rejected.

[Odisha Slurry Pipeline Infrastructure Ltd. v. Rakesh Sharma, CAN 10 of 2023, order dated -06-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Deepak Khosla, for the Applicants;

Mr. Joy Saha, Mr. Siddhant Kant, Mr. Parth Gokhale, Ms. Trisha Mukherjee, Ms. Moulshree Shukla, Mr. Chetan Kumar Kabra, for the alleged contemnor nos. 1-11, 15,16, 18, 20 & 21;

Mr. Joydip Kar, Mr. Abhishek Swaroop, Mr. Arkaprava Sen, Mr. Naman Kangdar, for the alleged contemnor no. 34;

Mr. Jishnu Saha, Mr. Amitabh Shukla, Ms. Rubi Singh Ahuja, Mr. Ashutosh P. Shukla, for the alleged contemnor no. 45;

Mr. Sudipto Sarkar, Mr. Dwaipayan B. Mallick, for the alleged contemnor nos. 50 to 53 & for the petitioners in CAN 6 of 2023;

Mr. Sujoy Sur, Ms. Ashika Daga, Mr. Deepti Priya, for the alleged contemnor nos. 79, 81 to 93;

Mr. S. N. Mitra, Mr. Sankarsan Sarkar, Mr. Aditya Kanodia, Mr. Tanmoy Seth, for the applicants in CAN 12 of 2023;

Ms. Sreemoyee Mitra, for the Canara Bank;

Mr. Rishav Banerjee, Mr. Zeeshan Haque, Ms. Anjana Banerjee, for the Intervener (SMAIT);

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