Prosecute vexatious litigants compensate victims says SC

To discourage the increasing trend of companies and individuals filing criminal cases in civil disputes, the Supreme Court issued strict directions to subordinate courts to prosecute such “vexatious litigants” and order monetary compensation for victims of such “malicious prosecution”.

“While no one with a legitimate cause or grievance should be prevented from seeking remedies available in criminal law, a complainant who initiates or persists with a prosecution, being fully aware that the criminal proceedings are unwarranted and his remedy lies only in civil law, should himself be made accountable, at the end of such misconceived criminal proceedings, in accordance with law,” ordered a bench of justices JS Kehar and R Bhanumathi.

Quoting the provision from criminal law — which provides for courts to award compensation to a person falsely prosecuted — the bench said: “One positive step that can be taken by the courts, to curb unnecessary prosecutions and harassment of innocent parties, is to exercise their power under Section 250 CrPC more frequently, where they discern malice or frivolousness or ulterior motives on the part of the complainant.”

The ruling came as it quashed cheating and criminal breach of trust cases filed against two top officers of Hyderabad based-International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) by a private company called Nimra Cerglass Technics (P) Ltd.

The ARCI — a grants-in-aid research and development institute under the Union ministry of science and technology — carries out research work for the development of a number of scientific products to be used in various fields.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 5th Oct. 2015

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