Vasant Nature Cure Hospital & Pratibha Maternity Hospital Trust & Ors. V. Ukaji Ramaji-Since Deceased Through His Legal Heirs & Anr.
Date of Order:
Honorable Justice Bela M. Trivedi
Honorable Justice Dipankar Datta
PETITIONER: Vasant Nature Cure Hospital & Pratibha Maternity Hospital Trust & Ors.
RESPONDENT: Ukaji Ramaji-Since Deceased Through His Legal Heirs & Anr.
The Supreme Court found fault with the repeated and vexatious attempts by the respondents (legal heirs of Ukaji Ramaji) to seek restoration of earlier applications and judgments without proper prosecution, thereby misusing the legal process.
- The appellants run a natural therapy center in the name and style of ‘Vasant Nature Care Hospital’ and ‘Pratibha Maternity Hospital Trust’. The Respondent – Ukaji Ramaji (since deceased, through his legal representatives) was employed as a watchman by the Appellant trust to take care of the said hospitals.
- He was granted a room to live in in exchange for performing his watchman duties. The appellant trust had terminated the said Ukaji Ramaji's employment on June 25, 1979, after he began engaging in illicit activities. The aforementioned Ukaji filed a Regular Civil Action against the appellant-trust, seeking a declaration that the courthouse was his property.
- Additionally, he requested a long-term injunction to prevent the appellants from interfering with his possession of the trial site. The trial court decided to dismiss the aforementioned lawsuit.
- Before the Extra Assistant Judge, Ahmedabad (Rural), Ukaji filed Regular Civil Appeal No. 67 of 1988. The judgment and order dated 31.03.1997, in which it was determined that the said Ukaji owned an irrevocable license over the suit property and that such license could only be cancelled after giving a month's notice, allowed the Appellate Court to grant the said appeal. Before the Gujarat High Court, the aggrieved appellants chose to file Second Appeal No. 84 of 1997. According to the decision and order of October 11, 2012, the High Court decided to grant the aforementioned Second Appeal. The legal heirs of the aforementioned Ukaji had filed an SLP, before the Supreme while the Second Appeal was proceeding.
- In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the respondents continued to file Miscellaneous Civil Applications one after the other. Because there were no prosecutions, all of these applications were denied.
The issue raised is whether the High Court was justified in permitting MCA of 2019?
- The court determined that it was evident that the respondents had chosen the MCA in the Second Appeal, seeking review of the said judgment, even though the Court had not specifically granted any permission to file any application seeking review of the judgment and decree after a period of more than three years.
- It also held that the High Court granted the aforementioned application, known as MCA of 2019, without giving any explanation whatsoever and in a very casual manner. No litigant should be allowed to behave in such a sluggish and apathetic manner, much less be allowed to abuse the legal system as the respondents have attempted to do. When the High Court accepted such vexatious applications and did so without giving them any consideration, it erred gravely.
- The impugned judgement, to the degree that it permitted MCA, is reversed, but the respondents must pay the cost of Rs. 15,000 as instructed by the High Court.
- The Supreme Court's conclusion underscores the importance of litigants adhering to proper legal procedures and not abusing the process of law. It also emphasizes the consequences of repeatedly attempting to restore cases without genuine grounds or proper prosecution.