Non – Disclosure of Past & Present Litigation Concerning Dispute Amounts to Suppression of Material Facts: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 10 Dec 2021 11:00am

Non – Disclosure of Past & Present Litigation Concerning Dispute Amounts to Suppression of Material Facts: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has ruled that failing to disclose the details of past & pending litigation involving the subject matter of the dispute amounts to material suppression of facts, which disentitles a litigant to discretionary remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution. The court also emphasized that when petitioning the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner must come with clean hands and presents all facts before the Court without concealing or suppressing anything.

While observing that the High Court’s Authority under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution is unusual, equitable, and discretionary, a Bench comprised of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari remarked that a litigant is required to present all facts pertinent to the dispute.

The bench has remarked that if a litigant withholds critical or significant information in order to gain an advantage over the other party, the litigant would be guilty of defrauding both the Court and the opposing parties, which cannot be tolerated. In this case, the appellants failed to disclose the filing of a suit and its rejection, as well as the High Court’s dismissal of an appeal against the civil court’s verdict.

Taking all this into account, the Bench determined that the appellants were unsuitable due to the withholding of important information. “They did not come to court with clean hands, and they also misused the legal system. As a result, they are not eligible for extraordinary, equitable or discretionary relief.” The bench stated. The bench also stated that it is obvious that the appellants have suppressed these substantial facts that crucial to deciding the writ petitions’ matter.

The bench held that the parties must disclose the details of all legal processes and litigations, both past and present, involving any aspect of the subject matter of the dispute that they are aware of for the following reasons:

·       To prevent the multiplicity of proceedings pertaining to the same subject matter.

·       To put an end to the threat of eliciting conflicting orders through several court venues by obscuring material facts either by remaining silent or by making misleading statements in pleadings in order to avoid liability for making a false statement.

“…in order to check multiplicity of proceedings pertaining to the same subject matter and more importantly to stop the menace of soliciting inconsistent orders through different judicial forums by suppressing material facts either by remaining silent or by making misleading statements in pleadings in order to escape the liability of making a false statement, we are of the view that the parties have to disclose the details of all legal proceedings and litigations either past or present concerning any part of the subject – matter of the dispute which is within their knowledge.”

According to the Court, in circumstances where the parties to the dispute claim that no legal proceedings or court litigations were or are underway, this must be indicated in their pleadings.

The observations were expressed by the bench in appeals filed contesting the Karnataka High Court’s 2013 order in a review petition filed by the appellants under the liberty granted by this Supreme Court. However, the High Court declined to reconsider its earlier decision. The appellants in this case are the sons of one M. Krishna Reddy, and they filed writ petitions in the High Court of Karnataka seeking cancellation of allotment at two sites allotted to two respondents, as well as certain other reliefs. The Bangalore Development Authority issued a notice of acquisition for the land in question, a portion of which was owned by the appellant’s father. The Bangalore Development Authority had issued a notification for acquisition in respect of the entire 5 acres 9 guntas, and ownership of the land had been taken.

The appellant contend that their father, as the owner of 1 acre 26 guntas of land and 08 guntas of land, was not acquired and no compensation was made in respect of this land. According to the records submitted by BDA, 08 guntas of land are Kharab – B land, according to the apex Court. As a result, there is no need for compensation in relation to this land.

The appellant who sought increased compensation for 1 acre 18 guntas of land, which they raised after a highly lapsed stage of 34 years. The bench noted that the appellants presented identical arguments in their claim, which was dismissed, and the High Court upheld the civil court’s decision.

The High Court did emphasize however, that the papers on record plainly indicated that the BDA had purchased the entire amount of land for public purposes and the compensation had been paid. Furthermore, it was undisputed that the plaintiff’s father had taken part in the BDA’s acquisition processes. As a result, after acquiring the entire area of land, the High Court found it difficult to accept the appellant’s position.

The bench observed that the High Court’s decision has reached finality, and the writ court cannot hear an appeal over the High Court’s decision in the appeal.

Tagged: Supreme Court   Article 226   Indian Constitution   High Court   legal system  
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