HC imposes fine on lawyer for frivolous petition

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New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on a lawyer who had filed a frivolous suit against the Registrar General of the Supreme Court, the Delhi Police Commissioner and other government officers.

A lawyer, P V Ragunandan, who a self-proclaimed whistle blower, filed a suit against seven people, including the Police Comissioner, Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Registrar General of the Supreme Court, the MTNL Chairman, the Secretary to the Ministry of Telecommunication and the owner and an employee of a telephone booth (PCO) for overcharging a call made by him.

Ragunandan alleged that the employee, who was on duty at the booth situated at New Lawyers Chambers Block, opposite the Supreme Court had charged him Rs six for a call made by him.

An altercation broke out on the charge and the employee allegedly snatched a Rs 10 currency note from Ragunandan.

Ragunandan demanded the cancellation of the licence of the PCO booth, failing which, he filed a suit for damages of Rs 20 lakh from each of the seven respondents stating that the defendants, who are public servants, are under an obligation to terminate the licence of the booth operator on account of breach of conditions of the licence.

Senior Advocate A S Chandiok and other lawyers Ms Jyoti, Ms Zubeda Begum, Mr Gaurav Sarin, Ms Charu Sarin, Mr S D Singh and Mr Rahul Singh for the seven respondents told the court that the whole matter was probed and no substance was found in it.

It was a trivial argument between Raghunandan the employee, who was terminated later on by the owner, Vishal Gupta.

The PCO owner was warned by the authorities and was asked to be careful in the future and the matter was resolved. However, the lawyer was not satisfied and filed a complaint in the lower court.

Police, after investigation, filed a closure report in the court, which was accepted by the metropolitan magistrate concerned.

Aggrieved by the metropolitan magistrate's order, the lawyer filed a suit for damages in the Delhi High court.

Justice S N Aggarwal observed that the suit was not maintainable as it was filed after three years of the incident, whereas the limit to file such cases was only one year.

The court observed that Ragunandan had made a mountain out of a molehill by blowing it out of proportion.

Ragunandan cannot be called a whistle blower but a blackmailer as he dragged higher authorities just to sensationalise the issue, the judge said.

UNI SNG SR HS2100

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