A petition filed by a boarded out disabled personnel, Sukhjinder Singh, was allowed by a Single Bench of the Hon’ble High Court which directed the release of disability pension to him.
The Union of India, as expected, however filed a Letter Patents Appeal (LPA) before a Division Bench challenging the order of the Single Bench and also alleging on affidavit that the Invaliding Medical Board had declared the disability ‘neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service’. A copy of the board was however not produced before the Court.
The Division Bench asked the Union of India to produce before it a copy of the Medical Board which was done on the next date of hearing and which consequently left the Court aghast. The Medical Board had in fact clearly declared the disability as ‘aggravated by physical stress and strain of service’.
Clearly perturbed by the conduct, following are the excerpts of the order finally passed by the Hon’ble Court :
"...The aforesaid record now produced before us would show that on the first date of hearing while obtaining notice of motion, there was active concealment and even misrepresentation of facts from the Bench..."
"...Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and perusing the original record, we are amazed at the conduct of the appellant and its Officers. The instant appeal has been filed through the Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Defence, South Block, New Delhi; Chief of the Army Staff, Army Headquarters, New Delhi; the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pension) Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad(UP) and couple of other Officers. A perusal of ground No. 7 of the appeal shows that a false plea has been set out which is simply against the record. In para 13 of the original proceedings of the Medical Board, it has been categorically found that the disease of 'Manic Episode F 30' is aggravated by military service whereas the proceedings of the Medical Board have been misquoted in para 7 of the grounds of appeal to say that the Medical Board had opined that the disease Manic Episode F 30 is not aggravated by military service..."
"...It is well settled principle of law applicable to equitable jurisdiction that when the facts are actively concealed or there is a misrepresentation then the party seeking to hear the appeal becomes disentitled to it. Such a conduct has been repeatedly condemned by the Courts. In the case of a private citizen filing a writ petition, a Full Bench of this Court in Chiranji Lal and others v. Financial Commissioner, Haryana and others 1978 PLR 582 has held that when there has been a mala fide and calculated suppression of material facts which if disclosed would have disentitled such a party to the extraordinary remedy under the writ jurisdiction or in any case would have materially affected the merits on the interim as well as ultimate relief claimed then such a party by their own conduct would forfeit the right of relief which they seek to claim. When such a conduct is adopted by the Central Body and its Officers, as is evident from ground No.7 of the Memorandum of Appeal, it assumes further seriousness. The Public Authority always file pleadings after due verification of the record. However, in the present appeal all that has been completely forgotten. Therefore, the appeal is liable to be dismissed with heavy costs..."
"...There is another aspect of the matter because the instant appeal is an illustration of frivolous litigation initiated at the instance of Union of India and its Officers. The appellant-Union of India has framed the National Litigation Policy which has been reported as (2010) 6 SCC J-17. The aforesaid policy has been completely overlooked by the appellants..."
"...Accordingly we find that the appeal is frivolous and a misuse of the process of the Court. In view of the aforesaid, the appeal is dismissed with costs of Rs.50,000/-. The costs shall be paid to the writ petitioner-respondent by the Union of India but the same shall be recovered from the Officer or Officers, who pleaded a false ground after holding an enquiry and fixing the responsibility..."
Courtesy: Maj. Navdeep Singh.