The Supreme Court on Monday severely reprimanded an advocate for his “contemptous conduct” and regularly filing “hopeless and frivolous” petitions under the garb of PIL and imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 for raking up the issue of the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice R M Lodha and justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, first imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on advocate Manohar Lal Sharma for filing the PIL in which he complained that the Centre and the Prime Minister’s Office were not disclosing information under the RTI Act on various aspects related to Bose.
The bench reduced the cost to Rs 50,000 after the advocate expressed his inability to meet the amount. In the order, the bench maintained that “this (PIL on Bose) is such a hopeless and frivolous litigation that it not only needs to be dismissed but has to be dismissed with exemplary cost as it is a waste of the court’s time to go into it.”
When, the advocate objected to exemplary cost by terming it as an “unfair order”, the bench came down heavy on him by reminding him of his earlier “hopeless and frivolous” PILs in which he was slapped with costs.
Further, the bench expressed its anguish that he appeared in the ‘petitioner-in-person’ matter by violating the apex court rule which prohibits lawyers from adorning gown and band, which in itself was a “contemptous conduct”.
The bench said it would not hesitate to refer his conduct to the Bar Council of India for taking disciplinary action.