Courts can't be used to persecute innocents: SC

“Chagrined and frustrated litigants should not be permitted to give vent to their frustrations by cheaply invoking the jurisdiction of the court. The court proceedings ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment and persecution,” a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said in a judgment.

The apex court passed the judgment while upholding an appeal filed by Meghamala and her family challenging an Andhra Pradesh High Court judgment for a review of the ownership claim of a disputed piece of land.

In this case, a special court constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act,1982, had in 1997 held that the land belonged to Meghamala and directed eviction of Narasimha Reddy and certain others whom it had held were land grabbers.

The HC had in 2001 upheld the findings of the special court and the Supreme Court in the same year refused to entertain the appeal but allowed Reddy to move a review petition.
Reddy then filed a fresh review petition alleging that Meghamala and the others had obtained the earlier judgment in their favour by misrepresenting facts.The HC through a judgment on April 26, 2007, directed the special court to re-examine the issue. Meghamala filed the appeal in the apex court.

Upholding the appeal, the apex court said all the earlier courts’ proceedings reveal that after proper adjudication the declaration had been made that the land belonged to the appellants (Meghamala) and respondents (Reddy) were merely land grabbers.

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