HC imposes ₹10 lakh cost on man for misusing PIL

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday imposed an exemplary cost of ₹10 lakh on a fish supplying agent for misusing the provision of public interest litigation (PIL) against a fishmeal and oil manufacturing company due to his personal dispute with the company over a business deal.

A Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Mangadum, directed 41-year-old Prashanth Amin to pay ₹10 lakh to the Advocates Clerks’ Welfare Fund within 30 days while declining to reduce the amount of cost.

The Deputy Commissioner of Udupi has been directed to take steps to recover the cost from him if he fails to deposit within 30 days.

Mr. Amin filed the PIL in February this year complaining that M/s Raj Fishmeal and Oil Company, situated at Malpe in Udupi district, had allegedly violated environmental norms.

However, the 53-year-old company, belonging to former Minister Pramod Madhwaraj and his family, pointed out to the court that the petitioner had started as a sub-agent to supply fish to the company and later became an agent for regular supply of fish. It was also pointed out to the court that the company had made a total payment of ₹95.18 crore to Mr. Amin between 2013-2021 for purchasing fish from him.

The company informed the court it stopped purchasing fish from him last year after he started demanding additional amount despite payment of agreed sum, and the present petition was filed to settle a personal vengeance against the company.

The company also pointed out that the petitioner had made several threatening calls to the wife of Mr. Madhwaraj regarding payment of amount and the matter was reported to the police.

As Mr. Amin had suppressed from the court the dispute with the company, the Bench deprecated his conduct of misusing the process of law to settle score with the company while holding that his conduct deserves to be penalised with exemplary cost.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 1:39:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-imposes-10-lakh-cost-on-man-for-misusing-pil/article36579610.ece

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