SC imposes a cost of Rs. 25 lakhs on the complainant for unnecessarily turning a civil matter into a criminal case

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The Supreme Court (SC) of India imposes a fine of Rs. 25 lakhs on Karan Gambhir (respondent) for unnecessarily turning a civil matter into a criminal case. While hearing the  Dinesh Gupta vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh case, the bench observed “The core issue of the dispute, which involves financial transactions and agreements, clearly places it in the realm of civil and commercial law.” It added that the respondent, Karan Gambhir, chose to pursue criminal charges in a quest to abuse the criminal justice system with a motive to seek vengeance rather than true justice. The SC also said that this unnecessary turning of a civil matter into a criminal case not only overburdens the criminal justice system but also violates the principles of fairness and right conduct in legal matters. 

In this context, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Rajesh Bindal opined “Unscrupulous litigants should not be allowed to go scot-free. They should be put to strict terms and conditions including costs. It is time to check with firmness such litigation initiated and laced with concealment, falsehood, and forum hunting. Even State actions or conduct of government servants being party to such malicious litigation should be seriously reprimanded.” Further, the bench quashed the criminal case stating that such ill-intended acts of abuse of power and legal machinery seriously affect the public trust in judicial functioning.  

The top Court imposed the cost of Rs. 25 Lakhs on the complainant intending to curb others from such acts leading to abuse of judicial remedies and ordered to deposit the amount within four weeks from January 11, 2024, with the SC Registry. The bench further told to transmit the cost in equal amounts to the SCBA & SCAORA to be utilized for the development and benefit of their members.