Madras High Court
Madras High Court
Litigation News

Rs 20,000 costs imposed on lawyer who approached Madras HC seeking mobile app, website for liquor sale before allowing retail sale

Last week, the Court passed orders to close TASMAC stores on a batch of pleas including a PIL moved by him.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court on Wednesday imposed Rs 20,000 as costs on an advocate seeking directions for the development of a mobile app and a website for liquor sale before opening of liquor shops for retail sale amid the COVID-19 lockdown. (B Ramkumar Adityan v. Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu and ors)

The petitioner, Advocate B Ramkumar Adityan, was one of the petitioners on whose pleas the Madras High Court on Friday ordered the closure of all TASMAC liquor vending outlets in the state. This was prompted after the Bench came to know of large scale violations of safety norms to guard against COVID-19, when the shops were opened on Thursday.

When Adityan's plea for virtual liquor sale platforms came up before the Court, it was recalled by the Bench that, "he (petitioner) has filed a series of Public Interest Litigation petitions, with regard to the sale of liquor by the State, which is essentially a policy matter of the State."

The Court went on to opine that Adityan's plea was unnecessary, given that the Court has already dealt with the matter in detail, and that as such, "we do not find any reason for the petitioner to keep on filing fresh public interest litigations for the same cause."

The Bench of Justices Dr Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Sathyanarayana went on to record,

"... filing of such frivolous petitions are nothing but wasting the time of the court rather than serving a real cause of public relating to TASMAC liquor sale."
Madras High Court

The state counsel also apprised the Court that "the petitioner is in the habit of filing such frivolous public interest litigation petitions", and that on occasion, the High Court had imposed Rs 10,000 as costs on him to dissuade him from filing such PILs.

In view of this submission, the Court proceeded to impose Rs 20,000 as costs this time on Adityan, adding that the amount should be paid to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund within a week's time. The order states,

"... in order to effectively dissuade the petitioner from filing such kind of petitions unnecessarily, we are constrained to impose a cost of Rs.20,000/- on the petitioner, which we direct him to deposit in the Chief Minister Public Relief Fund, within a period of one week from today."

Before parting with the matter, the Court added,

"We expect the petitioner to observe a sense of professionalism while espousing the public cause in the public interest litigation petitions, in future."
Madras High Court

Read the Order:

B Ramkumar Adityan v. Chief Secretary, TN and ors.pdf
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