Supreme Court Suggests a Unique Method to End Frivolous Litigation

In its ruling, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) stated that imposing costs or fines on frivolous, vexatious, and speculative litigation will help to relieve the burden on the courts and improve the efficiency of the justice system.

A three-member bench led by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah noted that such cases contribute to the significant backlog of cases, delaying the resolution of genuine disputes.

The court noted that one of the options to curb the practice of lodging frivolous and vexatious cases is by imposing costs under Order 28 Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980.

The court stated that the imposition of costs in frivolous and vexatious cases meets the requirement of a fair trial under Article 10A of the Constitution as it not only discourages frivolous claims or defenses brought to the court but also allows more time for the adjudication of genuine claims.

The court also encourages litigants to adopt alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes and arrive at a settlement rather than rushing to the courts.

The court noted that the power conferred by Section 476, CrPC on a civil, revenue, or criminal court to take cognizance of certain offenses committed to, or in relation to, any proceedings before it, is discretionary.

The court also noted that discretion is exercised judiciously, not arbitrarily, while taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case. The court emphasized that discretion must always be exercised in the interests of justice.