Thiruvananthapuram: The state Law Reforms Commission (LRC) has prepared draft legislation for curbing vexatious petitions that provide for declaring a person as a vexatious litigant and imposing restrictions.
The state government is vetting the draft of The Kerala Vexatious Litigation (Prevention) Bill 2018. Since there were repeated observations from the High Court on the need for a law to curb vexatious petitions, the government may take steps to enact it at the earliest, government sources said.
Though legislation in this regard was drafted in 1994, it was not pursued further.
The LRC chaired by Justice K. T. Thomas drafted the legislation considering similar laws in Tamilnadu and Maharashtra and submitted to the government recently. The proposed legislation is of civil nature and did not have any penal provisions.
If adopted, the High Court can declare a person habitually and without any reasonable ground instituted civil or criminal proceedings in any court against same or different persons as a vexatious litigant. A bench of not less than two judges should hear the case. The litigant should be given an opportunity to be heard before declaring him as vexatious.
He would then be able to file any fresh petitions only with the nod of the High Court. Applications to declare a person vexatious litigant should come from the victim.
The advocate general and High Court registrar general can file applications to declare a person vexatious litigant. The HC can also suo motto initiate the proceedings against such a litigant.
The LRC comprised former district judge K Sasidharan Nair as vice-chairman, National University of Advanced Legal Studied former vice-chancellor Dr N. K. Jayakumar and former district judges Lizamma Augustine and K. George Oommen as members.
The need for a law to curb vexatious petitions was highlighted by the High Court itself on several occasions, even in an order issued last week disposing of a case pertained to promoting IPS officer Shanker Reddy to DGP rank by the previous UDF government.
A series of petitions filed by habitual litigant Paichira Nawaz against IAS and IPS officers while Jacob Thomas was the vigilance director in 2016 had also raised many an eyebrow.
A local CPM leader A. J. Sukarno who filed a series of petitions against former state police chief T. P. Senkumar was fined Rs 25,000 by the Supreme Court.
In 1948, a Madras Vexatious Litigation (Prevention) Act came into force. But it is now applicable only in the Malabar area of the state....