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Indian Case Summary

Dr. D.C. Saxena vs Hon’Ble The Chief Justice Of India on 19 July, 1997 – Case Summary

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In the case of Dr. D.C. Saxena vs Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India on 19 July 1997, a significant clash of constitutional interests was observed. This case was a test of the balance between the freedom of speech and expression, a fundamental right in a liberal democratic society, and the paramount duty to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.

Facts of the Case

The petitioner, Dr. D.C. Saxena, initiated a public interest litigation under Article 32 of the Constitution against Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao, the President of the Indian National Congress and former Prime Minister of India. The petitioner sought to direct Rao to pay a sum of Rs. 8.29 lakhs, alleged to be due to the Union of India for the use of Indian Air Force aircraft or helicopters from October 1, 1993, to November 30, 1993.

When the writ petition was posted for hearing before the learned Chief Justice of India and Justice S.C. Sen, the Solicitor General for India, Shri Dipankar P. Gupta, was called upon to verify the averments. After verification and hearing the petitioner-in-person, the Bench summarily dismissed the writ petition. This dismissal led the petitioner to file another writ petition, this time against the learned Chief Justice of India, Justice A.M. Ahmadi.

Issues Raised

The petitioner raised several issues in his second writ petition, including:

  1. A declaration that Justice A.M. Ahmadi was unfit to hold the office of Chief Justice of India.
  2. A demand to strip Justice A.M. Ahmadi of his citizenship.
  3. A direction to register an FIR against Justice A.M. Ahmadi under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code for committing forgery and fraud and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  4. A direction to Justice A.M. Ahmadi to defray from his personal pocket the expenses incurred by the petitioner in filing the two writ petitions.
  5. A direction to Justice A.M. Ahmadi to reimburse the public exchequer for the entire loss caused to the State due to non-payment of dues by Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao, with interest at 18% per annum.

Court’s Observations

The Court observed that the averments made by the petitioner were scandalous. The Court noted that the petitioner, who was a professor in a University, had chosen to draft and file such a writ petition. The allegations were deemed reckless and disclosed irresponsibility on the part of the petitioner. The writ petition was considered wholly misconceived and an abuse of the process of the Court.

The Court also observed that the petitioner persisted in his stand and reiterated that he stood by the scandalous averments made therein. As a result, the Court issued a notice to the petitioner to show cause why proceedings to punish him for contempt of this Court should not be initiated against him.

The Court further noted that the petitioner had written in a newspaper criticizing Justice J.S. Verma, leading to Justice Verma recusing himself from the Bench. The matter was then posted before a different Bench.

Conclusion

The case of Dr. D.C. Saxena vs Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India on 19 July 1997 is a landmark case that highlights the delicate balance between the freedom of speech and the duty to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice. The case also underscores the importance of responsible conduct when engaging in public interest litigation.