Bombay high court Justice Gautam Patel has awarded a “reasonable” Rs 184 in costs on a petitioner because the date was 18 April (18.4) on the day of the order, after he was unconvinced by a lawyer’s counterarguments against a permission to refile a case.
In this order, which was first tweeted by Advocate Vijay Singh, Patel sardonically awarded Rs 184 in costs to the respondents, after the petitioner KS Chamankar Enterprises (represented by Cyrus Ardeshir, instructed by Veritas Legal partner Rahul Dwarkadas and J Diwan) was seeking to withdraw an arbitration petition and file a fresh, amended petition, following the discovery of new evidence after an action by the enforcement directorate has left his client’s records in “considerable disarray”.
But to Patel’s “very great surprise”, the respondent Prime Builders (represented by Ankit Lohia, instructed by Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co partner Sanaya Dadachanji and Komal Khushalani), “most vigorously opposed” that the petitioner should be able to refile, arguing that no ground existed under the Code of Civil Procedure’s Order 23 Rule 1(3)(a) or (b).
Patel, however, found that the submissions were “misconceived” and that the petition was withdrawn by Ardeshir for a “correct” reason, which was not causing any prejudice to the respondents.
However, apparently Lohia asked for the petitioner to pay for the legal costs spent so far in fighting a case, which was after all withdrawn by the petitioner.
Patel was not altogether impressed. Albeit agreeing to make an order for the petitioner to pay costs, Patel took “due regard to the merits of the opposition” by the respondent (i.e., the “misconceived” counter-arguments by Lohia, the lack of any prejudice against the respondent, and the possible non-applicability of Order 23 to the present case).
He therefore awarded only a symbolic Rs 184 in costs, “payable by account payee cheque only” within six months. Almost as a cheeky afterthought, Patel added that such amount was “subject to deduction of tax at source, at applicable”.