Justice Ravinath Tilahari observed that filing a writ petition on the same issue while another petition is in pending before the high court is nothing but abuse of court process.
He directed the registry to register criminal contempt case against the petitioner and place it before an appropriate bench for hearing after obtaining necessary orders from Chief Justice.
One P Ranga Rao from Visakhapatnam moved the high court with a writ petition seeking directions to declare inaction of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) officials on his representations submitted for removal of encroachments by private parties in undivided common area in a layout formed at Yendada.
However, Ranga Rao filed another petition earlier with same prayer on the same issue against the same respondents. The high court had on September 29 raised questions over maintainability of the petition. The high court passed an order allowing the petitioner to submit additional material papers on maintainability.
While that petition is in pending, Ranga Rao moved another petition which came up for hearing before Justice Ravinath. The standing counsel for GVMC told the high court that the petitioner had moved the same petition which is pending before another bench. Taking serious note of the issue, Justice Ravinath summoned the petitioner to appear before the court.
Ranga Rao appeared before the court next day and submitted that he gave documents to a local advocate to file a petition but he was not aware whether the petition was filed or not.
However, the advocate who appeared in the first matter told the high court that he filed the petition on the instructions of Ranga Rao. The counsel appeared in the second petition said that he was not informed about the earlier petition.
Considering the submissions on all sides, Justice Ravinath said that the petitioner’s submission that he was not aware of filing of first petition was only an afterthought and held that he tried to abuse the process of courts to obtain a favourable order.
He noted that the action of the petitioner amounts to criminal contempt and directed the registry to initiate proceedings against him. Justice Ravinath also imposed ₹1 lakh costs on the petitioner.