The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla and two others a week to pay Rs 20 lakh in costs for abusing the legal system in their petition contesting 5G wireless network technology.
The court is startled by the plaintiffs’ behaviour, Justice J R Midha stated, noting that Chawla and others were not even willing to deposit the fees gracefully.
The judge was hearing three petitions from the actor, including one for a refund of court fees, a waiver of expenses, and the replacement of the word “dismissed” in the judgement with “rejected.”
The court’s reply came when Chawla’s counsel, Senior Advocate Meet Malhotra, stated that after withdrawing the motion for relief of costs, expenses would be deposited within a week or ten days, or legal action would be initiated.
“On the one hand, you file a frivolous application, and on the other, you withdraw the application, and the plaintiffs are not even willing to deposit the fees gracefully,” the court stated.
The court remarked that it took a lenient stance by imposing costs of Rs 20 lakh on Chawla and others and without initiating contempt proceedings.
“I was taken aback… When a case was made out, this court took a lenient stance and did not issue a contempt order… I was completely persuaded. You claim that the court lacks the authority to impose costs, yet the court does have the authority to issue contempt orders “As it took great exception to the application, the court stated.
Malhotra reiterated that the position was not that the charges would not be paid, and that he did not even pursue the waiver application.
“It is unintentional… This is my directive for today as well, despite the fact that no one indicated they wouldn’t. I witnessed what occurred (in the judgement). I completely understand, “He stated. The court noted Malhotra’s declaration that he wanted a week to pay expenses and that legal action could be pursued.
Malhotra also withdrew his application for a refund of court fees. The court cost had already been paid, according to advocate Deepak Khosla, who was representing Chawla and others.
“In my judicial tenure, I’ve yet to see a person who is unwilling to pay court fees,” the judge noted as the motion was rejected as withdrawn. “Let bygones be bygones,” Malhotra pleaded with the judge.
The court directed that the third application for dismissal of the plaint be heard by Justice Sanjeev Narula following the payment of court expenses. Malhotra said that a plaint that “never progressed to the level of suit” could only be rejected or returned under the Civil Procedure Code, not dismissed.
A new hearing in the matter will be held on July 12.
In June, the high court dismissed Chawla’s and others’ complaint against the establishment of 5G wireless networks in the country and imposed a Rs 20 lakh fine. The court criticised the plea as “defective,” “abuse of legal process,” and “gaining publicity.”
According to Justice Midha, the plaint in which concerns about health risks associated with 5G technology were raised was “unmaintainable” and “packed with needless scandalous, frivolous, and vexatious averments” that are liable to be dismissed.
The court stated that the suit filed by the actress-environmentalist and others was filed to gain publicity, which was evident when Chawla circulated the video conferencing link of the hearing on her social media account, resulting in three disruptions by unknown miscreants who continued disruptions despite repeated warnings.
The suit asked the court to order the authorities to certify to the public that 5G technology is safe for humans, animals, and all other living organisms, flora, and fauna.
It stated that if the telecom industry’s 5G ambitions come to fulfilment, no person, animal, bird, insect, or plant on the planet will be able to avoid exposure to levels of RF radiation that are 10x to 100x more than what exists today, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.