08 August 2020

If a litigant does not come to the Court with clean hands, he is neither entitled to be heard nor entitled to any relief from any judicial forum

The Supreme Court in the case of 'Bhaskar Laxman Jadhav and others vs. Karamveer Kakasaheb Wagh Education Society and others', reported as (2013) 11 Supreme Court Cases 531 held that it is the duty of the litigant to disclose all material facts and a litigant cannot decide which facts are material and which are not. He must come to court with clean hands and disclose all material facts relating to his case. The Supreme court further held as under:-
"Suppression of fact
42. While dealing with the conduct of the parties, we may also notice the submission of the learned counsel for Respondent 1 to the effect that the petitioners are guilty of suppression of a material fact from this Court, namely, the rejection on 2-5-2003 of the first application for extension of time filed by the trustees and the finality attached to it. These facts have not been clearly disclosed to this Court by the petitioners. It was submitted that in view of the suppression, special leave to appeal should not be granted to the petitioners. 
43. Learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that no material facts have been withheld from this Court. It was submitted that while the order dated 2-5-2003 was undoubtedly not filed, its existence was not material in view of subsequent developments that had taken place. We cannot agree. 
44. It is not for a litigant to decide what fact is material for adjudicating a case and what is not material. It is the obligation of a litigant to disclose all the facts of a case and leave the decision-making to the court. True, there is a mention of the order dated 2-5-2003 in the order dated 24-7-2006 passed by the JCC, but that is not enough disclosure. The petitioners have not clearly disclosed the facts and circumstances in which the order dated 2-5-2003 was passed or that it has attained finality. 
45. We may only refer to two cases on this subject. In Hari Narain v. Badri Das, AIR 1963 SC 1558 stress was laid on litigants eschewing inaccurate, untrue or misleading statements, otherwise leave granted to an appellant may be revoked. It was observed as follows: (AIR p.1560, para 9) "9. .......It is of utmost importance that in making material statements and setting forth grounds in applications for special leave care must be taken not to make any statements which are inaccurate, untrue or misleading. In dealing with applications for special leave, the Court naturally takes statements of fact and grounds of fact contained in the petitions at their face value and it would be unfair to betray the confidence of the Court by making statements which are untrue and misleading. That is why we have come to the conclusion that in the present case, special leave granted to the appellant ought to be revoked. Accordingly, special leave is revoked and the appeal is dismissed. The appellant will pay the costs of the respondent." 
If a litigant does not come to the Court with clean hands, he is neither entitled to be heard nor entitled to any relief from any judicial forum
46. More recently, in Ramjas Foundation v. Union of India, (2010) 14 SCC 38 the case law on the subject was discussed. It was held that if a litigant does not come to the Court with clean hands, he is not entitled to be heard and indeed, such a person is not entitled to any relief from any judicial forum. It was said: (SCC p.51, para 21) "21. The principle that a person who does not come to the court with clean hands is not entitled to be heard on the merits of his grievance and, in any case, such person is not entitled to any relief is applicable not only to the petitions filed under Articles 32, 226 and 136 of the Constitution but also to the cases instituted in others courts and judicial forums. The object underlying the principle is that every court is not only entitled but is duty-bound to protect itself from unscrupulous litigants who do not have any respect for truth and who try to pollute the stream of justice by resorting to falsehood or by making misstatement or by suppressing facts which have a bearing on adjudication of the issue(s) arising in the case."
47. A mere reference to the order dated 2-5-2003, en passant, in the order dated 24-7-2006 does not serve the requirement of disclosure. It is not for the court to look into every word of the pleadings, documents and annexures to fish out a fact. It is for the litigant to come upfront and clean with all material facts and then, on the basis of the submissions made by learned counsel, leave it to the court to determine whether or not a particular fact is relevant for arriving at a decision. Unfortunately, the petitioners have not done this and must suffer the consequence thereof."[Para No.60]

Allahabad High Court

M/S Godwin Construction Pvt. Ltd.
State Of U.P.

Decided on 07/08/2020

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