Madhya Pradesh passes bill forbidding ‘vexatious’ litigation

Bhopal: The state Assembly today passed the Madhya Pradesh Vexatious Litigation (Prevention) Bill, 2015, which forbids people from petitioning lower courts and the High Court on “unreasonable” grounds.

Amidst a din, state Law and Legislative Minister Kusum Mehdele tabled the bill which was passed by the House through a voice vote, without any debate.

The bill empowers the state advocate general to challenge any “frivolous or mischievous” petition and get it dismissed in a court.

The bill permits the advocate general to file a plea in the High Court to declare a person “a vexatious litigant” and prevent him from filing any civil or criminal petition without the court’s prior permission.

It forbids any appeal against such an order in the state but gives liberty to the litigant to move the Supreme Court.

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approved the bill in March in the wake of suggestions of the Madhya Pradesh High Court Registrar General in August 2014 with an intention to reduce worthless litigation and burden on courts.

Earlier, the state government had reportedly decided to table this bill on March 24 but dropped it at the last moment due to outcry by some NGOs.

Transparency International board member and renowned RTI activist Ajay Dubey termed the bill as “draconian” and said he would challenge it in the Supreme Court.

He said the Bill has been passed at a time, when scams like Vyapam and DMAT in MP were making international news because of public interest litigations.

He said the state government is trying to curb the voice of people.