Corporate entities should be responsible litigants and must ensure there is no frivolous litigation, Delhi High Court has said while slapping cost of Rs 50,000 on Jet Airways for continuing with a case despite being held guilty of losing the goods of a company.
The order came in a case between Jet Airways and a private pharma firm whose consignment of drugs from Bangladesh was lost by the airline's agent, Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Justice Valmiki J Mehta said that in the present case, the frivolousness was evident from the fact that the Indian carrier did not lead any evidence before the trial court regarding the value of goods lost or on the aspect of alleged negligence or wilful misconduct by it, leading to the loss.
"... Notable corporations such as Jet Airways, and which is the appellant in this second appeal, must not only be responsible litigants but in fact must ensure that there is no frivolous litigation especially when as a carrier of goods, the goods are lost by the appellant through its agent carrier to whom the goods were handed over," the high court said.
It also said that in spite of the "stark facts" that the goods of the pharma firm, Dhanuka Laboratories Ltd, "have indeed been lost by the appellant", it led no evidence and also "chose to continue with the frivolous litigation, in spite of the fact that both the courts below have concurrently held against it".
Jet Airways had moved the high court against a lower court decision awarding Rs 2,57,062 with 12 per cent interest to the pharma firm, saying that under the Carriage by Air Act, 1972 its liability was limited to a particular amount stated in the provisions.
The high court, however, disagreed with this defence of the airline, saying limited liability cannot be claimed by airlines in cases of wilful misconduct.
The high court observed that in the instant case, the pharma firm had shown evidence that there was wilful misconduct leading to loss of its goods, whereas Jet Airways led no evidence in its defence.