The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla and two others a week’s time to pay their fine of Rs 20 lakh for their lawsuit in which they challenged 5G wireless network technology in India.
Stating that the trio’s lawsuit abused the due process of law, the court had earlier said that their lawsuit was filed with an intention to gain publicity.
In June, Chawla had filed a lawsuit against the setting up of 5G technology in the country and had sought a direction from the HC to the authorities to certify to the public at large how 5G technology is safe to humans, animals and every type of living organism, flora and fauna.
While dismissing the lawsuit, Justice J R Midha said the plaint in which questions have been raised about health hazards due to the 5G technology was "not maintainable" and was "stuffed with unnecessary scandalous, frivolous and vexatious averments" which are liable to be struck down.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Justice Midha observed that Chawla and others were “not even willing to gracefully deposit the costs”.
The judge was hearing three applications moved by the actor for refund of court fees, waiver of costs and replacing the word “dismissed” in the judgement with “rejected”.
The court's reaction came after Chawla's counsel, Senior Advocate Meet Malhotra's, after withdrawing the application for waiver of costs, said that costs would either be deposited in a week or ten days, or legal remedies against the same would be taken.
“On one hand you move frivolous application and on the other hand, you withdraw the application and plaintiffs are not even willing to gracefully deposit the costs,” the court said.
The court stated that it, in fact, took a lenient view when it imposed costs of Rs 20 lakh on Chawla and others and did not initiate contempt proceedings.
“I was shocked... This court took a lenient view and did not issue contempt when case was made out... I was totally inclined. You say court had no power to impose costs (but) court has the power to issue contempt,” the court said as it took strong exception to the application.
Malhotra clarified that the stand was not that the costs would not be paid, and did not even pressing the application for its waiver.
“It is unintended... Today also, this is my instruction that nobody said that they wouldn't. I saw what happened (in the judgement). I fully understand,” he said.
The court recorded Malhotra's statement that he sought a weeks' time to deposit costs and that recourse may be taken to avail legal remedies.
The application for refund of court fees was also withdrawn by Malhotra.
Advocate Deepak Khosla, appearing for Chawla and others, informed that the court fee had already been paid.
“I'm yet to see a person in my judicial career a person who is not willing to pay court fees,” the judge remarked as the application was dismissed as withdrawn.
“Let bygones be bygones,” Malhotra urged the court.
The court ordered that the third application seeking rejection of plaint would be placed before Justice Sanjeev Narula after the deposit of court fees.
Malhotra argued that plaint, which “never went up to the level of suit”, could only be rejected or returned in terms of the Civil Procedure Code, and not dismissed.
Further hearing in the case will take place on July 12.
(With PTI inputs)