S. Manikumar, C.J.
1. Instant writ appeal is filed against judgment dated 17.06.2020 in W.P.(C) No.10542 of 2020 by which, a learned single Judge of this Court disposed of the writ petition as under:
8. I have considered the contentions advanced. Section 144 Cr.P.C specifically states that no order under the section shall remain in force for more than two months from the making thereof. However, the proviso to sub-section 4 of Section 144 Cr.P.C states that if the State Government considers it necessary so to do for preventing danger to human life, health or safety or for preventing a riot or an affray, it may, by notification, direct that an order made by the Magistrate under that Section shall remain in force for such further period not exceeding six months from the date on which the order made by the Magistrate would have expired. Subsection (6) of Section 144 Cr.P.C states that the State Government may, either on its motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made by it under the proviso to sub-section (4). Subsection (7) of Section 144 states that where an application made under subsection (5), or sub-section (6) is received, the Magistrate, or the State Government, as the case may be, shall afford to the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before him or it, either in person or by pleader and showing cause against the order, and if the Magistrate or the State Government, as the case may be, rejects the application wholly or in part, he or it shall record in writing the reasons for so doing.
9. It is, therefore, clear that even in a case where the period of operation of the order is extended by the State Government as is done in the present case, the petitioners, if aggrieved by the same, have the remedy of approaching the State Government with an application for rescinding the same. The petitioners are entitled to a notice and hearing and the State Government is duty bound to pass a reasoned order..
10. In the instant case, I notice that Exhibit P1 order itself refers to violent protest by the residents of the locality. It also states that the petition before the National Green Tribunal seeking cancellation of environment clearance of the project had been dismissed and the order had been affirmed by the Apex Court as well. It is stated that it was in view of the violent protests which occurred in the locality that an order under Section 144 Cr.P.C had to be issued. Exhibit P1 is a speaking order. Exhibit P2 is only an order passed under the proviso to Section 144(4) Cr.P.C. It refers to Exhibit P1 and a report dated 18.1.2020 of the District Collector, Ernakulam. The decision to extend the prohibitory orders has apparently been taken considering the report of the District Magistrate. In view of the fact that the petitioners have the efficacious remedy of approaching the Government, pointing out their grievances against Exhibit P2, I am of the opinion that it would not be justifiable for this Court to consider the legality or otherwise of Exhibit P2 order in a writ petition at this stage. The contentions raised by the petitioner with regard to the difficulties faced by them by the extension of the prohibitory orders as well as the violation of their rights are matters which can be raised appropriately by the petitioners before the Government as provided under the statute itself.
11. In the above view of the matter, I am not inclined to entertain the writ petition. The petitioners are free to take up the matter before the Government by filing an application as provided under sub-section 6 of Section 144 Cr.P.C. If they do so, the Government shall consider their representations and pass a speaking order after hearing the petitioners or their representatives by any convenient means, including video conferencing.”
2. Short facts leading to the appeal are as follows:-
Appellants/writ petitioners are fishermen by occupation. They reside at Puthuvype, which forms part of Vypeen Island, a Ramsar site connected to Vembanad backwaters in Kochi taluk, Ernakulam district. While they are out for fishing, they have to work in groups, meaning that, team work is imperative for deep sea fishing. A majority of the population at Puthuvype, including the appellants, have no other option for livelihood.
An LPG terminal was proposed by the 3rd respondent - Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., in Puthuvypu, which led to widespread protest from the residents of the locality. They have contended that the terminal poses a real and imminent treat to the lives of the persons residing nearby, which is a thickly populated area.
Appellants as well as the whole population of Puthuvype, are aggrieved by the issuance and extension of a prohibition order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, prohibiting protest demonstrations, meetings, assembling and the conduct of any public functions. The order under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. was issued first by the 2nd respondent -District Collector-District Magistrate, Kakkanad, Ernakulam, on 15.12.2019, for a period of two months. This was followed by another order dated 10.02.2020 issued by respondent No.1- State of Kerala, represented by Secretary, Government of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, extending the prohibition for a further period of six months. Thus, Exhibit-P2 order extends the prohibition upto 15.08.2020.
Appellants have contended that Exhibit-P1 order and the extension of the same by Exhibit-P2 order, under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, are illegal and issued in violation of their fundamental rights as well as the whole of the population, numbering about 65,000, residing in the locality covered by those orders. Being aggrieved, appellants filed W.P.(C) No.10542 of 2020, seeking to call for the records leading to Exhibits-P1 and P2 orders dated 15.12.2019 and 10.02.2020 respectively, and to issue a writ of certiorari or any other writ, order or direction, in the nature of certiorari, to quash Exhibit-P2.
Writ court, after considering the submissions advanced and perusing the materials on record, by judgment dated 17.06.2020, disposed of W.P.(C) No.10542/2020, holding that appellants/writ petitioners are free to take up the matter before the Government, by filing an application, as provided under Section 144(6) of the Cr.P.C. Writ court further held that if the appellants do so, the Government shall consider their representations and pass a speaking order, after hearing them or their representatives, by any convenient means, including video conferencing.
3. Being aggrieved, the petitioners have filed the instant writ appeal on the following grounds:
A) Writ court failed to appreciate that Exhibit-P1 prohibition order and Exhibit-P2 extension order are the result of mala fide exercise of arbitrary power. It is apparent on the face of the said orders that respondents 1 and 2 had passed the same to aid the 3rd respondent, to continue with its construction activities amidst immense public displeasure. The language, tenor and contents of Exhibit-P1 would clearly establish the same. Exhibit-P1 says that initiation of the project was in 2009, and that it could not be pursued because of protest from the local population. Later, the 1st respondent decided to allow the 3rd respondent, to restart the construction activity and to accomplish that purpose, Exhibit P1 order was issued. The said order does not enlist any instance of violence on the part of the local population. It says that the project was stalled and kept under suspension due to agitation by a section of local people. It need not be stated that the local population can, neither stall the project nor suspend it. Stalling of the project and its suspension were decisions at the instance of 1st respondent. The circumstances which led to the above decision are that the entire population of the locality joined the peaceful protests. During the tenure of the previous Government (UDF), the LDF faction in the locality sympathized with the protest and the local leadership of all political parties felt that the parties were losing ground, since their members and sympathizers were also joining the peaceful protests in a massive way. Thus, the local leadership of the UDF prevailed upon their higher ups, to stop the construction activity. Resultantly, the 1st respondent stalled the project and kept it under suspension.
B) Appellants have further contended that the present Government, though elected democratically, exhibited the tendency to resort to undemocratic and autocratic measures to get things accomplished in its way. The statement in Exhibit-P1 order that “also LWE elements may take part and they will try to forcefully disrupt the project work and use violence against Indian Oil Corporation workers, which may lead to severe law and order issues in the area and its surroundings and cause trouble to Puthuvypeen”, does not carry an iota of truth and this statement is incorporated only to create a prima facie impression in the mind of the court considering the legality of the order. The order itself explains that initiation of the project was in 2009 and the local people had started peaceful protest since then. According to the appellants, despite eight long years of protest, there was no instance of violence. However, when the present Government came to power, police brutality was repeatedly used to crush the protests. lnspite of the police brutality, the people were not dissuaded from participating in the protest. It is in such circumstances, with the connivance of the 1st respondent, the 2nd respondent passed Exhibit P1 order incorporating false statements to cause misunderstanding.
C) Appellants further contended that writ court to appreciate that if, as stated in Exhibit-P1 order, there was the presence of LWE elements, such elements would have taken advantage of the situation and used violence wherever possible during the pendency of Exhibit-P1 order. In compliance of Exhibit P-1 order, people dutifully kept their protest in abeyance and peacefully waited for two months of prohibition to run its course. It is pertinent to note that Exhibit-P1 order puts a stop to their normal course of life and livelihood. In spite of the above, the 1st respondent issued Exhibit-P2 order extending the prohibition for a further period of 6 months, subjecting a community of 65,000 people to grave hardships and loss.
D) It is a settled law by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that Constitution has conferred fundamental right on the people, to oppose, to express the dissent, and to agitate peacefully against the State's policies, programs and projects. The Hon’ble Apex court has also held in several cases that State shall not resort to measures provided in law, aimed at preventing extremism and violence, to suppress peaceful protests by citizens. Writ court has gone to the extent of holding that in a democracy, State is expected to encourage and promote peaceful protest by the people, instead of crushing such initiatives of the people. The learned single Judge, in the impugned judgment, has merely enlisted the decisions cited in the writ petition, without considering the purport and mandate of those decisions.
E) Appellants have further contended that the writ court ought not to have relegated the petitioners to the 1st respondent, which issued Exhibit-P2 order. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down in several judgments that in cases in which fundamental rights of the petitioners are at stake, alternate remedy need not necessarily be exhausted. It is of common knowledge that the 1st respondent will not grant any relief to the petitioners, because issuance of Exhibit P1 order by the 2nd respondent, the 1st respondent extended the same by Exhibit P2 order by a mala fide exercise of arbitrary power.
F) The Hon’ble Apex Court has time and again held that Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be used to suppress expression of opinion and that any order passed under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. should state the material facts to enable judicial review. Therefore, it is apparent that when cases on Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. are brought before the court, the court is bound to review them. The Hon’ble Apex Court has also formulated principles on how such orders may be reviewed by the court. Writ court did not consider such principles and did not review the impugned orders.
G) Appellants have further contended that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has seriously cautioned that repetitive use of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. amounts to abuse of power and the court shall not tolerate such abuse of power. It is evident that Exhibit P1 itself was illegal and without justification. At the same time, the said order was issued when no law and order situation was prevalent. It was passed on the presumption that when the 3rd respondent would re-commence its work, there would be massive protests from agitators. There is no history of use of violence by the agitators. They were protesting peacefully using constitutional means. According to the appellants, Exhibits-P1 and P2 orders are to suppress peaceful protests of the people, as the ruling political leadership failed to dissuade the public from protesting, using its political power.
4. Based on the above grounds, Smt. Thanuja Roshan George, learned counsel for the appellants, made submissions. She also invited our attention to a decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Maharashtra Chess Association v. Union of India & Ors. (Judgment in Civil Appeal No.5654 of 2019 dated 29.07.2019) reported in 2019 SCC Online SC 932, and contended that merely because there is an alternative remedy, writ petition filed on the above grounds, ought not to have been rejected at the threshold and that the Court has a duty to address as to whether, there is a violation of fundamental rights. It is also her contention that the remedy, as provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, by filing a representation to the Government, is not efficacious and, therefore, writ court ought to have adverted to the issues raised and reiterated in this appeal.
5. In response to the above, Mr. Surin George Ipe, learned Senior Government Pleader, submitted that as per sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C., the State Government may, either on its own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made by it under the proviso to sub-section (4) of Section 144 of the Code. That is exactly, at paragraphs (8) to (10) of the impugned judgment in W.P.(C) No.10542 of 2020 dated 17.06.2020, what the writ court has taken note of and thus, at paragraph (11) of the judgment, granted liberty to the appellants to take up the matter with the Government. He further contended that the remedy available to the appellants cannot be said to be efficacious, as even personal hearing is provided under the Code.
6. At this juncture, Smt. Thanuja Roshan George, learned counsel for the appellants, submitted that an application dated 30.05.2020 to the Government, has already been sent on 02.06.2020.
7. Mr. M. Gopikrishnan Nambiar, learned standing counsel for the 3rd respondent - Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., submitted that the impugned judgment in W.P.(C) No.10542 of 2020 was passed on 17.06.2020. Representation is stated to have been sent by the appellants to the Government on 02.06.2020. But, the same has been suppressed before the writ court and, therefore, the appellants, who have suppressed the said fact, are not entitled to any equitable remedy, in this appeal.
8. Learned Senior Government Pleader further submitted that, in the light of the submission of learned counsel for the appellants that an application has been sent to the Government, in terms of sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, the same can be disposed of, if received and pending on the file of the Government.
9. Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the material available on record.
10. Order No.DCEKM/1228/2017-M2 dated 15.12.2019 (Exhibit-P1) issued by the 2nd respondent - Ernakulam District Collector-cum-District Magistrate, Collectorate, Kakkanad, is extracted hereunder:
“IN THE COURT OF THE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE, ERNAKULAM
(Present :- Sri. S. Suhas, I.A.S)
(Under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973)
No. DCEKM/1228/2017 - M2
Whereas the Indian Oil Corporation's LPG Import Terminal project situated in Puthuvypeen, Kochi Taluk, Ernakulam district, SEZ of Cochin Port Trust (CoPT) which comprises of two major ports, namely the Multi-User Liquid Terminal (MULT) jetty and the Storage terminal and;
Whereas the progress of work at the storage terminal reached 45%, all the construction activities have been stalled by the protesters and the construction of the project is under suspension since 16.02.2017, due to agitation by a section of local people and;
Whereas the project has earned all approvals from different statutory authorities such as the Site Appraisal Committee of Govt. of Kerala, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), PESO, Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA), Department of Factories & Boilers, Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and;
Whereas the agitators filed a petition before the Hon'ble National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking cancellation of the environmental Clearance (EC) of the project and the Hon'ble NGT dismissed the petition and;
Whereas the Hon'ble Supreme Court also dismissed an appeal filed against the judgment of the Hon'ble NGT, upholding extension of EC granted to the project up to July 2020 by MoEF & CC and;
Whereas the Indian Oil Corporation's LPG Import Terminal project, Puthuvypeen is going to restart the construction work from 16.12.2019, which may lead to severe Law and Order issues in the area and its surroundings and;
Whereas as part of this, men and materials will be brought to the project site in the coming days and I have got information from reliable sources that there will be a massive protest from agitators at Puthuvypeen, also LWE elements may take part and they will try to forcefully disrupt the project work and use violence against Indian Oil Corporation's workers, which may lead to severe law and order issues in the area and its surroundings and may cause severe trouble to people of Puthuvypeen and;
Where as the Commissioner of Police, Kochi City has requested to declare 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 in Division - 1 of Kochi Corporation and in the Wards 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 & 23 of Elankunnappuzha Panchayath in this district and;
Whereas, I am personally and subjectively satisfied that an immediate prevention and speedy remedy is desirable for preserving public peace and tranquility and that there is sufficient ground for proceeding under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. I, S. Suhas, I.A.S being the District Magistrate, Ernakulam, do hereby prohibit any assembly, protest, demonstration, meeting, unlawful activities or possession any materials that related to the above purpose in the vicinity of the project site and also in the places mentioned above.
The Commissioner of Police, Kochi City and the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Fort Kochi will implement this order forthwith. Any person contravening this order shall be punished under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
As the notice cannot be served individually to all concerned, the order is hereby passed ex-parte. It shall be published for the information of public through press and by affixing copies on the notice boards of the concerned police stations, Municipal Office, Taluk Office and Village Offices.
Given under my hand and seal this the 15th day of December, 2019.
DISTRICT MAGISTRATE, ERNAKULAM
11. G.O. No.437/2020/Home dated 10.02.2020 (Exhibit-P2) issued by the Additional Secretary, Home (J) Department, Government of Kerala, in exercise of its powers under sub-section (4) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, is extracted hereunder:
Government of Kerala
Department of Home - Order extending the prohibition declared at the Puthuvype LPG Import Terminal Project Area in Ernakulam district.
HOME (J) DEPARTMENT
G.O.No.437/2020/Home Thiruvananthapuram, 10.02.2020
Ref:- 1. C.R.P.C.144 Order of the Ernakulam District Collector and District Magistrate.
2. Letter No. DCKM/1228/2017-M2 dated 18.01.2020 of Ernakulam District Collector.
The District Magistrate had issued prohibition order as per reference (1) for starting the work of the Collection Centre of the Indian Oil Corporation at Puthuvype, Ernakulam District. The District Collector has as per reference (2) requested that the prohibition order may be extended for 6 months as per Cr.P.C. Section 144 Sub-section 4 to facilitate completion of the work of the LPG Collection Centre in an emergency manner. The Government has examined this matter in detail.
The Government has decided to extend the prohibition order for a period of 6 months in accordance with Sub-section 4 of Section 144 Cr.P.C., pursuant to the request of the District Collector, in order to facilitate completion of the work of the Puthuvype LPG Collection Centre of the Indian Oil Corporation. Orders are issued accordingly.
By Order of the Governor
R. Sheela Rani
12. Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 reads thus:
“144. Power to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger.-(1) In cases where, in the opinion of a District Magistrate, a Sub-divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf, there is sufficient ground for proceeding under this section and immediate prevention or speedy remedy is desirable, such Magistrate may, by a written order stating the material facts of the case and served in the manner provided by section 134, direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to take certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management, if such Magistrate considers that such direction is likely to prevent, or tends to prevent, obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot, of an affray.
(2) An order under this section may, in cases of emergency or in cases where the circumstances do not admit of the serving in due time of a notice upon the person against whom the order is directed, be passed ex parte.
(3) An order under this section may be directed to a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.
(4) No order under this section shall remain in force for more than two months from the making thereof:
Provided that, if the State Government considers it necessary so to do for preventing danger to human life, health or safety or for preventing a riot or any affray, it may, by notification, direct that an order made by a Magistrate under this section shall remain in force for such further period not exceeding six months from the date on which the order made by the Magistrate would have, but for such order, expired, as it may specify in the said notification.
(5) Any Magistrate may, either on his own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made under this section, by himself or any Magistrate subordinate to him or by his predecessor-in-office.
(6) The State Government may, either on its own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made by it under the proviso to sub- section (4).
(7) Where an application under sub-section (5) or subsection (6) is received, the Magistrate, or the State Government, as the case may be, shall afford to the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before him or it, either in person or by pleader and showing cause against the order; and if the Magistrate or the State Government, as the case may be, rejects the application wholly or in part, he or it shall record in writing the reasons for so doing.”
13. Before the writ court, learned counsel for the appellants had relied on the decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Jagdishwaranand Avadhuta v. Commissioner of Police, Calcutta [(1983) 4 SCC 522], Gulam Abbas v. State of U.P. [(1982) 1 SCC 71], Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, [W.P. (C) No: 1031/2019], Gulam Nabi Azad v. Union of India [W.P. (C) No: 1164/2019], K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India [(2017) 10 SCC 1], and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan v. Union of India & Ors. [WP(C) No. 1153 of 2017].
14. However, it is the admitted case of the appellants that an application dated 30.05.2020, under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C has been sent to the Home Secretary, Government of Kerala, on 02.06.2020. We have perused the copy of the same. Judgment in W.P.(C) No.10542 of 2020 has been delivered on 17.06.2020. As rightly contended by the learned standing counsel for the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Ernakulam, respondent No.3 herein, submission of an application under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C has not been brought to the notice of the writ court. Thus, having sent an application under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, availing the statutory remedy, the appellants ought to have brought to the notice of the writ court, before the impugned judgment was delivered.
15. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that no acknowledgment has been received. At the risk of repetition, paragraph 11 of the impugned judgment is reproduced.
"11. In the above view of the matter, I am not inclined to entertain the writ petition. The petitioners are free to take up the matter before the Government by filing an application as provided under sub-section 6 of Section 144 Cr.P.C. If they do so, the Government shall consider their representations and pass a speaking order after hearing the petitioners or their representatives by any convenient means, including video conferencing.”
16. Conduct of the appellants in approaching the Government, by exercising their right under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, even as early as on 02.06.2020, i.e., much before the judgment of the learned single Judge, suppressing the same, and making a submission before this Court, that the remedy provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure is not adequate and efficacious, is not appreciated. Suppression per se is apparent.
17. On the aspects of suppression, equitable remedy and clean hands, under Article 226 of the Constitution, we deem it fit to consider few decisions.
(i) In Arunima Baruah v. Union of India [(2007) 6 SCC 120], the Hon'ble Supreme Court, at Paragraphs 11 to 14, held as follows:
"11. The court's jurisdiction to determine the lis between the parties, therefore, may be viewed from the human rights concept of access to justice. The same, however, would not mean that the court will have no jurisdiction to deny equitable relief when the complainant does not approach the court with a pair of clean hands; but to what extent such relief should be denied is the question.
12. It is trite law that so as to enable the court to refuse to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction suppression must be of material fact. What would be a material fact, suppression whereof would disentitle the appellant to obtain a discretionary relief, would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Material fact would mean material for the purpose of determination of the lis, the logical corollary whereof would be that whether the same was material for grant or denial of the relief. If the fact suppressed is not material for determination of the lis between the parties, the court may not refuse to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction. It is also trite that a person invoking the discretionary jurisdiction of the court cannot be allowed to approach it with a pair of dirty hands. But even if the said dirt is removed and the hands become clean, whether the relief would still be denied is the question.
13. In Moody v. Cox [(1917) 2 Ch. 71: (1916-17) All ER Rep 548 (CA)], it was held: (All ER pp. 555 I-556 D) It is contended that the fact that Moody has given those bribes prevents him from getting any relief in a court of equity. The first consequence of his having offered the bribes is that the vendors could have rescinded the contract. But they were not bound to do so. They had the right to say? no, we are well satisfied with the contract; it is a very good one for us; we affirm it”. The proposition put forward by counsel for the defendants is:
“It does not matter that the contract has been affirmed; you still can claim no relief of any equitable character in regard to that contract because you gave a bribe in respect of it. If there is a mistake in the contract, you cannot rectify it, if you desire to rescind the contract, you cannot rescind it, for that is equitable relief.” With some doubt they said: “We do not think you can get an injunction to have the contract performed, though the other side have affirmed it, because an injunction may be an equitable remedy.” When one asks on what principle this is supposed to be based, one receives in answer the maxim that anyone coming to equity must come with clean hands. I think the expression “clean hands” is used more often in the textbooks than it is in the judgments, though it is occasionally used in the judgments, but I was very much surprised to hear that when a contract, obtained by the giving of a bribe, had been affirmed by the person who had a primary right to affirm it, not being an illegal contract, the courts of equity could be so scrupulous that they would refuse any relief not connected at all with the bribe. I was glad to find that it was not the case, because I think it is quite clear that the passage in Dering v. Earl of Winchelsea [(1787) 1 Cox Eq Cas 318: 2 Bos & P 270], which has been referred to, shows that equity will not apply the principle about clean hands unless the depravity, the dirt in question on the hand, has an immediate and necessary relation to the equity sued for. In this case the bribe has no immediate relation to rectification, if rectification were asked, or to rescission in connection with a matter not in any way connected with the bribe. Therefore that point, which was argued with great strenuousness by counsel for the defendant, Hatt, appears to me to fail, and we have to consider the merits of the case.
14. In Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th Edn., Vol. 16, pp. 874- 76, the law is stated in the following terms:
“1303. He who seeks equity must do equity. “In granting relief peculiar to its own jurisdiction a court of equity acts upon the rule that he who seeks equity must do equity. By this it is not meant that the court can impose arbitrary conditions upon a plaintiff simply because he stands in that position on the record. The rule means that a man who comes to seek the aid of a court of equity to enforce a claim must be prepared to submit in such proceedings to any directions which the known principles of a court of equity may make it proper to give; he must do justice as to the matters in respect of which the assistance of equity is asked. In a court of law it is otherwise: when the plaintiff is found to be entitled to judgment, the law must take its course; no terms can be imposed.
* * * 1305. He who comes into equity must come with clean hands. “A court of equity refuses relief to a plaintiff whose conduct in regard to the subject- matter of the litigation has been improper. This was formerly expressed by the maxim “he who has committed iniquity shall not have equity”, and relief was refused where a transaction was based on the plaintiff's fraud or misrepresentation, or where the plaintiff sought to enforce a security improperly obtained, or where he claimed a remedy for a breach of trust which he had himself procured and whereby he had obtained money. Later it was said that the plaintiff in equity must come with perfect propriety of conduct, or with clean hands. In application of the principle a person will not be allowed to assert his title to property which he has dealt with so as to defeat his creditors or evade tax, for he may not maintain an action by setting up his own fraudulent design.
The maxim does not, however, mean that equity strikes at depravity in a general way; the cleanliness required is to be judged in relation to the relief sought, and the conduct complained of must have an immediate and necessary relation to the equity sued for; it must be depravity in a legal as well as in a moral sense. Thus, fraud on the part of a minor deprives him of his right to equitable relief notwithstanding his disability. Where the transaction is itself unlawful it is not necessary to have recourse to this principle. In equity, just as at law, no suit lies in general in respect of an illegal transaction, but this is on the ground of its illegality, not by reason of the plaintiff's demerits.”
(ii) In Prestige Lights Ltd., v. State Bank of India [(2007) 8 SCC 449], at Paragraphs 33, 34 and 35, it has been held as follows:
“33. It is thus clear that though the appellant- Company had approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, it had not candidly stated all the facts to the Court. The High Court is exercising discretionary and extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. Over and above, a Court of Law is also a Court of Equity. It is, therefore, of utmost necessity that when a party approaches a High Court, he must place all the facts before the Court without any reservation. If there is suppression of material facts on the part of the applicant or twisted facts have been placed before the Court, the Writ Court may refuse to entertain the petition and dismiss it without entering into merits of the matter.
34. The object underlying the above principle has been succinctly stated by Scrutton, L.J., in R v. Kensington Income Tax Commissioners, [(1917) 1 KB 486 : 86 LJ KB 257 : 116 LT 136], in the following words: "(I)t has been for many years the rule of the Court, and one which it is of the greatest importance to maintain, that when an applicant comes to the Court to obtain relief on an ex parte statement he should made a full and fair disclosure of all the material facts, not law. He must not misstate the law if he can help the Court is supposed to know the law. But it knows nothing about the facts, and the applicant must state fully and fairly the facts, and the penalty by which the Court enforces that obligation is that if it finds out that the facts have not been fully and fairly stated to it, the Court will set aside, any action which it has taken on the faith of the imperfect statement".
35. It is well settled that a prerogative remedy is not a matter of course. In exercising extraordinary power, therefore, a Writ Court will indeed bear in mind the conduct of the party who is invoking such jurisdiction. If the applicant does not disclose full facts or suppresses relevant materials or is otherwise guilty of misleading the Court, the Court may dismiss the action without adjudicating the matter. The rule has been evolved in larger public interest to deter unscrupulous litigants from abusing the process of Court by deceiving it. The very basis of the writ jurisdiction rests in disclosure of true, complete and correct facts. If the material facts are not candidly stated or are suppressed or are distorted, the very functioning of the writ courts would become impossible."
(iii) In Udyami Evam Khadi Gramodyog Welfare Sanstha and another v. State of Uttar Pradesh [(2008) 1 SCC 560], at paragraphs 16 and 17, the Hon'ble Apex Court, has held as follows:
"16. A writ remedy is an equitable one. A person approaching a superior court must come with a pair of clean hands. It not only should not suppress any material fact, but also should not take recourse to the legal proceedings over and over again which amounts to abuse of the process of law. In Advocate General, State of Bihar v. M.P. Khair Industries[(1980) 3 SCC 311], this Court was of the opinion that such a repeated filing of writ petitions amounts to criminal contempt.
17. For the reasons aforementioned, there is not merit in this appeal which is dismissed accordingly with costs. Counsel's fee quantified at Rs.50,000."
(iv) In Amar Singh v. Union of India & Others reported in (2011) 7 SCC 69, on the aspect of a litigant approaching the court, with unclean hands, at, paragraphs 53 to 57, and at, paragraph 59, considered several judgments. Finally, at paragraph No.60, extracted a paragraph from Dalip Singh v. State of U.P. and others, [(2010) 2 SCC 114]:
"53. Courts have, over the centuries, frowned upon litigants who, with intent to deceive and mislead the courts, initiated proceedings without full disclosure of facts. Courts held that such litigants have come with "unclean hands" and are not entitled to be heard on the merits of their case.
54. In Dalglish v. Jarvie [2 Mac. & G. 231,238], the Court, speaking through Lord Langdale and Rolfe B., laid down:
"It is the duty of a party asking for an injunction to bring under the notice of the Court all facts material to the determination of his right to that injunction; and it is no excuse for him to say that he was not aware of the importance of any fact which he has omitted to bring forward."
55. In Castelli v. Cook [1849 (7) Hare, 89, 94], Vice Chancellor Wigram, formulated the same principles as follows:
"A plaintiff applying ex parte comes under a contract with the Court that he will state the whole case fully and fairly to the Court. If he fails to do that, and the Court finds, when the other party applies to dissolve the injunction, that any material fact has been suppressed or not properly brought forward, the plaintiff is told that the Court will not decide on the merits, and that, as has broken faith with the Court, the injunction must go."
56. In the case of Republic of Peru v. Dreyfus Brothers & Company [55 L.T. 802,803], Justice Kay reminded us of the same position by holding thus:
"...If there is an important misstatement, speaking for myself, I have never hesitated, and never shall hesitate until the rule is altered, to discharge the order at once, so as to impress upon all persons who are suitors in this Court the importance of dealing in good faith with the Court when ex parte applications are made."
57. In one of the most celebrated cases upholding this principle, in the Court of Appeal in R. v. Kensington Income Tax Commissioner [1917 (1) K.B. 486] Lord Justice Scrutton formulated as under:
"…........and it has been for many years the rule of the Court, and one which it is of the greatest importance to maintain, that when an applicant comes to the Court to obtain relief on an ex parte statement he should make a full and fair disclosure of all the material facts- facts, now law. He must not misstate the law if he can help it - the court is supposed to know the law. But it knows nothing about the facts, and the applicant must state fully and fairly the facts, and the penalty by which the Court enforces that obligation is that if it finds out that the facts have been fully and fairly stated to it, the Court will set aside any action which it has taken on the faith of the imperfect statement."
59. The aforesaid requirement of coming to Court with clean hands has been repeatedly reiterated by this Court in a large number of cases. Some of which may be noted, they are: Hari Narain v. Badri Das - AIR 1963 SC 1558, Welcome Hotel and others v. State of A.P. and others - (1983) 4 SCC 575, G. Narayanaswamy Reddy (Dead) by LRs. and another v. Government of Karnatka and another - (1991) 3 SCC 261, S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu (Dead) by LRs. v. Jagannath (Dead) by LRs. and others (1994) 1 SCC 1, A.V. Papayya Sastry and others v. Government of A.P. and others - (2007) 4 SCC 221, Prestige Lights Limited v. SBI - (2007) 8 SCC 449, Sunil Poddar and others v. Union Bank of India - (2008) 2 SCC 326, K.D.Sharma v. SAIL and others - (2008) 12 SCC 481, G. Jayashree and others v. Bhagwandas S. Patel and others - (2009) 3 SCC 141, Dalip Singh v. State of U.P. and others - (2010) 2 SCC 114.
60. In the last noted case of Dalip Singh (supra), this Court has given this concept a new dimension which has a far reaching effect. We, therefore, repeat those principles here again:
"For many centuries Indian society cherished two basic values of life i.e. "satya"(truth) and "ahimsa (non-violence), Mahavir, Gautam Budha and Mahatma Gandhi guided the people to ingrain these values in their daily life. Truth constituted an integral part of the justice-delivery system which was in vogue in the pre- independence era and the people used to feel proud to tell truth in the courts irrespective of the consequences. However, post-Independence period has seen drastic changes in our value system. The materialism has overshadowed the old ethos and the quest for personal gain has become so intense that those involved in litigation do not hesitate to take shelter of falsehood, misrepresentation and suppression of facts in the court proceedings.
In the last 40 years, a new creed of litigants has cropped up. Those who belong to this creed do not have any respect for truth. They shamelessly resort to falsehood and unethical means for achieving their goals. In order to meet the challenge posed by this new creed of litigants, the courts have, from time to time, evolved new rules and it is now well established that a litigant, who attempts to pollute the stream of justice or who touches the pure fountain of justice with tainted hands, is not entitled to any relief, interim or final."
(v) In Kishore Samrite v. State of U.P. & Others [(2013) 2 SCC 398], at paragraphs 32 to 36, the Hon'ble Apex Court held as follows:
"32. With the passage of time, it has been realised that people used to feel proud to tell the truth in the Courts, irrespective of the consequences but that practice no longer proves true, in all cases. The Court does not sit simply as an umpire in a contest between two parties and declare at the end of the combat as to who has won and who has lost but it has a legal duty of its own, independent of parties, to take active role in the proceedings and reach at the truth, which is the foundation of administration of justice. Therefore, the truth should become the ideal to inspire the courts to pursue. This can be achieved by statutorily mandating the Courts to become active seekers of truth. To enable the courts to ward off unjustified interference in their working, those who indulge in immoral acts like perjury, prevarication and motivated falsehood, must be appropriately dealt with. The parties must state forthwith sufficient factual details to the extent that it reduces the ability to put forward false and exaggerated claims and a litigant must approach the Court with clean hands. It is the bounden duty of the Court to ensure that dishonesty and any attempt to surpass the legal process must be effectively curbed and the Court must ensure that there is no wrongful, unauthorised or unjust gain to anyone as a result of abuse of the process of the Court. One way to curb this tendency is to impose realistic or punitive costs.
33. The party not approaching the Court with clean hands would be liable to be non-suited and such party, who has also succeeded in polluting the stream of justice by making patently false statements, cannot claim relief, especially under Article 136 of the Constitution. While approaching the court, a litigant must state correct facts and come with clean hands. Where such statement of facts is based on some information, the source of such information must also be disclosed. Totally misconceived petition amounts to abuse of the process of the court and such a litigant is not required to be dealt with lightly, as a petition containing misleading and inaccurate statement, if filed, to achieve an ulterior purpose amounts to abuse of the process of the court. A litigant is bound to make “full and true disclosure of facts”. (Refer: Tilokchand H.B. Motichand & Ors. v. Munshi & Anr. [(1969) 1 SCC 110]; A. Shanmugam v. Ariya Kshatriya Rajakula Vamsathu Madalaya Nandhavana Paripalanai Sangam & Anr. [(2012) 6 SCC 430]; Chandra Shashi v. Anil Kumar Verma [(1995) SCC 1 421]; Abhyudya Sanstha v. Union of India & Ors. [(2011) 6 SCC 145]; State of Madhya Pradesh v. Narmada Bachao Andolan & Anr. [(2011) 7 SCC 639]; Kalyaneshwari v. Union of India & Anr. [(2011) 3 SCC 287)].
34. The person seeking equity must do equity. It is not just the clean hands, but also clean mind, clean heart and clean objective that are the equi-fundamentals of judicious litigation. The legal maxim jure naturae aequum est neminem cum alterius detrimento et injuria fieri locupletiorem, which means that it is a law of nature that one should not be enriched by the loss or injury to another, is the percept for Courts. Wide jurisdiction of the court should not become a source of abuse of the process of law by the disgruntled litigant. Careful exercise is also necessary to ensure that the litigation is genuine, not motivated by extraneous considerations and imposes an obligation upon the litigant to disclose the true facts and approach the court with clean hands.
35. No litigant can play “hide and seek” with the courts or adopt “pick and choose”. True facts ought to be disclosed as the Court knows law, but not facts. One, who does not come with candid facts and clean breast cannot hold a writ of the court with soiled hands. Suppression or concealment of material facts is impermissible to a litigant or even as a technique of advocacy. In such cases, the Court is duty bound to discharge rule nisi and such applicant is required to be dealt with for contempt of court for abusing the process of the court. (K.D. Sharma v. Steel Authority of India Ltd. & Ors. (2008) 12 SCC 481)).
36. Another settled canon of administration of justice is that no litigant should be permitted to misuse the judicial process by filing frivolous petitions. No litigant has a right to unlimited drought upon the court time and public money in order to get his affairs settled in the manner as he wishes. Easy access to justice should not be used as a licence to file misconceived and frivolous petitions. [Buddhi Kota Subbarao (Dr.) v. K. Parasaran, (1996) 5 SCC 530)]."
18. In Maharashtra Chess Association (cited supra), relied on by learned counsel for the appellants, the Hon'ble Apex Court, considered the question as to whether, Clause 21 the Constitution and Bye Laws itself creates a legal bar on the Bombay High Court, exercising its writ jurisdiction. Dealing with the said clause and the alternative remedy available, the Hon'ble Apex Court held thus:
“22. This brings us to the question of whether Clause 21 itself creates a legal bar on the Bombay High Court exercising its writ jurisdiction. As discussed above, the writ jurisdiction of the High Court is fundamentally discretionary. Even the existence of an alternate adequate remedy is merely an additional factor to be taken into consideration by the High Court in deciding whether or not to exercise its writ jurisdiction. This is in marked contradistinction to the jurisdiction of a civil court which is governed by statute. [Section 9. Courts to try all civil suits unless barred – The Courts shall (subject to the provisions herein contained) have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred]. In exercising its discretion to entertain a particular case under Article 226, a High Court may take into consideration various factors including the nature of the injustice that is alleged by the petitioner, whether or not an alternate remedy exists, or whether the facts raise a question of constitutional interpretation. These factors are not exhaustive and we do not propose to enumerate what factors should or should not be taken into consideration. It is sufficient for the present purposes to say that the High Court must take a holistic view of the facts as submitted in the writ petition and make a determination on the facts and circumstances of each unique case.
23. At this juncture, it is worth discussing the decision of this Court in Aligarh Muslim University v. Vinay Engineering [(1994) 4 SCC 710]. In that case, the contract between the parties contained a clause conferring jurisdiction on the courts at Aligarh. When the High Court of Calcutta exercised its writ jurisdiction over the matter, this Court held:
“2. We are surprised, not a little, that the High Court of Calcutta should have exercised jurisdiction in a case where it had absolutely no jurisdiction. The contracts in question were executed at Aligarh, the construction work was to be carried out at Aligarh, even the contracts provided that in the event of dispute the Aligarh Court alone will have jurisdiction. The arbitrator was from Aligarh and was to function there. Merely because the respondent was a Calcutta-based firm, the High Court of Calcutta seems to have exercised jurisdiction where it had none by adopting a queer line of reasoning. We are constrained to say that this is a case of abuse of jurisdiction and we feel that the respondent deliberately moved the Calcutta High Court ignoring the fact that no part of the cause of action had arisen within the jurisdiction of that Court. It clearly shows that the litigation filed in the Calcutta High Court was thoroughly unsustainable.
24. The court examined the facts holistically, noting that the contract was executed and to be performed in Aligarh, and the arbitrator was to function at Aligarh. It did consider that the contract conferred jurisdiction on the courts at Aligarh, but this was one factor amongst several considered by the court in determining that the High Court of Calcutta did not have jurisdiction.
25. In the present case, the Bombay High Court has relied solely on Clause 21 of the Constitution and Bye Laws to hold that its own writ jurisdiction is ousted. The Bombay High Court has failed to examine the case holistically and make a considered determination as to whether or not it should, in its discretion, exercise its powers under Article 226. The scrutiny to be applied to every writ petition under Article 226 by the High Court is a crucial safeguard of the rule of law under the Constitution in the relevant territorial jurisdiction. It is not open to a High Court to abdicate this responsibility merely due to the existence of a privately negotiated document ousting its jurisdiction.
26. It is certainly open to the High Court to take into consideration the fact that the Appellant and the second Respondent consented to resolve all their legal disputes before the courts at Chennai. However, this can be a factor within the broader factual matrix of the case. The High Court may decline to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 invoking the principle of forum non conveniens in an appropriate case. The High Court must look at the case of the Appellant holistically and make a determination as to whether it would be proper to exercise its writ jurisdiction. We do not express an opinion as to what factors should be considered by the High Court in the present case, nor the corresponding gravity that should be accorded to such factors. Such principles are well known to the High Court and it is not for this Court to interfere in the discretion of the High Court in determining when to engage its writ jurisdiction unless exercised arbitrarily or erroneously. The sole and absolute reliance by the Bombay High Court on Clause 21 of the Constitution and Bye Laws to determine that its jurisdiction under Article 226 is ousted is however one such instance.
27. We accordingly allow the appeal and set aside the impugned judgment and order of the High Court dated 25 September 2018. Writ Petition No. 7770 of 2017 is accordingly restored to the file of the High Court for being considered afresh. No costs.”
19. Abovesaid judgment is in-apposite to the facts on hand, more so, when an application under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C., has already been made. Having submitted such an application under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C., and suppressing the same before the writ court, correctness of the order under sub-section (4) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C., has been tested. As stated above, we do not approve the conduct of the appellants.
20. The Code of Criminal Procedure is a law by itself and, therefore, the contention of the appellants that there is no efficacious remedy, cannot be accepted.
21. Conduct of the appellants also attracts the principles of approbation and reprobation. Let us consider a few decisions as to what the above principles mean.
(i) In New Bihar Biri Leaves Co. v. State of Bihar, reported in (1981) 1 SCC 537, at paragraphs 48 and 49, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as follows:-
"48. It is a fundamental principle of general application that if a person of his own accord, accepts a contract on certain terms and works out the contract, he cannot be allowed to adhere to and abide by some of the terms of the contract which proved advantageous to him and repudiate the other terms of the same contract which might be disadvantageous to him. The maxim is qui approbat non reprobat (one who approbates cannot reprobate). This principle, though originally borrowed from Scots Law, is now firmly embodied in English Common Law. According to it, a party to an instrument or transaction cannot take advantage of one part of a document or transaction and reject the rest. That is to say, no party can accept and reject the same instrument or transaction. (Per Scrutton, L.J., Verschures Creameries Ltd. v. Hull & Netherlands Steamship Co., reported in 1921 2 KB 608, Douglas Menzies v. Umphelby, reported in 1908 AC 224, 232, see also Stroud's Judicial dictionary, Vol. I, p. 169, 3rd Edn.)
49. The aforesaid inhibitory principle squarely applies to the cases of those petitioners who had by offering highest bids at public auctions or by tenders, accepted and worked out the contracts in the past but are now resisting the demands or other action, arising out of the impugned Condition (13) on the ground that this condition is violative of Articles 19(1)(g) and 14 of the Constitution. In this connection, it will bear repetition, here, that the impugned conditions though bear a statutory complexion, retain their basic contractual character also. It is true that a person cannot be debarred from enforcing his fundamental rights on the ground of estoppel or waiver. But the aforesaid principle which prohibits a party to a transaction from approbating a part of its conditions and reprobating the rest, is different from the doctrine of estoppel or waiver.”
(ii) In R.N.Gosain v. Yashpal Dhir, reported in (1992) 4 SCC 683, at paragraph 10, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as fo
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llows:- “10. Law does not permit a person to both approbate and reprobate. This principle is based on the doctrine of election which postulates that no party can accept and reject the same instrument and that “a person cannot say at one time that a transaction is valid and thereby obtain some advantage, to which he could only be entitled on the footing that it is valid, and then turn round and say it is void for the purpose of securing some other advantage”. [See: Verschures Creameries Ltd. v. Hull and Netherlands Steamship Co. Ltd, reported in 1921 (2) KB 608, 612 (CA) Scrutton, L.J.] According to Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th Edn., Vol. 16, “after taking an advantage under an order (for example for the payment of costs) a party may be precluded from saying that it is invalid and asking to set it aside”. (para 1508) (iii) In I.T. Commissioner v. Firm Muar, reported in AIR 1965 SC 1216, at paragraph 13, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as follows:- ".........The doctrine of “approbate and reprobate” is only a species of estoppel; it applies only to the conduct of parties. As in the case of estoppel, it cannot operate against the provisions of a statute." (iv) In Prashant Ramachandra Deshpande v. Maruti Balaram Haibatti, reported in 1995 Supp (2) 539, the principle of "approbate and reprobate" has been explained. At Paragraph 2, the Hon'ble Apex Court, held thus:- "2. .........Similarly, on the principle that a person may not approbate and reprobate, “a species of estoppel has arisen which seems to be intermediate between estoppel by record and estoppel in pais. The principle that a person may not approbate and reprobate expresses two propositions: (1) that the person in question, having a choice between two courses of conduct, is to be treated as having made an election from which he cannot resile, and (2) that he will not be regarded, in general at any rate, as having so elected unless he has taken a benefit under or arising out of the course of conduct which he has first pursued and with which his subsequent conduct is inconsistent”. Vide Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th Edn., Vol. 16, para 1507." (v) In Cauvery Coffee Traders, Mangalore v. Hornor Resources (International) Company Limited., reported in (2011) 10 SCC 420, the Hon'ble Supreme Court, at paragraphs 33 to 35, held as follows:- “33. In R.N. Gosain v. Yashpal Dhir, reported in 1992 (4) SCC 683, this Court has observed as under: “10. Law does not permit a person to both approbate and reprobate. This principle is based on the doctrine of election which postulates that no party can accept and reject the same instrument and that 'a person cannot say at one time that a transaction is valid and thereby obtain some advantage, to which he could only be entitled on the footing that it is valid, and then turn round and say it is void for the purpose of securing some other advantage'.” 34. A party cannot be permitted to “blow hot and cold”, “fast and loose” or “approbate and reprobate”. Where one knowingly accepts the benefits of a contract or conveyance or an order, is estopped to deny the validity or binding effect on him of such contract or conveyance or order. This rule is applied to do equity, however, it must not be applied in a manner as to violate the principles of right and good conscience. [Vide Nagubai Ammal v. B. Shama Rao, reported in AIR 1956 SC 593, CIT v. V.MR.P. Firm Muar, reported in AIR 1965 SC 1216, Maharashtra SRTC v. Balwant Regular Motor Service, reported in AIR 1969 SC 329, R. Deshpande v. Maruti Balaram Haibatti, reported in (1998) 6 SCC 507 = AIR 1998 SC 2979, Babu Ram v. Indra Pal Singh, reported in (1998) 6 SCC 358 = AIR 1998 SC 3021, NTPC Ltd. v. Reshmi Constructions, Builders & Contractors, reported in (2004) 2 SCC 663 = AIR 2004 SC 1330, Ramesh Chandra Sankla v. Vikram Cement and Pradeep Oil Corpn. v. MCD. reported in (2008) 14 SCC 58 = 2009 (1) SCC (L&S) 706 = AIR 2009 SC 713] 35. Thus, it is evident that the doctrine of election is based on the rule of estoppel--the principle that one cannot approbate and reprobate inheres in it. The doctrine of estoppel by election is one of the species of estoppels in pais (or equitable estoppel), which is a rule in equity. By that law, a person may be precluded by his actions or conduct or silence when it is his duty to speak, from asserting a right which he otherwise would have had.” (vi) In Joint Action Committee of Air Line Pilots' Association of India (ALPAI) v. Director General of Civil Aviation, [(2011) 5 SCC 435], the Hon'ble Apex Court, at paragraph 12, held as follows:- "12. The doctrine of election is based on the rule of estoppel--the principle that one cannot approbate and reprobate inheres in it. The doctrine of estoppel by election is one of the species of estoppels in pais (or equitable estoppel), which is a rule in equity. By that law, a person may be precluded by his actions or conduct or silence when it is his duty to speak, from asserting a right which he otherwise would have had. Taking inconsistent pleas by a party makes its conduct far from satisfactory. Further, the parties should not blow hot and cold by taking inconsistent stands and prolong proceedings unnecessarily. [Vide Babu Ram v. Indra Pal Singh, reported in (1998) 6 SCC 358, P.R. Deshpande v. Maruti Balaram Haibatti, reported in (1998) 6 SCC 507, and Mumbai International Airport (P) Ltd. v. Golden Chariot Airport [(2010) 10 SCC 422 = (2010) 4 SCC (Civ) 195]." 22. In the light of the above discussion and decisions, appellants are not entitled for reversal of the impugned judgment. However, they can, at best, seek for disposal of their application submitted to the Government under sub-section (6) of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, if received and pending on the file of the Secretary, Government of Kerala, Department of Home Affairs, Thiruvananthapuram. Accordingly, a direction is issued to the Secretary to the Government, Department of Home Affairs, Government of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, to dispose of the application dated 30.05.2020, if received and pending on his file, within two weeks from today. Writ appeal is disposed of. No costs.