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May 26, 2021

“The Attractive Brand Name Of Public Interest Litigation Can’t Be Used For Suspicious Products Of Mischief”: Himachal High Court

first_imgNews Updates”The Attractive Brand Name Of Public Interest Litigation Can’t Be Used For Suspicious Products Of Mischief”: Himachal High Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK19 Dec 2020 9:27 PMShare This – x”Process of the Court can’t be abused for oblique considerations by masked phantoms””Time has come to weed out the petitions, which though titled as public interest litigations are in essence something else,” observed the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday while expressing shock as to the number of frivolous petitions being filed before it under the garb of public interest. A Division Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sandeep Sharma made…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?Login”Time has come to weed out the petitions, which though titled as public interest litigations are in essence something else,” observed the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday while expressing shock as to the number of frivolous petitions being filed before it under the garb of public interest. A Division Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sandeep Sharma made these remarks while hearing a PIL seeking postponement of a local panchayat elections, on basis of prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic in the State. The Bench noted that the Petitioner in the case at hand had not furnished any credentials to indicate that he is a public-spirited person, so as to conclude that the instant petition was filed in public interest. Further, it noted that the dates of elections are yet to be announced and thus, the petition is pre-mature and has been filed with an ulterior motive to seek publicity. In view of these circumstances, the Court was constrained to record the ‘flooding’ number of PILs are being filed, where even a minuscule percentage can legitimately be called public interest litigations. Thus, the Court observed that whenever a case is brought filed as a PIL, the case has to be closely examined to see whether it can actually be classified as a PIL because, “The attractive brand name of public interest litigation cannot be used for suspicious products of mischief. It has to be aimed at redressal of genuine public wrong or public injury and not publicity-oriented or founded on personal vendetta or private motive. The process of the Court cannot be abused for oblique considerations by masked phantoms who monitor at times from behind.” The bench explained that the locus standi in cases of PILs is relaxed to allow the Court to hear and address issues that have been put forth on behalf of the poor, deprived, illiterate and disabled people who are not able to seek justice on their own. But, at the same time, the Courts have to be careful not to transgress its jurisdiction in the spirit of justice or to allow any cases which are not in the nature of public interest. “After all, public interest litigation is not a pill or panacea for all wrongs,” stated the Court. A PIL is, in its essence, meant to provide protection of the most basic human rights to the disadvantaged. Further, the Court added that PILs are a powerful weapon and should be used with utmost care. In this context, the Bench stated,”Judiciary has to be extremely careful to see that behind the beautiful veil of public interest an ugly private malice, vested interest and/or public interest seeking is not lurking. It is to be used as an effective weapon in the armoury of law for delivering justice to the citizens.” It is for this reason that the Court must maintain social balance by interfering in cases for the sake of justice and should refuse to entertain those petitions where it is against the social justice and public good. In this context, the Bench referred to Jaipur Shahar Hindu Vikas Samiti v. State of Rajasthan & Ors., where the Supreme Court had laid down guidelines for what can be considered by the Court to be a public interest litigation. The Apex Court would only allow litigation in public interest if it is found: That the impugned action is violative of any of the rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution of India or any other legal right and relief is sought for its enforcement; That the action complained of is palpably illegal or malafide and affects the group of persons who are not in a position to protect their own interest or on account of poverty, incapacity or ignorance; That the person or a group of persons were approaching the Court in public interest for redressal of public injury arising from the breach of public duty or from violation of some provision of the Constitutional law; That such person or group of persons is not a busy body or a meddlesome inter-loper and have not approached with mala fide intention of vindicating their personal vengeance or grievance; That the process of public interest litigation was not being abused by politicians or other busy bodies for political or unrelated objective. Every default on the part of the State or Public Authority being not justiciable in such litigation; That the litigation initiated in public interest was such that if not remedied or prevented would weaken the faith of the common man in the institution of the judicial and the democratic set up of the country; That the State action was being tried to be covered under the carpet and intended to be thrown out on technicalities; Public interest litigation may be initiated either upon a petition filed or on the basis of a letter or other information received but upon satisfaction that the information laid before the Court was of such a nature which required examination; That the person approaching the Court has come with clean hands, clean heart and clean objectives;That before taking any action in public interest the Court must be satisfied that its forum was not being misused by any unscrupulous litigant, politicians, busy body or persons of groups with mala fide objective or either for vindication of their personal grievance or by resorting to black-mailing or considerations extraneous to public interest. Bearing in mind the aforementioned directions, the Himachal Pradesh High Court concluded that the petition filed before them was not in the nature of public interest. It was also asserted by the bench that the State alone has the power to decide when to hold the elections and said that they were sure that the State would take all relevant factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, into consideration before holding the elections. The Court finally stated, “In view of the given circumstances, we have no doubt in our mind that the instant petition is nothing but a publicity-oriented petition and not a Public Interest Litigation,” and dismissed the petition. Case Title: Sailesh Sharma v. State of HP & Ors. Click Here To Download Order Read OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

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