Public Interest litigation is boon for poor and downtrodden section but actually they are deprived from it.

Undoubtedly public interest litigation is a tool in the hand of
citizenry to protect the fundamental rights of people if all quarters may close
their doors but this august tool could not be allowed to be misused both by
judicial members as well as selfish people who want to achieve their ulterior
designs . 
HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD, LUCKNOW BENCH 
Chief Justice’s
Court AFR 
Case :- MISC. BENCH
No. – 9148 of 2012 
Petitioner :- Sanjay
Singh Rathaur [P.I.L.] Civil 
Respondent :-
Lucknow Development Authority Thr.Its Chairman,Lko.& Another 
Counsel for
Petitioner :- B.K.Singh 
Counsel for
Respondent :- Shashi Prakash Singh,Gaurav Mehrotra,Ranjeet Singh,Shailendra
Singh Chauhan,Shobhit Mohan Shukla 
Hon’ble Dr.
Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud,Chief Justice 
Hon’ble Shri Narayan
Shukla,J. 
(Per: Dr Justice D Y
Chandrachud, Chief Justice) 
 In Ashok Kumar Pandey vs. State of W.B.3, the
Supreme Court observed as follows: 
“When there is material to show that a petition styled as a
public interest litigation is nothing but a camouflage to foster personal
disputes, the said petition is to be thrown out. Before we grapple with the
issue involved in the present case, we feel it necessary to consider the issue
regarding public interest aspect. Public interest litigation which has now come
to occupy an important field in the administration of law should not be
“publicity interest litigation” or “private interest
litigation” or “politics interest litigation” or the latest
trend “paise income litigation”. If not properly regulated and abuse
averted it also becomes a tool in unscrupulous hands to release vendetta and
wreck vengeance, as well. There must be real and genuine public interest
involved in the litigation and not merely an adventure of knight errant or poke
one’s into for a probe. It cannot also be invoked by a person or a body of
persons to further his or their personal causes or satisfy his or their
personal grudge and enmity. Courts of justice should not be allowed to be
polluted by unscrupulous litigants by resorting to the extraordinary
jurisdiction. A person acting bona fide and having sufficient interest in the
proceeding of public interest litigation will alone have a locus standi and can
approach the Court to wipe out violation of fundamental rights and genuine
infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain or private profit
or political motive or any oblique consideration. These aspects were
highlighted by this Court in Janta Dal case4 and Kazi Lhendup Dorji vs. Central
Bureau of Investigation5. A writ petitioner who comes to the Court for relief
in public interest must come not only with clean hands like any other writ
petitioner but also with a clean heart, clean mind and clean objective. See
Ramjas Foundation vs. Union of India6 and K.R. Srinivas vs. R.M.
Premchand7.” 
In a
subsequent decision in Vishwanath Chaturvedi vs. Union of India and Ors.8 the
Supreme Court observed that it would be wrong in law for the Court to judge the
interest of a petitioner without looking into the subject matter of the
complaint and if a failure of public duty is shown, the Court would be in error
in dismissing the PIL. 
These observations
are now fortified by a later decision in the State of Uttaranchal vs. Balwant
Singh Chaufal and Ors.9 where the principles were enunciated as follows: 
“We have
carefully considered the facts of the present case. We have also examined the
law declared by this Court and other courts in a number of judgments. In order
to preserve the purity and sanctity of the PIL, it has become imperative to
issue the following directions:- 
(1) The Courts must encourage genuine and bona fide PIL and
effectively discourage and curb the PIL filed for extraneous
considerations. 
(2) Instead of every individual Judge devising his own procedure for
dealing with the public interest litigation, it would be appropriate for each
High Court to properly formulate rules for encouraging the genuine PIL and
discouraging the PIL filed with oblique motives. Consequently, we request that
the High Courts who have not yet framed the rules, should frame the rules
within three months. The Registrar General of each High Court is directed to
ensure that a copy of the rules prepared by the High Court is sent to the
Secretary General of this Court immediately thereafter. 
(3) The Courts should prima facie verify the credentials of
the petitioner before entertaining a PIL. 
(4) The Courts should be prima facie satisfied regarding the
correctness of the contents of the petition before entertaining a PIL. 
(5) The Courts should be fully satisfied that substantial
public interest is involved before entertaining the petition. 
(6) The Courts should ensure that the petition
which involves larger public interest, gravity and urgency must be given
priority over other petitions. 
(7) The Courts before entertaining the PIL should
ensure that the PIL is aimed at redressal of genuine public harm or public
injury. The Court should also ensure that there is no personal gain, private
motive or oblique motive behind filing the public interest litigation. 
(8) The Courts should also ensure that the
petitions filed by busybodies for extraneous and ulterior motives must be
discouraged by imposing exemplary costs or by adopting similar novel methods to
curb frivolous petitions and the petitions filed for extraneous
considerations.”
 
We may note that
when the petition was initially called out for final disposal, the learned
counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted before the Court that
he wishes to withdraw the writ petition since the pleadings in the writ
petition and the reliefs which have been sought may suffer from a want of focus
on the essential aspects involved but liberty may be granted to the petitioner
to file a writ petition afresh with necessary pleadings. This was opposed on
behalf of the third respondent on the ground that pleadings have been completed
in these proceedings and the third respondent has a serious objection to the
locus of the petitioner. The learned counsel submitted that if permission is
granted to withdraw the petition with liberty as sought, that would have the
effect of ‘washing away’ the material which has been placed on the record in
the counter affidavits having a bearing on the locus of the petitioner. In view
of this objection, the petitioner has through his learned counsel decided to
press the petition and not to apply for withdrawal with liberty as was
initially sought. 
In the petition as
it was initially filed, the third respondent was not impleaded as a party. Yet,
serious allegations in regard to the occupation of the third respondent were
contained in paragraphs 12 and 17 of the writ petition as well as in grounds ‘e’
and ‘f’. In fact, the third respondent was specifically named in paragraph 17
and in ground ‘e’ of the petition. The relief which was sought for the
restoration/construction of toilets and parking in markets and the removal of
encroachments was not confined to a specific area. However, there can be no
manner of doubt that the grant of such relief would have directly affected the
third respondent and it was in that view of the matter that in pursuance of an
order dated 25 October 2013 passed on the application filed by the third
respondent, that he came to be impleaded as a party. The third respondent has
placed sufficient material before the Court to place the bona fides of the
petitioner under a serious cloud. 
In this view of the
matter, we are of the view that it would not be appropriate to issue a specific
direction in a matter of this nature where the process of the Court has been
invoked by a person who had evidently attempted to encroach upon public property
himself in an unlawful manner and who has an axe to grind against a person who
now has been impleaded as the third respondent. 
We however clarify
that the order of this Court declining to entertain the petition at the behest
of the petitioner would not come in the way of the Vice Chairperson of the LDA
from ensuring that due and necessary steps are taken in accordance with law for
the maintenance of toilets and for dealing with any encroachments made in the
toilets and parking facilities in the markets at Gomti Nagar extension scheme
in accordance with law. The purpose of providing public amenities is to ensure
the convenience and welfare of the members of the public. The authority cannot
be a mute spectator if such amenities which are extended to facilitate the
convenience of users and visitors are encroached upon in violation of the lay
out plan. We expressly clarify that we have entered no finding of fact in
regard to the specific allegations against the third respondent since the
directions which have been issued to the authority would be broad enough to
entitle it to look into all aspects of the matter and to exercise its powers in
accordance with law to fulfil the purpose of setting up amenities in the lay
out. 
The petition is,
accordingly, disposed of. There shall be no order as to costs. 
Order Date :-
28.9.2015 
RK (Dr D Y
Chandrachud, CJ) 

2 comments on Public Interest litigation is boon for poor and downtrodden section but actually they are deprived from it.

  1. We expressly clarify that we have entered no finding of fact in regard to the specific allegations against the third respondent since the directions which have been issued to the authority would be broad enough to entitle it to look into all aspects of the matter and to exercise its powers in accordance with law to fulfil the purpose of setting up amenities in the lay out.
    The petition is, accordingly, disposed of. There shall be no order as to costs.
    Order Date :- 28.9.2015
    RK (Dr D Y Chandrachud, CJ)

  2. Undoubtedly judicial members in the name of providing justice to poor and downtrodden section,increased their powers extensively but most important question before us is that whether fragment of this benefit is reaching to poor and downtrodden section if not then unnecessary encroachment on the powers of executive and legislature must be curbed. More discretion to public functionaries more corruption in the system.

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