NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has upheld a fine of Rs1 lakh imposed by Bombay High Court on a society for filing a public interest litigation (PIL) “for motivated reasons, without any public interest”. The top court has criticised the practice, which is gaining ground of late, of using PILs as an instrument to target infrastructure projects, particularly in Delhi and Mumbai.
The high court had smelled the rat here and this is happening especially across Delhi and Mumbai, said a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha
When a PIL is filed against a particular property, the high court is often aware of the reasons behind the party approaching the court.
Sarthi Seva Sangh had moved the high court challenging redevelopment of a plot at Worli. The high court asked the petitioner to produce a copy of its memorandum of association after it claimed its aim was to promote ecology.
The court, however, found that ecology was not the reason behind filing the petition. It dismissed the PIL with a cost of Rs1 lakh.
The matter was taken to the Supreme Court, which agreed with the high court and said that the latter rightly sensed that the idea of the PIL was to target the project.
In such cases of redevelopment projects, another competitor is behind such petitions and they join hands with other builders, the bench observed. Justice Chandrachud said he had sat across many such cases when he was in Bombay High Court.
The apex court said the cost imposed by the high court has to be paid as it is a misuse of judicial time.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)