The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding alleged unsafe waterbodies in the state observing that Information gathered from social media cannot be part of the pleadings in a petition.
"You are wasting judicial time"
“Information gathered from social media cannot be part of pleadings in a PIL. You (petitioner) cannot be so irresponsible while filing PILs. You are wasting judicial time,” said a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor.
The observation was made during the hearing in a PIL filed by advocate Ajitsingh Ghorpade claiming that every year around 1,500 to 2,000 people lose their lives in unsafe water bodies in Maharashtra.
The PIL in discussion
The PIL sought that the Maharashtra government be directed to take necessary measures to safeguard waterfalls and water bodies in the state. Advocate Manindra Pandey, appearing for Ghorpade, submitted that around 1,500 to 2000 persons lose their lives at such unsafe waterfalls and water bodies every year.
On a specific court query on the source of information regarding the number of deaths, Pandey said that he has got the information from newspapers and social media posts.
Bench notes that PIL was vague
To this, the bench noted that the PIL was vague and did not contain many details and added that it could not entertain such a plea as it was a "sheer wastage" of time.
CJ said, "Somebody goes for a picnic and accidentally drowns, therefore a PIL? Someone drowns in an accident, how is it a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 (equality and life).”
Pandey urged the court to direct the government to steps to ensure safety of people who visit such water bodies and waterfalls. However, the bench said that most of the accidents occur due to "reckless acts".
“What do you expect from the Maharashtra government? Can each and every waterfall and water body be manned by the police?” quipped the CJ.
The petitioner pointed out that there have been drowning instances where there was no rescue team to save the person. Due to this, the body is recovered after two-three days.
Ghorpade withdraws PIL
The bench then asked whether the petitioner himself had visited any such waterfall or water body or whether he had personally ascertained which one was more dangerous or unsafe.
The judges then asked the petitioner to withdraw the PIL and asked him to file a “better” PIL with proper details. Accordingly, Ghorpade withdrew the PIL.