'Sheer Abuse Of Court Process': Bombay High Court Dismisses PIL With ₹50,000 Cost

'Sheer Abuse Of Court Process': Bombay High Court Dismisses PIL With ₹50,000 Cost

The petitioner claimed that he intends to espouse a public cause, but said that he is engaged in similar business.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 11:06 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File pic

Terming it to be a ‘sheer abuse’ of the court process, the Bombay High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition by a contractor challenging conditions of a tender issued by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). 

The court also imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner, one Nilesh Kamble, to be paid within four weeks to the BMC-run King Edward Memorial Hospital. The court noted that although the petition had ostensibly been lodged in the public’s interest, it appeared to have been filed with ulterior motives. 

Kamble claimed to be a social worker and engaged in a similar business mentioned in the tender issued by the MMRDA, said he was therefore aggrieved by the eligibility conditions in the bid.

Court Criticises Motives And Process Of PIL In Tender Challenge Case

The court said it was ‘unfortunate’ to adjudicate in the petition with ‘oblique motives’ which is ‘purportedly filed in public interest’. Petitioner’s advocate Indira Labde submitted that due to impugned tender conditions, some of the contractors were not able to participate in the bidding process. 

The court noted that there has been a phenomenal rise of the PIL petitions being filed before the superior courts. It said that rules related to who can file PILs had been relaxed by permitting any member of society or an organisation to espouse the cause of those in disadvantageous situations, poor or illiterate.

“However, permitting a contractor to file a PIL petition challenging the conditions of a tender, in our opinion, is nothing but a sheer abuse of process of Court and an effort to pollute the purity of the stream of Public Interest Litigation,” a bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif S Doctor said on Tuesday. 

Petitioner Expresses His Intentions To Espouse Public Cause

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, the HC said that the apex court held that “frivolous PILs which intend to plead personal or any other extraneous cause should be discouraged and such PIL petitions should be nipped in the bud”. 

The petitioner claimed that he intends to espouse a public cause, but said that he is engaged in similar business. The petitioner further said he had filed the PIL as a last resort and he did not have any personal interest in the matter, the bench noted in its order. 

“Such statement if seen juxtaposed with the particulars of the petitioner, as disclosed by him in this PIL petition itself, is absolutely strange and simply dis-entitles the petitioner to seek any relief in this PIL petition,” the court underlined. 

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