High Courts Shall Be Watchful Of Instances Of Misuse Of PIL: Supreme Court

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Supreme Court of India once again warned High Courts about the menace of misuse of Public Interest Litigation. There have been instances in past where PublicInterest Litigation has been used by the litigants to fuel their own vested interests.

Facts of the Case

State of UP the respondent in the present case had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Allahabad High Court praying that Hon’ble High Court issue a writ of mandamus directing the state government to establish new Tehsil building forTehsil Hasanpur Village Karanpur Mafi in the District of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh. Division Bench was observed that government had in fact granted funds for construction of new Tehsil Office Building for Hasanpur, District Amrohaand accordingly allowed the Petition. Aggrieved by this decision Petitioner filed a recall application which was rejected by the Learned High Court through an order dated 13.10.2017. Petitioner appealed against this order in theSupreme Court of India.

Petitioner contended that PIL filed by the Respondent was for his personal gain as the PIL sought construction of New Tehsil office building was at a new location which was closer to the area owned by the family of the respondent to jack up the property prices in that area. Respondent filed a counter affidavit which stated that the State Government had acquired a land for construction of new Uttar Pradesh decided to demolish the old building and construct a new one at its place. After the order of Learned High Court of Allahabad decision was taken to construct the new building at the new location.

The decision of the Court

Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India after listening to both the sides and going through the counter affidavit filed by the respondent ruled that “Petition which was filed in the High Court by the Respondent was not a genuine petition in Public Interest but was done to subserve the personal interest of the Respondent”   

The bench further said that it was crystal clear from the counter affidavit theState Government had decided to reconstruct the old building rather than transferring it and Later changed it to comply with the order of Allahabad High Court.

Bench observed that

Where a Tehsil building should be constructed is not a matter of High Court to determine in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. These of mandamus administrative matters and decision have to be taken by Uttar Pradesh. The High Courts must remain vigilant to funds for to misuse PILs to subserve extraneous and motivated purposes. Such efforts must be dealt with firmly.”

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