Karnataka HC Dismisses Motivated PIL Against Excess Private Ownership Of Agricultural Land, Says Purity Of Means Relevant For Achieving Noble Ends

Update: 2023-02-08 11:50 GMT

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation filed by one Jana Jagruthi Samithi and others seeking a directions to the State Authority, to see that certain private persons are not holding excess land beyond permissible limit and that such excess land be distributed among landless persons.

A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi on going through the records said “The petition is nothing but a clear misuse of a tool of public interest litigation for settling the personal score or targeting the respondents on a personal grudge.

Following which it imposed a cost of Rs.10,000, on the petitioners which is to be deposited with the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, within four weeks.

The petitioners claimed that the authorities have failed to perform their duty in conducting the enquiry on the complaints made by them and the respondent Nos.5 to 11 are the persons who are holding excess land.

The state government opposed the plea saying that on receipt of complaint, an enquiry was conducted insofar as respondent Nos.6, 7, 8, 10 & 11 and in the enquiry it was revealed that these respondents are not holding any excess land.

The private respondents submitted that though the petition is filed in this Court under the caption of ‘PIL’, the petition is nothing but a tool being used against them with a personal vendetta.

Further, it was said that the petitioners were well aware of the enquiry being conducted by the Tahsildar on complaint. It was claimed that petitioner No.2 – President of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Yuvasene (R) was an employee and temporarily working with the enterprise of respondent Nos.10 and 11, namely, Jyothi Traders as well as in Hotel and Restaurant which belong to the brother-in-law of respondent Nos.10 and 11.

Since, he committed misdeed in the nature of misappropriation, he was removed from his job. Feeling aggrieved, a complaint against respondent Nos.10 and 11 was filed by him. The respondents placed on record a copy of the FIR registered on 06.12.2017 at the instance of Srinivas Goudra S/o Neelanagouda Goudra against - 11.

Refuting the submission the petitioner claimed the name of the President of petitioner No.2 is Srinivasa Nayaka and his father’s name is Neelanagouda Goudra.

Following which the court noted that the address of the President of petitioner No.2 is the same address referred to as address of the complainant/informant in the FIR. It said “ the fact remains that the President of petitioner No.2 had lodged a complaint/report against respondent Nos.10 and 11 alleging the offences under Section 504, 506 r/w 34 of IPC as well as under Section 3(1)(10) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”

Then it opined “The first and foremost principle to entertain the PIL is unquestionable and the bonafide approach of the petitioner to this Court. It is a prerequisite to satisfy the Court that the petitioner who has approached this Court is neither having any personal interest in the matter nor caries a personal grudge against the respondents.”

Then it held “The President of petitioner No.2 is approaching this Court who is having an admitted grudge against respondent Nos.10 and 11. This sole reason is sufficient enough for us to dismiss the petition. This observation of us would firstly show that petitioner No.2 has not approached this Court with clean hands and suppressed the material facts; secondly, when the material is placed on record questioning the bonafide of petitioner No.2, there is nothing on record to show that petitioner No.2 had countered this submission which is a part of statement of objections and supported by copy of the FIR.”

Further it said “In the statement of objections filed by the respondents 1 to 4—State Authorities, it is clearly reflected that on receipt of complaint, immediately an enquiry was initiated insofar as the respondent is concerned. On conducting enquiry the endorsement / orders were passed.”

“The father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi has laid the greatest stress on the purity of the means for the achievement of noble ends,” the bench said while dismissing the petition.

Case Title: Jana Jagruthi Samithi & ANR And State of Karnataka.

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 36109 OF 2019

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 47

Date of Order: 24-01-2023

Appearance: Advocate Harish Kumar M S for petitioners

AGA Prathima Honnapura for R1 to R4.

Advocate Shivaraj Patil for R3 to R8, R10 & R11

Advocate G S Venkatasubba Rao for R9.

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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