The Bombay High Court recently dismissed a petition demanding a direction to the State Government to frame a policy document outlining the rules for allotting permanent accommodation to the Judicial Officers who have put in 15 years of service.
The order was passed by a Bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice MS Karnik on a petition filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar.
The court noted that Tirodkar was essentially trying to espouse the cause of Judicial Officers. It then went on to examine whether such a petition can be entertained.
It took note of the judgment in S.P. Gupta v. Union of India, to highlight the fact that while the role of locus has been diluted, this can only be done for the benefit of a party which cannot approach the court due to social or economic constraints.
“No doubt that the Hon'ble Apex Court from the Judgment in the case of S.P. Gupta Vs. Union of India AIR 1982 SC 149 onwards has diluted the rule of locus. Public Interest Litigation at the behest of party which is not in a sense aggrieved party would also be entertained by this Court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Not only that the Court may also act on an postcard addressed to the Court. However, such rule of locus would be diluted only when the party for whose benefit the Petition is said to be filed, for variety of reasons like the social or economic constraints is not in a position to approach this Court directly,” it explained.
The court then opined that “a class of Judicial Officers who have put in 15 years of service cannot be said to be socially or economically constrained, so as not to approach this Court for redressal of their grievance if in fact such a grievance exits.”
It, therefore, asserted that exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in this case, would “not be only transgressing our limitations under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, but entering into the area of Judicial adventurism or judicial terrorism”.
The petition was thereafter dismissed.