The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a public interest litigation filed by Mr. Manohar Lal Sharma, who had moved Court against Order IV Rule 1(c) and Order XXXVIII Rule 12(2)(i)(a) of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013.
These rules provide for “a party wanting to appear and argue the case in person to seek permission therefor and empowering the Registrar to require the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee to assign an Advocate to assist the Court on behalf of such person” and “petitioners in PILs to inter alia disclose their Annual Income, PAN number and National Unique Identity Card number if any in the petition itself.”
Mr. Sharma contented that the rules are also being applied to advocates who want to appear in person. Regarding disclosure of Annual Income and PAN Number, he submitted that the same is against right to privacy; as such information should not be made public.
However, the Court disagreed with the contentions put forward and noted that Mr. Sharma had not raised these issues before the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court Bar Association, of which Mr. Sharma is himself a member.
Senior Advocate Mr. Siddharth Luthra appeared for the Supreme Court in this matter and submitted to the High Court that the Supreme Court Bar Association has already filed a writ petition regarding Supreme Court Rules, 2013 in the Supreme Court. Mr. Sharma then contended that his petition is regarding specific rules while the petition in the Supreme Court is regarding the Rules in general.
However, his argument failed to find favour which the Bench headed by Chief Justice Rohini which said, “The petitioner on enquiry admitted that he is a Member of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Once the Bar Association has taken up the issue in the Supreme Court, the petitioner being one of the members cannot be allowed to open an independent front. The proper course for the petitioner would be to approach the Bar Association to also make a specific challenge to the subject Rule and / or avail of other remedies before the Supreme Court only. We also do not appreciate the petitioner rushing to this Court without even making any representation to the Supreme Court. If the petitioner had any grievance in the working of any Rule, as the case appears to be, the remedy of the petitioner was to first make a representation in that regard.”
The Bench, which also had Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw then dismissed the petition by observing, “We, in the aforesaid facts and circumstances do not find any case for entertaining the present petition in public interest and dismiss the same with liberty of course to the petitioner to avail any of the remedies suggested by us.”
Read the Judgment here.