20 Jun 2023 10:22 AM GMT
The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹200 notes from circulation and stopping reprint of all the denominations above ₹200 in the future.While terming the petition to be a ‘Publicity Interest Litigation’, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Rakesh Mohan Pandey said,“The petitioner...
The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹200 notes from circulation and stopping reprint of all the denominations above ₹200 in the future.
While terming the petition to be a ‘Publicity Interest Litigation’, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Rakesh Mohan Pandey said,
“The petitioner has no locus standi to file the present PIL for the reliefs claimed therein as it appears that for oblique motive, the present PIL has been filed by the petitioner, who is not expert in the field, for which, this PIL has been filed and the PIL just amounts to ‘Publicity Interest Litigation’.”
Mithlesh Kumar Sahu, the petitioner-in-person submitted that corruption and fake notes are increasing and it is noticed that crores of rupees (in cash) have been recovered during the raids conducted by the Enforcement Directorate. He argued cash transactions are the main source of corruption.
He told the Court that he has prepared a proposal to stop corruption and fake banknotes for which he shared free strategies to the Reserve Bank of India, Central Vigilance Commission as well as Ministry of Finance through PMO portal on 09.04.2023, but no action has been taken in that regard.
Hence, he prayed that a direction may be issued to the respondent authorities to withdraw from circulation the notes of ₹500 and ₹200 also and not to re-print the ₹2000, ₹1000, ₹500 and ₹200 denomination banknotes in the future.
He also urged that there should not be more than one saving account per person and not more than one current account per business. Moreover, cash withdrawal must be limited ₹5000 per month per account for saving bank account and ₹10,000 per month per account for current bank account.
Lastly, he also prayed that a direction must be passed to the respondent authorities to not to file any FIR if more than ₹5000 or ₹10,000 cash are lost or stolen from any individual or businessman respectively until they have a written or printed proof of ownership of that amount.
However, it was argued for the Union of India that the matter relates to policy decision to be taken by the Central Government or the Reserve Bank of India where the Court should not ideally interfere. Further, it questioned locus standi of the petitioner to file the very petition.
After hearing the parties, the Court was of the view that it must prima facie verify the credentials of the petitioner before entertaining a PIL.
“The Court should also ensure that there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique motive behind filing the public interest litigation. The Courts should ensure the jurisdiction in public interest is invoked for genuine purposes by persons who have bona fide credentials and who do not seek to espouse or pursue any extraneous object”, it added.
The Bench went on to rely upon a number of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court where the above principle has been discussed and reiterated.
Thereafter, delving into the facts of the instant matter, the Court underlined that the petitioner, except for mentioning that he is involved in a social work, has not stated anything to prove his bona fide credentials.
“In short, he has not disclosed his credentials. The petitioner, in the absence of any documentary proof to establish his authority or expertise in doing social work, does not have the requisite credentials to initiate petition in Public Interest”, it observed.
Therefore, being dissatisfied with the genuineness of the petition, the Court deemed it appropriate to dismiss the same. However, it allowed the petitioner to pursue any other efficacious alternative remedy under any other law if he wishes to do so.
Case Title: Mithlesh Kumar Sahu v. Union of India & Ors.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Chh) 16
Case No.: WPPIL No. 58 of 2023
Date of Judgment: June 19, 2023
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mithlesh Kumar Sahu, Petitioner-In-Person
Counsel for the Union of India: Mr. Ramakant Mishra, Deputy Solicitor General
Click Here To Read/Download Order