The Supreme Court recently reminded the high courts of staying watchful of attempts to misuse public interest litigations for promotion of personal agenda.
A Bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah asserted, “The High Courts must remain vigilant to the attempts to misuse PILs to subserve extraneous and motivated purposes. Such efforts must be dealt with firmly. High prerogative writs cannot be utilised for such ends.”
The court was hearing a petition filed by one Alleemuddin, challenging a judgment passed by the Allahabad High Court, which had directed the State Government to take all necessary steps for the construction of a new Tehsil office for Hasanpur, District Amroha at Village Karanpur Mafi.
The SLP now filed before the Apex Court alleged that the PIL filed before the high court for getting the Tehsil building shifted to a new place, was to subserve the PIL petitioner’s personal interest.
It was submitted that the new building would’ve been in close proximity to the land owned by the PIL petitioner or his relatives, thereby leading to an increase in the value of this land.
In the light of these averments, the court opined that the PIL filed before the high court “was not a genuine petition in public interest but was intended to subserve the personal interest” of the PIL petitioner.
It observed, “Where a Tehsil building should be constructed is not a matter for the High court to determine in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. These are essentially administrative matters and a decision has to be taken by the executive.
“This is hence an illustration of how a public interest litigation (PIL) has been utilised to subserve a personal interest.”
The court further noted that before the high court order, the State government had already decided to reconstruct the Tehsil building at the place of the old building, without relocating to a new place.
It therefore ruled that the high court was manifestly in error in directing the State to construct the Tehsil office in a new place. This matter, it said, should have been left to the State government.
The appeal was, therefore, allowed, leaving it open to the State government to take appropriate decision on the construction.
Read the Judgment Here