Madras HC Dismisses PIL Seeking Regulations On Filing And Withdrawal Of PILs

Madras HC Dismisses PIL Seeking Regulations On Filing And Withdrawal Of PILs

HC rejected petitioner’s plea to withdraw PIL that sought Regulations on withdrawal of PILs

‘Registrar General of this High Court cannot frame regulations/rules, as to how a writ Court, in exercise of the powers, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, should exercise powers, when orders are passed allowing the petitioner, to withdraw PILs.’

The Madras High Court recently dismissed public interest litigation filed by a ‘magazine editor’ who sought regulations on filing and registration of PILs and withdrawal of the same.

Varaaki, who claimed himself to be an editor of a magazine, Indian Reporter, had filed a PIL in which he contended that many PILs are filed for personal interest only. To ‘avoid wasting of precious time of the High Court’, he sought for a direction to high court registrar to frame regulations, rule or scheme for presenting and registration/filing of public interest writ petitions and also withdrawing the same.

Advocate C Chokkalingam appeared for Varaaki before the bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice PT Asha. As the arguments proceeded and the bench warned the lawyer that the PIL is liable to be dismissed with costs, he sought permission to withdraw it. However, the bench refused such a request.

The bench said: “There could be regulations framed in exercise of the powers under Article 225 of the Constitution of India, as to how, a PIL should be filed. Considering the reasons assigned, that time is wasted in Courts, in entertaining Public Interest writ petitions, though on merits, and on the facts and circumstances of this case, we find that in the instant writ petition is also one such writ petition and not permitted to be withdrawn, we are of the view that the petitioner, claimed to be an Editor of Magazine, Indian Reporter, has not made any effort to ascertain, as to whether, High Court, Madras, under Article 225 of the Constitution of India has framed any regulations, in the matter of filing/registration of a PIL and thus, wasted the time of this Court.”

The court said that rules have already been framed for regulating registration/filings of PIL. But it said that Registrar General of the High Court cannot frame regulations/rules, as to how a writ court, in the exercise of the powers, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, should exercise powers, when orders are passed allowing the petitioner, to withdraw PILs.

“Rules/Regulations, if any, framed governing presentation/registration of any public interest writ petition, are matters to be decided by the Registry. No authority or Court can frame any regulations, as to how, a Constitutional Court should decide a writ petition, filed under Article 226 or revision under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. In exercise of the powers, under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution of India, Courts are empowered to decide, as to whether PILs filed are maintainable; whether any notice is required to be issued to the respondents therein; whether, on response, required to be adjudicated or not, or to permit the petitioner therein, to withdraw the writ petition, filed under the caption, "Public Interest Writ Petition".

The bench finally dismissed the PIL without imposing any costs.


Read Judgment here