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"Unfortunate That PIL Being Used For Blackmailing Citizens": Delhi High Court Imposes ₹10 Lakhs Cost On NGO Alleging Illegal Construction

Nupur Thapliyal
4 Aug 2022 4:45 AM GMT
Unfortunate That PIL Being Used For Blackmailing Citizens: Delhi High Court Imposes ₹10 Lakhs Cost On NGO Alleging Illegal Construction
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The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakhs on an NGO alleging illegal and unauthorised construction in city's Neb Sarai area, observing that it was unfortunate that PIL forum was being used for blackmailing citizens. Observing that it was a blackmailing type of litigation, a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed...

The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakhs on an NGO alleging illegal and unauthorised construction in city's Neb Sarai area, observing that it was unfortunate that PIL forum was being used for blackmailing citizens.

Observing that it was a blackmailing type of litigation, a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed the NGO to deposit the cost to Army War Widows Fund within a period of 30 days.

The PIL was filed by New Rise Foundation Regd. Charitable Trust, claiming that it provides shelter to orphan children and food to the poor, alleging that an illegal structure was in existence admeasuring 600 sq. yards.

It was stated that the NGO had made various representations to various authorities, however, no steps were taken in respect of unauthorised or illegal structure.

The counsel appearing for Municipal Corporation of Delhi, on the other hand, submitted that while they were taking action with promptitude, the NGO was involved in blackmailing builders and other people.

"It is very unfortunate that the noble forum of PIL is now being used for blackmailing the citizens. This is not a PIL at all. It is, in fact, a litigation based upon certain photographs resulting in blackmailing type of litigation," the Court said.

The Court observed that the NGO had deliberately suppressed the fact that an earlier writ petition filed in respect of the same property, was dismissed as withdrawn.

The Court said, "The Petitioner otherwise also wants a roving enquiry to be done based upon some photographs and there is no other evidence brought on record to arrive at a conclusion that the structure in question is an unauthorised construction."

It added, "The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid case has shown concern about misuse of Public Interest Litigation and has also shown concern about the large number of Public Interest Litigations which have flooded the High Courts and the Hon'ble Supreme Court. It has been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that personal scores, personal disputes and political rivalries should not be resolved through PIL."

While calling it a sheer abuse of process of law and imposing cost, the Court directed the Registrar General to monitor the recovery of the same.

Case Title: NEW RISE FOUNDATION REGD. CHARITABLE TRUST v. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION DELHI AND ORS.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 748

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