The National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently warned a serial Public Interest Litigant of consequences including debarment, if he fails to disclose the source of funding of the various litigations filed by him before it.
The direction was issued by a bench comprising NGT ChairpersonJustice Adarsh Kumar Goel, SP Wangdi (Judicial Member), K Ramakrishnan (Judicial Member) and Dr. Nagin Nanda (Expert Member).
The litigant in question is Mr. Shailesh Singh, who has filed several such petitions in the Tribunal, with the assertion that he is a journalist and a public spirited person. The NGT, however, now noted that in none of these petitions is the source of funding of these litigations disclosed.
Being wary of permitting PILs which might have been filed with ulterior motives, the bench observed, "No doubt, a public spirited person can raise an issue of public interest bona fide but it should not involve personal gain or oblique motive behind alleged public interest. A Court or Tribunal must satisfy itself in this regard and ascertain credentials of such applicant."
It then directed him to disclose the source of funding of the various litigations filed by him before it, along with particulars of applications filed, within one week.
The failure to file such affidavit, it added, would lead to an enquiry and consequent debarment: "If the affidavit is not filed, we may have to enquire into the motives and objectives of the applicant and, if necessary, debar him from filing any such petitions in future by inferring lack of bonafide or there being personal interest, instead of public interest."
Read the Order Here