“The fundamental object of public interest litigation is to enforce fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions but not to set right the private dispute or to bring the parties to terms.”
Public Interest Litigation cannot be used as a tool to wreck vengeance, the Karnataka High Court has remarked while dismissing a PIL filed by a lady who had filed criminal cases against her husband.
The lady, who has made several suggestions in the PIL to reform justice delivery system, prayed before the court for a direction to the state and police authorities to implement the same. It was also her contention that the settlements made out of courts with an intrusion of strong elements supported by politicians, rowdy elements or police by shelling out money, has defeated the justice delivery system.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice S Sujatha observed that multiple proceedings involving the petitioner lady were pending consideration/disposed of relating to the disputes raised under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Sections 498-A, 506, 504, 420 of IPC.
The bench then remarked: “If such suggestions or proposals made by the petitioners be considered to resolve their disputes and directions be issued in the PIL, we are afraid that the same would lead to anomalies giving scope to the individual perceptions, designed to achieve a personal gain or private profit. In other words, each and every dispute, if not adjudicated and decided to the satisfaction of the litigants, would partake the character of a PIL meddling with the judicial process for oblique considerations, contrary to the noble object of the PIL espousing the cause of the public and well established legal procedures enacted/prescribed to adjudicate a dispute judiciously.”
The court also noted that the petition though styled as“public interest litigation”, is filed to foster personal disputes or vendetta to bring to terms a person. The bench observed that such petitions require to ‘be thrown out at the threshold’.
It further said: “Public Interest Litigation cannot be used as a tool to wreck vengeance as well as to malign the morale of the officers. The fundamental object of public interest litigation is to enforce fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions but not to set right the private dispute or to bring the parties to terms. The action of the petitioners pretending to act in the name of pro bono publico, only to get private profit or personal gain should be discouraged. We are convinced that the petitioners are seeking reliefs in a sinister manner which is nothing but a frivolous litigation masked to resolve the family dispute circumventing the regular judicial process.”
As regards the petitioner’s suggestions, the bench said that no individual in personal capacity can issue any guidelines to the union/state/statutory authorities and seek for implementation of such personal guidelines.
“In the garb of bringing reforms in the justice delivery system, the scope of public interest litigation cannot be widened to serve private interest in the pending litigation,” the court added.