Sabarimala: Kerala HC Finds Shobha Surendran's PIL Against Police Measures 'Mischievous'; Imposes ₹ 25000 As Costs [Read Judgment]

Sabarimala: Kerala HC Finds Shobha Surendran

A PIL filed by BJP leader Shobha Surendran questioning police measures in Sabarimala was dismissed by the High Court of Kerala  today by imposing cost of ₹ 25,000.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar observed that the petition was filed with mischievous intentions and for cheap publicity.

"in our perception, this litigation is not a bona fide one but is filed with an oblique motive and is intended to generate publicity for the petitioner", stated Justice Jayasankaran Nambiar in the judgment written for the Division Bench.

It was alleged in her petition that police was harassing pilgrims. She also sought a direction to the State government and State Police Chief to furnish list of devotees arrested after the Supreme Court judgment permitting women entry in Sabarimala and disciplinary action against police officials.

The Division Bench expressed its strong displeasure at the nature of allegations in the petition. The main prayer sought in the writ petition was to direct the State to constitute a special committee of senior police officials to train investigators and to ensure that undeserved acquittals do not occur due to faulty investigation and prosecution, as per the directions of Supreme Court in State of Gujarat vs Kishanlal case. However, the interim prayer sought was to direct the police to submit list of cases registered against Ayyappa devotees after September 28. The Court found that the interim prayer had no connection with the main prayer.

During argument, the counsel for Surendran submitted that a Central Minister and even a judge of the High Court had to face rude behaviour from an IPS officer stationed at Sabarimala. This was not appreciated by the bench, which chided the counsel for making submissions unconnected with the main prayer.

"Even a cursory examination of the pleadings, it can be seen that the personal interest of the petitioner is sought to be espoused through the writ petition, where the averments are in such a way as to mask the real intention...The interim prayers sought in the writ petition would also suggest that the petitioner is trying to abuse the Court's process. Therefore, it is obvious that it is not a bona fide litigation but one with ulterior motive", noted the bench in the judgment.

Though the counsel tendered apology and sought permission to withdraw the petition, the Court proceeded to impose costs for abusing process.  The cost has to be paid to the Kerala Legal Services Authority.

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