There must be a real and genuine public interest involved in the litigation and not only an adventure of a law graduate, who in spite of a professional degree chooses not to practice law and claims to be unemployed youth instead, the court said.
The Sikkim High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation filed by an ‘unemployed’ Law graduate, who claimed to be a social worker, against setting up of a state museum, which according to him, is not in public interest and that the funds should be diverted for other public purposes.
Puran Alley, in his petition, alleged that there is no overall development in the state and the money received from the Centre had not been utilized in the proper place for the uplift of the downtrodden people of Sikkim. His ‘research’ found out that shortcoming were that the funds were utilized on non-productive schemes; there was no proper allocation of funds to such schemes which would directly benefit the downtrodden; the funds were provided for religious matters; funds were not provided for construction of roads, electricity, establishment of specialized hospitals, schools, research work, technical education, medical facilities etc. which are the basic requirements of the people.
His specific prayer was to quash the entire tender process for setting up of Sikkim State Museum in Gangtok and to utilize fund earmarked for this Tender for other projects to meet the basic needs of the people.
“There is not a single reason cited as to why or how setting up of a museum is not in public interest. It is a policy decision of the Respondent to set up this museum,” a bench of Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan observed.
The bench further said: “There must be a real and genuine public interest involved in the litigation and not only an adventure of a law graduate, who in spite of a professional degree chooses not to practice law and claims to be unemployed youth instead. Public Interest Litigation remedy cannot be resorted to unless it is bonafide. The Petitioner’s evidently irrational perception that setting up of a museum is non-productive cannot invoke the jurisdiction of this Court to go roving into the process of the tender.”
Dismissing his PIL in limine, the bench said that writ court cannot interfere unless the policy is opposed to constitutional and statutory provisions or suffers from manifest arbitrariness, unreasonableness or absurdity and its interference on mere allegation smelling foul play at every level of administration is unhealthy and bound to make governance impossible. “A public-spirited individual must not only make such allegations that the act of the Government smacks of arbitrariness, unreasonableness or illegality but must necessarily substantiate the said allegations,” the court added.