Supreme Court has recently observed that a Public Interest Litigation cannot be thrown out only because the petitioner belongs to a rival political party. The Court has observed that the persons with political affiliations are, as much entitled to file public interest litigation as any other person.
The observations have been made by the Court in its order granting interim relief to Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's election agent SK Supian in relation to matter of revived FIRs against him in Nandigram violence case.
While noting that the Court is required to examine if litigation is really in the public interest or to advance some other interest in the garb of public interest, it observed that
A division Bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Krishna Murari noted that its true that Court is required to examine if litigation is really in the public interest or to advance some other interest in the garb of public interest. However, the question of whether the litigation is bona fide or not is a different issue which has to be examined by the Court on a case to case basis, having regard to the nature of the complaint before it.
The observations were made in response to submissions by petitioner's Counsel Sr Adv Vikas Singh and Sr Adv AM Singhvi appearing for the State of West who had submitted that the Public Interest Litigations were initiated by persons belonging to a political party for oblique reasons and should therefore have not been entertained.
With regards to petitioner's arguments regarding the Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor in charge of a case withdrawing from the prosecution of any person with Court's consent, the Court has observed that it need not go into that question at this stage.
"At this stage we need not go into the question of whether the Public Prosecutor/Assistant Prosecutor concerned applied his mind to the charges against the accused persons or whether the facts and circumstances of the case warranted discharge of the accused." the Court has observed
Supreme Court has on Friday granted interim relief to Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's election agent SK Supian, while ordering an ad-inetrim stay on the High Court's order dated 5 March 2021 issued in response to a PIL. The FIRs in which SK Supian was named in relation to the Nandigram violence were withdrawn by the West Bengal government in 2020.
The Court has observed that writ petitions are pending in the High Court and has asked the Division Bench of the High Court to take up the pleas and finally decide the same within a week or two. It will therefore be open to the respective parties to raise all contentions before the High Court.
The Court observed that as the impugned order effects the petitioner and was passed without hearing petitioner, its deemed appropriate to pass an interim order staying operation of the order dated 5th March 2022 so far as it pertains to the petitioner for a period of 2 weeks till date or until the order of High Court hears the case, whichever is earlier.
The present Special Leave Petition has been filed by Sk. Supian, being aggrieved by the passing of an order by the Calcutta High Court on 05.03.2021 in a PIL petition, without him being given notice, being impleaded, or an opportunity to be heard, which resulted in re-institution of criminal cases against him in which he was discharged or acquitted in February 2020.
The Petitioner has stated that he was discharged by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in February 2020, under S. 321, CrPC, in certain criminal cases. These cases were based on baseless charge sheets filed in the context of mass protests against improper land acquisition measures undertaken by the Government of West Bengal during the years 2007-2009 to create a Special Economic Zone in Nandigram, West Bengal.
According to the petitioner, the cases against him alleged that he had engaged in an unlawful assembly and had participated in the violence. However, in February 2020 and June 2020, the public prosecutor had filed applications in these cases for withdrawal of prosecution. The High Court in two PILs Dipak Misra v. State of West Bengal & Ors., and Nilanjan Adhikary v. State of West Bengal and Ors., reversed the decision to discharge and acquit him.
Supian in his plea alleged that his personal liberty has been prejudiced, as he was not impleaded before passing of the impugned order, and was granted no opportunity to be heard by the High Court. He became aware of the cases upon knowledge of initiation of the process to issue arrest warrants when criminal cases were reinstituted against him by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Contai.