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PIL Litigation Alleviated Conditions Of Citizens; But Thousands Of Frivolous PILs being Filed: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
28 Feb 2022 1:18 PM GMT
PIL Litigation Alleviated Conditions Of Citizens; But Thousands Of Frivolous PILs being Filed: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that PIL litigation has alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general.But thousands of frivolous petitions are filed, burdening the docket of both this Court and the High Courts, the bench headed by CJI NV Ramana observed.The court observed that noble intentions behind expanding the Court's jurisdiction were to accommodate...

The Supreme Court observed that PIL litigation has alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general.

But thousands of frivolous petitions are filed, burdening the docket of both this Court and the High Courts, the bench headed by CJI NV Ramana observed.

The court observed that noble intentions behind expanding the Court's jurisdiction were to accommodate socially relevant issues. 

In this case, the writ petitioner had challenged a Government order in favour of the 'Gonsalves family' in the matter of a land admeasuring 5 acres and 20 gunthas. The High Court allowed this writ petition rejecting the objections regarding locus of the petitioner etc.

In appeal, the court noted that the PIL petitioners had no reason to file a public interest litigation when the subject matter was evidently a title claim between a private party and the State. 

"We do not find it appropriate for the High Court to have allowed respondent nos. 1 and 2 to have agitated issues concerning title and ownership in a public interest litigation. The conduct and history of the respondent nos. 1 and 2 is also not inspiring for continuing this unnecessary litigation. 34. Our conclusion is further bolstered by the fact that the State has clearly indicated that they do not have any interest in pursuing the ownership of the land in question and have admitted to the title of the appellants herein. In this light, we hold that institution of the public interest litigation was nothing more than an abuse of the process which cannot be allowed in the facts and circumstance so narrated.", the bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli said.

In the judgment, the bench made the following observations about PIL litigations:

Alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general

Public Interest Litigation is not a new concept in this Court. Although the jurisprudence in this regard has matured, many claims filed in the Courts are sometimes immature. Thousands of frivolous petitions are filed, burdening the docket of both this Court and the High Courts. Noble intentions behind expanding the Court's jurisdiction to accommodate socially relevant issues, in recent decades, have been critically analyzed. In our view, PIL litigation has had a beneficial effect on the Indian jurisprudence and has alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general. For those at the receiving end of the Court's directions, we can only advise "C'est la vie".


Ensure that frivolous or private interests are not masqueraded as genuine claims

One of the measures this Court can adopt to ensure that frivolous or private interests are not masqueraded as genuine claims, is to be cautious when examining locus standi. Generally, PIL, being a summary jurisdiction, has limited powers to examine the bonafides of parties. It is usually on the pleadings that the Court should take a prima facie view on the bonafides of the party. If the Court concludes that the litigation was initiated under the shadow of reasonable suspicion, then the Court may decline to entertain the claims on merits. In these cases, Courts have multiple options – such as dismissing the PIL or appointing an amicus curiae, if the cause espoused in the case requires the immediate attention of the Court


Headnotes

Constitution of India, 1950 - Article 32, 226 - Public Interest Litigation - Locus Standi -One of the measures to ensure that frivolous or private interests are not masqueraded as genuine claims, is to be cautious when examining locus standi. Generally, PIL, being a summary jurisdiction, has limited powers to examine the bonafides of parties. It is usually on the pleadings that the Court should take a prima facie view on the bonafides of the party. If the Court concludes that the litigation was initiated under the shadow of reasonable suspicion, then the Court may decline to entertain the claims on merits. In these cases, Courts have multiple options – such as dismissing the PIL or appointing an amicus curiae, if the cause espoused in the case requires the immediate attention of the Court. (Para 22)

Constitution of India, 1950 - Article 32, 226 - Public Interest Litigation - PIL litigation has had a beneficial effect on the Indian jurisprudence and has alleviated the conditions of the citizens in general - Thousands of frivolous petitions are filed, burdening the docket of both this Court and the High Courts - Many claims filed in the Courts are sometimes immature. Noble intentions behind expanding the Court's jurisdiction to accommodate socially relevant issues, in recent decades, have been critically analyzed. (Para 21)

Administrative Law-  Natural Justice - Importance of natural justice and an opportunity of hearing to be afforded to the affected party in any administrative or quasi­ judicial proceedings. (Para 28)

Summary: Appeal against High Court Judgment allowing PIL in the matter of a title claim between a private party and the State - Allowed - The State clearly indicated that they do not have any interest in pursuing the ownership of the land in question and have admitted to the title of the appellants - Institution of the public interest litigation was nothing more than an abuse of the process.


Case:  Esteem Properties Pvt. Ltd. vs Chetan Kamble | CA 10425 OF 2010 | 28 Feb 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 226
Coram: CJI NV Ramana, Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli
Counsel: Sr. Adv Mukul Rohatgi for appellants, Adv Rahul Chitnis for respondent - State, Adv Tapesh Kumar Singh for respondents


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