To sift out ‘publicity interest litigations’,HC lays down PIL norms

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has laid down parameters for filing of PILs.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Published: October 16, 2013 5:03:47 am

Inundated with “publicity interest litigations” filed in the garb of public interest litigations (PILs),the Punjab and Haryana High Court has laid down parameters for filing of PILs.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has ordered that a petitioner filing a PIL will have to disclose his source of living; “what public interest he has been espousing”; and the work done by him in that connection. Also,“particulars of any matter preferred by him as PIL earlier on which the Court has passed orders” will have to be furnished by the petitioner by way of an affidavit. The petitioner “will have to specifically disclose his credentials”.

Unless the required parameters are met,the Registry of the High Court has been directed not to clear the petition for hearing. “It cannot imply merely writing a sentence that a person is residing in the State,is public-spirited and is,thus,filing a PIL,” the order reads.

Taking note of the “publicity” driven petitions,the division bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice Augustine George Masih has held that “we are emphasising the aforesaid aspects because we find that we are inundated with PILs which truly are not PILs in the sense the concept is envisaged. They are either personal angst,someone reading a newspaper and annexing a copy of the newspaper making it a cause,making general allegations without any research about the subject or persons who have really no experience or exposure about the subject matter sought to be raised. These are,in fact,purely publicity interest litigations rather than PILs wasting judicial time”.

The bench has also cited one such instance wherein a person had filed a “PIL” against encroachments made by occupants of the shops located in a Municipal Council. The bench noted that the petitioner did not make any representation to the authorities concerned to take a remedial action but “straightaway filed the PIL”.

The court has ruled that an aggrieved person has to first approach the authority concerned and “on failure to take action only” can “approach the Court for redressal of the grievance”.

Referring to the existing Maintainability of Public Interest Litigation Rules,2010,the bench observed that “the present nature of grievance,a cause on which many PILs are filed,is really in the nature of allegations against the municipal authorities for failure to perform their statutory duties”.

The Registry of the High Court has been directed to “ensure strict compliance” with the parameters and return the petitions “styled as PIL with objection(s) unless these parameters are specified”.

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