The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked a petitioner, who has filed over 35 petitions in the tribunal over the past four years, to “disclose the sources of funding of various litigations” filed by him.
In an order dated January 4, the NGT bench, comprising chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice S P Wangdi, Justice K Ramakrishnan and judicial member Dr Nagin Nanda, pointed out that applicant Shailesh Singh had filed a “large number of petitions” through advocates.
“It is not known what is the source of funding of such petitions, nor such source is disclosed. No doubt, a public-spirited person can raise an issue of public interest bona fide but it should not involve personal gain or oblique motive behind alleged public interest. A court or tribunal must satisfy itself in this regard and ascertain credentials of such applicant,” it said in the order.
Most of Singh’s petitions have been against the State of Uttar Pradesh, while some are against sugar mills and hotels for either extracting groundwater illegally or polluting water sources.
The tribunal directed that Singh disclose the sources of funding along with particulars of applications filed in the green tribunal.
“If the affidavit is not filed, we may have to enquire into the motives and objectives of the applicant and, if necessary, debar him from filing any such petitions in the future by inferring lack of bona fides or there being personal interest instead of public interest,” said the order.