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Rs 1-lakh cost on petitioner who accused CBI and ED of harassing Delhi liquor vendors

While dismissing the petition, the Delhi High Court referred to the Supreme Court judgments that said 'the newly developed doctrine of Public Interest Litigation should not be permitted to be abused’.

In its September 8 judgment, the court observed that the petitioner had not named a single CBI or ED officer, nor did he give any details of any harassment. (File)

The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on a public-interest litigant for alleging that the CBI and the ED had harassed private liquor vendors in the national capital over the AAP government’s liquor policy.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard a Delhi advocate’s PIL petition that relied on Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia’s statement, made on a TV channel, that “central investigating agencies are harassing private liquor vendors and they have been forced to close their shops” as well as newspaper clippings.

In its September 8 judgment, the court observed that the petitioner had not named a single CBI or ED officer, nor did he give any details of any harassment. “The present petition is nothing but a sheer abuse of the process of law and the petitioner wants a roving inquiry to be done by this court based on vague and absurd allegations,” the court said.

While dismissing the petition, the court referred to the Supreme Court judgments that said “the forum of approaching courts by way of the newly developed doctrine of Public Interest Litigation should not be permitted to be abused”.

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The court imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner to be paid to the Army War Widows Fund within 30 days of the judgment. If the petitioner fails to pay the cost, the New Delhi subdivisional magistrate should recover it as arrears of land revenue and transfer the amount to the fund, the court said.

The court directed the registrar-general to monitor the recovery of the cost and the petitioner to appear before the latter on October 18.

The petitioner had argued that the government’s new liquor policy was aimed at destroying the liquor mafia and ending black-marketing, and sought “a list of 186 private liquor vendors” allegedly harassed by the two central agencies.

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He had also sought a direction to Delhi’s lieutenant governor to identify the people who allegedly harassed private liquor vendors and forced them “to close their shops, thereby depriving them of their right of livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

First published on: 05-10-2022 at 03:10:22 pm
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