Litigants must exhaust all other legal remedies before approaching the High Court with PILs seeking criminal action against a person, organisation or a government official, the Bombay High Court said on Thurday.
The petitioner must try to get his or her statement recorded with the police or approach a magistrate with the complaint before going to the HC, it said.
A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city resident and advocate Vivekanand Gupta, alleging serious irregularities on part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the construction of roads and de-silting of drains between 2013 and 2016.
After the PIL was filed last year, the city police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had lodged a case on the issue against several BMC officials and other private persons, and submitted probe reports to the court from time-to-time.
The bench today said the petitioner, Gupta, should first go to the police and get his statement recorded.
“Before filing PILs, the citizens, especially the activists who know the law and its procedure, should exhaust the alternative remedies like approaching the police…getting their statements recorded…or filing a complaint before the magistrate concerned,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.
The court directed Gupta to approach the officer concerned in the EOW and get his statement recorded.
“This would help the investigating agency in its probe in the case,” the court said while posting the petition for further hearing after 10 weeks.
While hearing another PIL seeking an FIR against a government official, the bench said the high court cannot be treated like a servant.
“The High Court cannot be treated like a servant… where people come and file PILs and then we have to sit and send them to the magistrate or police. This is not done,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.