"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well." -Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recent Judgments

SC Directives to Preserve Sanctity of PIL

State of Uttaranchal v. Balwant Singh Chaufal CIVIL APPEAL NOS.1134-1135 OF 2002. Date of Judgment 18-01-10

(1) The courts must encourage genuine and bona fide
PIL and effectively discourage and curb the PIL
filed for extraneous considerations.

(2) Instead of every individual judge devising his
own procedure for dealing with the public
interest litigation, it would be appropriate for
each High Court to properly formulate rules for
encouraging the genuine PIL and discouraging the
PIL filed with oblique motives. Consequently,
we request that the High Courts who have not yet
framed the rules, should frame the rules within
three months. The Registrar General of each
High Court is directed to ensure that a copy of
the Rules prepared by the High Court is sent to
the Secretary General of this court immediately
thereafter.

(3) The courts should prima facie verify the
credentials of the petitioner before
entertaining a P.I.L.

(4) The court should be prima facie satisfied
regarding the correctness of the contents of the
petition before entertaining a PIL.

(5) The court should be fully satisfied that
substantial public interest is involved before
entertaining the petition.

(6) The court should ensure that the petition which
involves larger public interest, gravity and
urgency must be given priority over other
petitions.

(7) The courts before entertaining the PIL should
ensure that the PIL is aimed at redressal of
genuine public harm or public injury. The
court should also ensure that there is no
personal gain, private motive or oblique motive
behind filing the public interest litigation.

(8) The court should also ensure that the petitions
filed by busybodies for extraneous and ulterior
motives must be discouraged by imposing
exemplary costs or by adopting similar novel
methods to curb frivolous petitions and the
petitions filed for extraneous considerations.

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