New Delhi (Sputnik) A litigation route, once termed as an instrument to advance human rights and equality in the Indian legal system is now facing court wrath for its frivolous use by some people. Coming down heavily on a petitioner for the use of PIL method for superficial purposes, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 (approx $ 714) on a petitioner advocate on Friday.
The Supreme Court of India dismissed a PIL against Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley which accused the senior politician that he might squander away Reserve Bank of India's capital reserve to make up for NPAs of public sector banks. A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said "what kind of PILs are being filed" while imposing the fine on the petitioner advocate M L Sharma. The court also warned the senior advocate against filing frivolous Public Interest Litigations.
Supreme Court rejects a PIL filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma, seeking action against Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and alleged that he wanted to "plunder" capital reserve of RBI to waive off loan to certain companies. The Court has slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on Sharma.— ANI (@ANI) December 7, 2018
"You have done some good work and we all acknowledge that. Why are you persisting on destroying your reputation? What kind of prayer is this — to restrain Finance Minister from using capital reserves of RBI," Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said while dismissing the petition.
The decision of the apex court has also triggered a debate on whether such PILs are sponsored by interested parties.
Interestingly, advocate M L Sharma has been reprimanded due to his frivolous PILs in the past too. He was fined on two occasions by the then Chief Justice of India R M Lodha for filing such petitions. In a similar case, the Supreme Court had warned another regular PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, a political leader, for filing baseless PILs. Upadhyay's petition had sought a direction to the central government to impose an upper limit of Rs 2000 ($ 29) per person per year on political donations in cash.
The apex court while dismissing the petition today said that PILs are a boon to society but the person filing them should exercise responsibility and caution while filing them in court.
Indian judiciary started accepting PILs in the late 80s and these petitions were distinct as it empowers any person or organization to contest a decision or working of the government by directly approaching the highest court. Some of the famous success stories of PIL include framing of guidelines against sexual harassment in workplaces by way of the Vishakha Judgement and another being the famous Ganga river cleaning petition filed Public Interest Litigant M C Mehta.