Supreme Court concerned over the “mushroom growth” of PILs, says it should be “nipped in bud”
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the construction activities carried out at Shree Jagannath temple in Puri by the Odisha government to provide essential amenities like toilets and cloakrooms. The apex court observed that these construction activities are necessary for the larger public interest. The bench also took exception to the filing of frivolous PILs and said most of such petitions are either publicity interest litigation or personal interest litigation. Rs. One lakh each was put as cost on the “frivolous” petitions.
A vacation bench of Justices B R Gavai and Hima Kohli dismissed the PILs opposing the construction with costs and said the State cannot be prevented from making necessary arrangements to provide basic facilities for lakhs of devotees visiting the temple. The top court said the construction activities are being undertaken in pursuance of the directions issued by a three-judge bench of this Court in the case of Mrinalini Padhi.
“The construction is being carried out for the purpose of providing basic and essential amenities like toilets for men and women, cloakrooms, electricity rooms, etc. These are the basic facilities which are necessary for the convenience of the devotees at large,” said the Bench.
“In the recent past, it is noticed that there been a “mushroom growth” of public interest litigations. However, in many of such petitions, there is no public interest involved at all. The petitions are either publicity interest litigations or personal interest litigation. We highly deprecate the practice of filing such frivolous petitions. They are nothing but an abuse of the process of law.
“They encroach upon a valuable judicial time which could be otherwise utilized for considering genuine issues. It is high time that such so-called public interest litigations are nipped in the bud so that the developmental activities in the larger public interest are not stalled,” the bench said.
Apex court said that a hue and cry was made that the construction carried out is contrary to the inspection report carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). However, the note of the Director-General of ASI clears the position.
“We are of the considered view that the public interest litigation filed before the High Court rather than being in the public interest is detrimental to the public interest at large…In the result, the appeals, having been found to be without any substance, are dismissed with costs, quantified at Rs.1 lakh each, payable by the appellants to respondent No 1 within four weeks from the date of this judgment,” the bench said.
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