The Supreme Court today grilled advocate Prashant Bhushan about the functioning of Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), the NGO which agitates a large number of public interest matters before Supreme Court..The Court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by CPIL challenging the 4G spectrum auctions, when Chief Justice TS Thakur raised a volley of questions regarding the petitions filed by CPIL. He queried,.“Why should we hear PILs filed by CPIL? You are a professional litigant. Can you become a “centre” for PIL? Can anyone walk into your office and tell you ‘I want to file a PIL?’.”.Bhushan replied that it was an organisation formed by Senior lawyers and had a committee comprising Senior Advocates who scrutinise every petition before it is filed in court..“There is a committee which comprises Fali Nariman, Anil Divan, Kamini Jaiswal, my father and myself and all petitions are scrutinised by us”, replied Bhushan..Justice Thakur said that whenever a PIL is filed by CPIL, the court should have the confidence that the same is not at the instance of a party which is trying to settle to scores with someone else..“Do we have that initial confidence that a litigation is not at the instance of a party trying to settle scores with some other party? Does the petition filed by CPIL go through such a process? We would like to go into the question whether petitions filed by CPIL go through such a process and it is a serious PIL.”.Thakur said that when a petition is filed by CPIL, the court usually considers it seriously while the same petition might be treated indifferently if filed by a party with commercial interests..“When you come to us, we take you seriously. But when a commercial competitor comes to us, we might not. This competitor knows this and might send a proxy to you with documents and information which you otherwise don’t have access to. You have to establish a credible mechanism to justify that a particular case is fit to he agitated”, said Justice Thakur..Bhushan said that there is a mechanism in place..“Whenever a commercially interested person comes to us, we look at the information given by him with great suspicion. It is only after the Committee scrutinises the information and is satisfied that aside from the commercial of interest of the informant, there is public interest involved that we decide whether to file a case or not.”.“So is it just Kamini Jaiswal and you sitting in your chambers and deciding. Our impression is that you have no mechanism to verify the credibility of your information”, retorted Justice Thakur..“So are Your Lordships suggesting that we should have a research wing?”, asked Bhushan.“You should have an investigative wing. It will help you and us”, said Justice Thakur..There were also casual queries about the funding of CPIL, to which Bhushan replied that “there is hardly any funding” and most of the work is pro bono..The hearing in the case continued for the whole day and the court reserved its verdict.