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The Allahabad High Court recently had occasion to pull up a petitioner for Bench hunting, after he attempted to move a writ petition with prayers identical to another petition that had already been dismissed as withdrawn.
The Court observed,
“We cannot allow the petitioner to file a writ petition seeking certain reliefs and then withdraw the same with liberty to file fresh writ petition and again to file a writ petition seeking the same relief before another Bench. This would be a case of Bench hunting by the petitioner.”
The Bench of Justices Amit Sthalekar and Piyush Agrawal were dealing with a petition challenging certain land acquisition proceedings.
The first petition challenging these proceedings were dismissed as withdrawn, as recorded in a Court order passed last January.
However, the petitioner opted thereafter to file another affidavit in the same matter with identical prayers before the High Court. As noted in the order,
“… we find that the relief claimed in the present writ petition is identical to that of the earlier writ petition no. 1228 of 2019 and no new fact or relief has been stated in this writ petition.
The petitioner had claimed that the new writ petition was being filed as his earlier plea was wrongly dismissed. The Court, however found no merit in this reasoning. It was pointed out that the petitioner had the option to apply for a recall to recall the erroneous order, if this was the reason.
“In paragraph 22 of the present writ petition the stand of the petitioner is that he has not given any representation for release of his land and, therefore, his writ petition was wrongly dismissed as withdrawn. If that was the case that his earlier writ petition was dismissed wrongly as withdrawn the petitioner could have applied for recall of the said order which would have been the proper course.”
In view of these observations, the Bench concluded that petitioner was indulging in Bench hunting. Therefore, the Court proceeded to dismiss the writ petition as non-maintainable.
The respondents in the case were represented by Advocate Pranjal Mehrotra, Rishi Bhushan Jauhari, Anjali Upadhya and Bhanu Bhushan. Advocate Saurabh Basu appeared for the petitioner.
Read the order: