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"Public spirited individuals have too much spirit without any merit", Supreme Court remarks while dismissing plea challenging costs imposed

The petitioner had approached the Supreme Court against the order of the Bombay High Court which imposed costs of Rs. 5 lakh on the PIL petitioner.

Debayan Roy

Not many "public spirited individuals" who move the Courts these days have much merit in their pleas, a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court remarked today while hearing a petition challenging a Bombay High Court order.

The Bombay High Court, in June this year, had imposed costs to the tune of Rs. 5 lakh on a PIL petitioner who had sought free treatment of all COVID-19 patients in the State of Maharashtra.

Aggrieved by the imposition of such costs, the petitioner moved the Supreme Court assailing this order of the High Court but found no respite even from the Supreme Court which declined to hear the plea.

The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah declined to entertain the plea categorically on the grounds that the Top Court cannot entertain the domain of costs.

However, the advocate for the petitioner sought to submit that while there are submissions to be made on merit also but the imposition of such huge costs is also a matter of concern as it would have a "dampening effect on public spirited individuals."

Not only did this argument fail to impress the Judges but Justice Kaul also went on to quip,

"These public spirited individuals have too much of spirit without anything on merit"
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

The petitioner found no relief from the Supreme Court on the issue of costs but was given the liberty to approach the High Court that passed the order for this fine.

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Mohini Priya.

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