Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

PIL to remove Swati Maliwal from the post of Chairperson, DCW: Delhi HC cautions lawyer-cum-social worker against filing petitions as PILs

Aditi Singh

While dealing with a public interest litigation for the removal of Swati Maliwal from the post of Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, the Delhi High Court has cautioned the Petitioner, a practising lawyer cum social worker, to be "more careful in future" while filing petitions as PILs.

The PIL for Maliwal's removal was preferred by one Archana Sharma who is a lawyer by profession and also works as a social worker.

The Petitioner also sought a direction to the Delhi Police to register a case of abetment of suicide against her in connection with the Bois locker room case.

A 17 year-old boy who was suspected to be a member of the infamous social media chat room, had reportedly committed suicide earlier this month.

A direction to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to initiate an inquiry against Maliwal was also prayed for.

After considering the PIL, a Division Bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramoium Prasad, at the very outset, opined that the petition appeared to be a "vested interest litigation rather than a public interest litigation".

Justice Hima Kohli, Justice Subramonium Prasad
Justice Hima Kohli, Justice Subramonium Prasad

It said,

..we have indicated to learned counsel for the petitioner that the present petition appears to be nothing but a vested interest litigation rather than a public interest litigation, particularly, when under the garb of referring to the incident pertaining to the “Bois Locker Room” on the social media, the petitioner has questioned the qualifications of the respondent No. 4 for holding the subject post and has alleged that she has tried to usurp the jurisdiction not vested in her by law.
Delhi High Court

The Court also pointed that the issue relating to the Bois Locker Room incident had already been taken up by the Court, and the Delhi Police had been directed to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

In view of the above, the Court opined that there was no good reason to duplicate the same issue by entertaining the present petition.

The Court was also informed that the present petition was the second attempt made by a party to target Maliwal under the garb of a public interest litigation.

"Earlier hereto, in the month of February, 2020, one Mr. Mohit Kumar Gupta has filed a Public Interest Litigation registered as W.P. (Crl.) No.1393/2020 challenging the appointment of the respondent No. 4 to the post of Chairperson, DCW. That petition was dismissed as withdrawn when the Court had indicated that it was not inclined to entertain the same.", the Court recorded.

Counsel for the Delhi Government asserted that petition was yet another "circuitous route adopted to re-agitate" the issue pertaining to Maliwal's appointment as Chairperson, DCW.

At this stage, the Petitioner sought Court's leave to withdraw her petition same.

While the Court allowed the Petitioner to withdraw her petition, it cautioned her to be more careful in future while filing petitions as PILs.

It ordered,

Leave as prayed for is granted while cautioning the petitioner to be more careful in future while filing petitions as PILs. It is also directed that if any PIL is filed by the petitioner in the future, she shall enclose therewith a copy of this order and make a reference thereto in the averments made in the said petition.
Delhi High Court

The petition was dismissed as withdrawn.

The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Nalin Tripathi.

Advocates Ramesh Singh, Bhawna Kataria, Tara Narula represented the Delhi Government and other Respondents.

Advocates Rajshekhar Rao, Rajshree Jaiswal represented Maliwal.

Read the Order:

Archana Sharma vs State of NCT of Delhi.pdf
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