Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is not a pill for every ill and should not be entertained if the bona fides of the petitioners are in doubt, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh recently observed (Nikhil Padha, Human Rights Activist V/s Chairman Human Rights Commission)
A Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal further said that a PIL should not be used as a weapon to garner political mileage or scandalise the court.
"The Apex Court in one of the cases has clearly ruled that when a political rival complains against the other political party or person it would not be a bonafide litigation at the behest of the opponent and that such petitions in public interest ought not to be entertained," the High Court said.
Thus, a PIL should not be allowed to be filed to abuse the process of law or if the pleadings are vexatious, misconceived, unfounded and untenable.
"It is worth noting in context with the Public Interest Litigation that PIL is not a Pill for every ill and it should not be entertained if the bona fides of the persons are in doubt," the order said.
The Court, therefore, dismissed a PIL by 25-year-old law graduate seeking reopening of Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission, Women Commission, Accountability Commission and State Information Commission which were closed on account of the removal of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution of India.
The Court also imposed a costs of Rs. 10,000 on the petitioner, Nikhil Padha.
While dismissing the plea, the Court said that the narration of the facts in the writ petition revealed that the petitioner was not a bonafide person but a proxy person set up by someone to initiate the litigation in public interest.
In this regard, the Court noted that the petitioner though only 25 years old and graduated in law this year, styled himself as a human rights activist.
"He proclaims himself be a human rights activist as per the cause title of the petition as also as per the averments contained in paragraph 1 of the writ petition. We fail to understand how a law student or who has passed law recently can be recognized as an ardent human rights activist as proclaimed by the petitioner. The petitioner has not disclosed any of his activity which may indicate that he is actually involved in the protection human rights of the citizens or that he is an acclaimed human rights activist despite his tender age," the Court said.
It further stated that the petition revealed that the petitioner is not really interested in the establishment of the above fora but the real intent was to attack the government over the deletion of the special status granted to the J&K.
The Court, therefore, dismissed the PIL with costs of ₹10,000.
However, it also observed that it expects the government to take steps in the right earnest to revive the defunct institutions mentioned in the petition.