‘Whether the litigation is bona fide or not has to be examined by court on a case-to-case basis’
The Supreme Court has said judges need not read political motives or prejudice into a PIL petition merely because the person who filed it is a politician.
Persons with political affiliations are as much entitled to file a public interest litigation as any other person, a Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee observed in a recent order.
“While it is true that the court is required to examine whether a litigation is really in public interest or to advance some other interest in the garb of public interest, at the same time, a Public Interest Litigation [PIL] cannot be thrown out only because the petitioner belongs to a rival political party. Persons with political affiliations are, as much entitled to file a PIL as any other person. Whether the litigation is bona fide or not is a different issue which has to be examined by the court on a case-to-case basis, having regard to the nature of the complaint before it,” the Supreme Court drew the line.
The Supreme Court’s observations came in an order staying the operation of a Calcutta High Court order to re-institute criminal cases against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s election agent, S.K. Supian, in connection with the Nandigram protests against land acquisition.
Mr. Supian had challenged the order passed by the Calcutta High Court on two PILs against the withdrawal of prosecution in various criminal cases connected with the protests over the alleged improper acquisition of land by the state to create a special economic zone (SEZ) in Nandigram.
He had contended that he was not made a party in the PILs. He said the reinstitution of the criminal cases has impaired his ability to discharge his functions as an election agent under the Representation of the People Act 1951.
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