The Supreme Court on Friday slammed petitioners who challenged construction at Puri’s Jagannath temple for misusing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) procedure.
As a result, the bench dismissed the petitions as frivolous and contrary to the public interest, imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh against each petitioner.
In an observation of the rise in PILs filed in courts, the bench noted, “Many of these petitions are either for publicity purposes or for personal reasons.” Since filing PILs is a waste of judicial time, we despise it and believe it should be stopped so that development does not get slowed down..”
In the past, the court has taken a stern stance on frivolous PILs.
WHAT IS A PIL?
Civil actions called Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are brought to enforce the public interest or general interest of the common man and to affect his or her legal rights and responsibilities.
The PIL process provides disadvantaged communities with an opportunity to seek justice in court.
A writ can be issued by the Supreme Court and a high court both by virtue of Article 32 (right to move the Supreme Court) and Article 226 (power of the high courts to issue writs).
WHEN CAN PIL BE FILED?
It is important for those who wish to file a PIL to not have a private interest, but rather to have a broader public interest.
It is possible to file a PIL either in a high court or in the Supreme Court.
ARE PILs OFTEN MISUSED?
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Indian judiciary to handle PILs due to misuse or abuse. In 2010, the Supreme Court came down heavily on frivolous PIL petitions for personal or extraneous reasons, and eventually outlined certain guidelines to be followed by courts when entertaining PILs. There is growing concern among the Indian judiciary about the misuse or abuse of PILs. During 2010, the Supreme Court issued guidelines for courts to follow when entertaining PILs for personal or extraneous reasons.
According to Dalveer Bhandari and Mukundakam Sharma, indiscriminate filings “create unnecessary strain on the judicial system and result in excessive delays when it comes to resolving genuine cases.”
A PIL was widely misused by the Chief Justice in April. He referred to it as a “personal litigation system.”
It is now commonplace for courts to impose heavy costs on petitioners who file frivolous PILs.