Frivolous Public Interest Litigation must be avoided!

Writ Petition on false facts:

The entire judicial system has been unnecessarily brought into disrepute for no good cause whatsoever. It passes comprehension how it was, that the petitioner presumed, that there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary. There is an averment made in the writ petition that it is against the highest judicial functionaries; that FIR has been recorded. We do not find reflection of any name of the Judge of this Court in the FIR. There is no question of registering any FIR against any sitting Judge of the High Court or of this Court as it is not permissible as per the law laid down by a Constitution Bench of 5 Hon’ble Judges of this Court in the case of K. Veeraswami v. Union of India (1991) 3 SCC 655 wherein this Court observed that in order to ensure the independence of the judiciary the apprehension that the Executive being largest litigant, it is likely to misuse the power to prosecute the Judges. Any complaint against a Judge and investigation by the CBI if given publicity, will have a far reaching effect on the Judge and the litigant public. The need, therefore, is of judicious use of action taken under the Act. There cannot be registration of any FIR against a High Court Judge or Chief Justice of the High Court or the Supreme Court Judge without the consultation of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and, in case there is an allegation against Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, the decision has to be taken by the Hon’ble President, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the said decision.

Thus, the instant petitions, as filed, are a misconceived venture inasmuch, as the petition wrongly presupposes that investigation involves higher judiciary, i.e. this Court’s functionaries are under the scanner in the aforesaid case; that independence of judiciary cannot be left at the mercy of the CBI or that of the police is a red herring. There cannot be any FIR even against the Civil Judge/Munsif without permission of the Chief Justice of the concerned court; and rightly, FIR has not been registered against any sitting Judge. Otherwise, on unfounded allegations, any honest Judge to the core, can be defamed, and reputation can be jeopardized. No Judge can be held responsible for what may, or has happened in the corridors, or for ‘who purports to sell whom’. The alleged actions of a retired Judge of a High Court, allegedly assuring and promising, a ‘favourable’ decision in the aforesaid circumstances of the case which was then pending before this Court, in the aforesaid circumstances and has assured favourable orders, begs the question, and we wonder, as to what favourable orders have been passed. As is apparent from the aforesaid narration of facts, there was no favourable order granted by this Court in favour of the medical college for the current academic session 2017-18, rather its inspection for considering confirmation of letter of permission for the next year 2018-19 had been ordered. The decision will be in the hands of the MCI. After decision has been rendered on 18.9.2017 by this Court, an FIR has been lodged and it appears that money was yet to be exchanged. The FIR dated 19.9.2017 reflects that Mr. B.P. Yadav, Justice Quddusi, Ms. Bhawana Pandey, and Mr. Sudhir Giri were likely to meet Mr. Biswanath Agarwala for getting favourable order at Delhi shortly; whereas this Court has already decided the mater on 18.9.2017. Thus it is a far fetched and too tenuous to even assume or allege that the matter was pending in this Court for which any bribe was to be delivered to anyone.

The petition is not only wholly frivolous, but contemptuous, unwarranted, aims at scandalizing the highest judicial system of the country, without any reasonable basis and filed in an irresponsible manner, that too by a body of persons professing to espouse the cause of accountability.

What an irony of fate, the petitioner has itself forgotten its accountability and filing of such petition may entail in ultimate debarment of such petitioners from filing so-called public interest litigation which in fact has caused more injury to cause of public than subserving it.

In view of the foregoing discussion, we are of the considered opinion and we are constrained to say that the present petition, in particular, the manner in which it has been pursued without any remorse by questioning the decision rendered on the subject matter by this Court including the plea taken in the earlier petition as noted in paragraph 29 of the said decision, is gross abuse of the process of court.

Therefore, it has to be dismissed with exemplary costs in order to ensure that such attempt is not repeated in future.

Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed with cost of Rs. 25 (twenty five) lakhs to be deposited by the petitioner before the Registry of this Court within six weeks whereafter the said amount shall be transferred to Supreme Court Bar Association Advocates’ Welfare Fund.

[Source: Jain Cooperative Bank Ltd vs Union Of India decided by SC on 3 November, 2017]

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