Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HC rejects PILs seeking recovery of fast costs from CM

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Wednesday rejected two PILs demanding recovery of money spent on the three-day event of Sadbhavana fast from chief minister Narendra Modi. The judges refused to entertain the PILs and dubbed them “premature” and lacking credible information.
One Vikalp Trust and a self-professed businessman Rajesh Mota moved the high court citing newspaper articles that Rs 60 crore was spent for the function.
And if it was not a public function, the amount should be recovered from the chief minister Modi.
After the government pleader Prakash Jani argued that these PILs were not maintainable because the mandatory provision that if PIL is to be filed on basis of newspaper report, the information is required to be tested personally by the litigant.
This was not done in these cases. Hence the PILs should be dismissed, argued Jani
The litigants tried to convince the court that they would cross-verify the details and come up with the information during next hearing, but court was not ready to grant them time. Instead, the bench of acting Chief Justice A L Dave and Justice J B Pardiwala showed them a newspaper article stating that the petitioner trust had filed the PIL to gain cheap publicity. By pointing out to this article, the judges said that should the court take cognizance of it.
When the lawyers argued on veracity of the article, the judges commented, “Do not rush to court like this with newspaper cuttings. Don’t think that we are averse to public interest litigation. We are equally concerned. We take cognizance of a postcard and initiate PIL proceedings-...But you should have tested the information first.”
When the court expressed inclination of imposing fine on litigants, the lawyers requested to withdraw the PILs. The high court disposed of the PIL and made oral remarks, “Had we thrown away your petitions directly, it would have given an impression that the court is coloured.”

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