PILs Increasingly Used To Target Infrastructure Projects: Supreme Court
Public interest litigation (PIL) matters are being increasingly used to target infrastructure projects, the Supreme Court observed on Friday while refusing to entertain a plea challenging the re-development of a plot of land in Mumbai.
'The PILs could become an instrument of blackmail when it is an issue of an infrastructure project. This actually makes a plank to target such projects. The (Bombay) High Court has actually smelled the rat here. This is happening across Delhi, Mumbai....,' a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha said.
The top court was hearing an appeal against the dismissal of a plea by the Bombay High Court challenging the redevelopment of a plot of land at Mumbai's Worli.
It concurred with the high court's findings that the PIL was filed to target the project.
'When a particular property is targeted in a PIL, the high court is often aware why the party has approached it. The idea is to target one project and the high court often knows why it is happening,' it said.
While dismissing the plea, the apex court also refused to interfere with the part of the high court order imposing a cost of Rs one lakh on the petitioner.
Mumbai-based Sarthi Seva Sangh, claiming to be a society incorporated to promote ecology, had moved the Supreme Court after the its earlier petition challenging the redevelopment of a plot at Worli was dismissed by High Court.
The petitioner had approached High Court seeking to set aside a building plan approved last March by the BMC to the extent of granting additional floor space index on a plot at Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli.
The BMC said the PIL has not been filed in public interest and why this particular project is targeted is not explained and submitted that there was no illegality in sanctioning the plan.
The High Court had directed the petitioner to produce a copy of its Memorandum of Association after the society said that its aim was to promote ecology.
While going through the memorandum, the High Court found that promoting ecology was not the society’s object .
The High Court could make out that the petitioners had not approached the Court with clean hands and dismissed the PIL with Rs one lakh costs.
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