Plea Against Appointment Of Chief Justice Of India. What Delhi Court Said

New Delhi:

Dismissing a PIL challenging the appointment of Justice D Y Chandrachud as the Chief Justice of India, the Delhi High Court has said offices held by the constitutional functionaries in public trust are not open to denigration by self-styled warriors of public interest on the basis of superficial allegations.

The court said the instant petition is “full of surmises, conjectures and wishful thinking”, and revolted against the dignity of the constitutional office and has to be “crushed at the threshold in the strongest terms”.

The PIL was dismissed on November 11 and the detailed order was made public on Tuesday.

“It has now become fashion to approach the court by making scandalous allegations against the judges,” the court has observed in the order. It said Article 124 (Establishment and constitution of Supreme Court) of the Constitution has been followed in the matter of the appointment of the CJI and On November 11, a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma had dismissed with cost of Rs 1 lakh the public interest litigation by Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari against the appointment of Justice Chandrachud as the CJI.

Justice Chandrachud took oath as the 50th CJI on November 9.

The petitioner, who claimed to be the national president of an organisation named Gram Uday Foundation, had alleged that the appointment of the CJI was against the provisions of the Constitution.

In its order released on Tuesday, the court stated that the petition was filed to gain publicity and that it went against the genesis of a social interest litigation and was nothing but an abuse of process of law.

“It is a fit case to be crushed at the threshold in the strongest terms. The prayers urged in this petition are not only against the genesis of a social interest litigation, but also revolt against the dignity of the constitutional office,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.

“The message must be clear that the offices held by the constitutional functionaries in public trust are not open to denigration, that too in a court of law, by self-styled warriors of public interest on the basis of superficial allegations, having no basis in law or fact,” the court said.

“The petitioner in the instant writ petition has made scandalous allegations against the former Chief Justices of India without there being any material in support of the same filed along with the writ petition. It is unfortunate that allegations have been made against other high dignitaries, including the Union Law Minister. The instant petition appears to be more of a publicity oriented litigation instead of a public interest litigation,” the court further noted.

In its 12-page order, the court observed that public interest litigation (PIL) was developed as a powerful tool to espouse the case of the marginalised and oppressed sections of the society but it is increasingly being abused by “publicity mongers” for “cheap popularity” and many times pleas are to “blackmail people”.

“Scores of persons are unable to approach the courts because of poverty, ignorance and illiteracy. The concept of Public Interest Litigation is that a citizen could approach the courts to ventilate the grievances of the oppressed and marginalized persons who are otherwise unable to pursue their rights owing to poverty, ignorance and illiteracy,” the court said.

“The noble intentions that liberalized the rule of locus stand and permitted public spirited citizens to approach the constitutional courts, for the vindication of rights of those who find themselves incapable to do so, are confronted with a sad reality in litigations like the present one,” lamented the court.

It noted that the issue raised in the petition had already received the attention of the Supreme Court and was dismissed for lack of merits but the petitioner moved the high court “after camouflaging the same issue as a fresh cause, which reflects on his oblique motive and highlights his questionable credentials”.

“The provisions of Article 124 of the Constitution of India have certainly been followed in the matter of appointment of the Chief Justice of India……It is a classic case of an action without a cause, full of surmises, conjectures and wishful thinking. Whereas wishful thinking, in particular, is not a prohibited activity, but when it forms part of the grounds of a petition before the court, it amounts to an abuse of the process of the court and any such attempt must be repelled in a manner that it sends a tenacious message,” the court said.

The court directed the petitioner to deposit the costs of Rs 1 lakh with the ‘Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund’ within 30 days and clarified that if the amount is not deposited, the SDM concerned shall recover the same as arrears of land revenue and deposit the same with the fund.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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