Bombay High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Manjula Chellur, C.J., and M.S. Sonak. J., dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) which was filed against a 20-storey building which was already complete, on the grounds that it was not bonafide and that there was a delay in the institution of the petition.

The Court stated that the PIL should have been filed at the time the building was under construction and not post construction. Court referred to R & M Trust v. Koramangla Residents Vigilance Group, (2005) 3 SCC 91 and applied the doctrine of laches. It held that locus in PIL is a very relevant factor and courts must always inquire into the locus of the person filing it. Further they also observed that PIL should be entertained in very rare cases. Moreover, the Bench stated that delay in the filing of the PIL is a very important factor for the court to exercise it’s extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Consequently, they cannot disturb the rights of the third party interest on account of the delay and the court shall not come to the rescue of a person who is not vigilant enough to look after his own rights.

Dismissing the PIL, the Court observed that it cannot be ruled out that the petitioner has been put up as a proxy by private builder or this petition has been filed to practice extortion; and imposed cost of Rs 50,000 payable to the Legal Services Authority. [Deepak S. Lande v. State of Maharashtra,  2017 SCC OnLine Bom 9289, decided on 17.11.2017]

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