All HC | A dispute between two warring groups is in the realm of a private dispute and is not allowed to be agitated as a Public Interest Litigation

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Pankaj Mithal and Saurabh Lavania, JJ., dismissed a Public Interest Litigation.

The petitioner in Public Interest had sought quashing of letter of the Chief Engineer (Purchase) of U.P. Jal Nigam requesting  Crown Agents (India) Pvt. Ltd. to inspect Rashmi Metaliks Ltd., Kolkata and issuance of mandamus directing respondent 2 and 3 not to permit re-inspection of Rashmi Metaliks Limited, Kolkata.

The Court while explaining the purpose of PIL said that normal rule was that a person, who suffered a legal injury or whose legal right was infringed, alone had locus standi to invoke the writ jurisdiction to avoid miscarriage of justice but the said common rule of locus standi stood relaxed where the grievance was raised before the Court on behalf of poor, deprived, illiterate or the disabled persons, who cannot approach the Court independently for redressal of the legal wrong or the injury caused to them on account of violation of any constitutional or legal right. However, the relaxation was misused by unscrupulous persons seeking cheap publicity quoting the judgment of Supreme Court in State of Uttaranchal v. Balwant Singh Chaufal, (2010) 3 SCC 402.

The Court further observed that in the present petition the petitioner had not mentioned anything substantial other than he was a Lawyer and was involved in social work, thus not fulfilling the conditions of the rule laid down in the above case. The Court further stated that the petitioner in filing this petition in Public Interest had not even disclosed that he was filing this petition on behalf of such disadvantageous persons or that injustice was meted out to a large number of people and therefore it has become necessary for him to come forward on their behalf.

The Court while dismissing the PIL held that the petitioner was not a person, who had any credentials to move in Public Interest. Simply on the allegation that he was a Lawyer and a person involved in social work without disclosing his credentials and in the absence of the fact that the petition had been preferred in the interest of justice for large number of downtrodden persons who are unable to approach the Courts of Law, the petitioner was not entitled to maintain this petition in the public interest that too in a matter which does not involve basic human rights.

The Court, however, mentioned that U.P. Jal Nigam was not directly involved in the purchase of any material from any firm, rather it awarded contracts on a turn-key basis and it was the contractor who made purchases of the material from amongst firms prescribed by the U. P. Jal Nigam, provided there was otherwise no legal impediment thus letter of the Chief Engineer (Purchase) on record, since the purchases from the aforesaid firm would be taken subsequent to its certification by the inspecting agency, thus interference by the Court was not required.[Narendra Kumar Yadav v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1395, decided on 05-11-2020]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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