Delhi High Court


Delhi High Court: In a public interest litigation filed by an Advocate enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi, practicing in Delhi High Court seeking directions to Respondents to provide list of 186 private liquor vendors who were harassed by officers of Respondents and identifying officers causing such harassment and the like, a Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma C.J., and Subramonium Prasad J., observed that the present petition is nothing but a sheer abuse of the process of law and therefore, imposed costs of Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh) to be paid to the Army War Widows Fund within a period of 30 days from today, while dismissing the petition at the admission stage itself.

On 30-07-2022, the petitioner heard a news/ statement on “India TV” Channel made by the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi that the Central Investigating Agencies are harassing the private liquor vendors and they have been forced to close their shops. It was further stated that heavy loss was caused to the State Exchequer resulting in loss of livelihood to 176 private liquor vendors and the general public was deprived of the opportunity to purchase liquor at discounted price. Thus, the present petition was filed.

The Court noted that the prayer clause in the present PIL revealed that the petitioner wants a list of 186 private liquor vendors who have been allegedly harassed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and by the Directorate of Enforcement along with a direction be issued to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi to identify those persons who are causing harassment to 186 liquor vendors forcing them to close their shops, thereby depriving them of their right of livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court further noted that the petitioner has not named a single officer of the CBI, or of the Directorate of Enforcement who has harassed a single liquor vendor, nor has he given details of any kind of such harassment and based upon the so-called press releases/ statement made in the press, he wants a roving inquiry to be done by this Court. Thus, the present petition is nothing but a sheer abuse of the process of law and the petitioner wants a roving inquiry to be done by this Court based upon vague and absurd allegations.

Placing reliance on Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary, (1992) 4 SCC 305, Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 1 SCC 590 and Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India, (2018) 6 SCC 72, the Court observed that Supreme Court has shown concern about large number of PIL’s flooding High Courts and Supreme Court wherein such petitions are misused to resolve personal scores, personal disputes and political rivalries.

Thus, the Court imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh to be paid towards Army War Widows Fund within a period of 30 days from date of order, failing which, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, New Delhi District will recover the amount as arrears of land revenue and shall transfer the same to the Army War Widows Fund with intimation to the Registrar General.

[Narinder Khanna v. Govt of NCT of Delhi, WP (C) No. 12762 of 2022, decided on 08-09-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case:


Mr. Santosh Kumar Tripathi, Standing Counsel (Civil) with Mr. Arun Panwar, Mr. Siddharth Krishna Dwivedi, Mr. Pradeep & Ms. Mahak Rankawat, Advocates for respondent N1/GNCTD.

Mr. Rahul Raj & Mr. Anil Dutt, Advocates for respondent 2/KVIC.

Mr. Arkaj Kumar & Mr. Padmesh Mishra, Advocates for respondent 3/LG.

Ms. Suman Chauhan, SPP with Ms. Samiksha Mittal & Ms. Anubha Bhardwaj, Advocates for respondent 4/CBI.

Mr. Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC with Mr. Danish Faraz Khan, Advocate for respondent 5/ Directorate of Enforcement.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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