delhi high court

Delhi High Court: A petition was filed under Article 226 by the petitioner who is an Advocate and seeks to challenge the method of empanelment of Advocates to represent the Union of India contending that the size of the panel to represent the Government of India is not fixed and the Government does not invite applications for appointment or renewal of the panel and that the appointment of Advocates as Government Counsel is contrary to the law. A division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., dismissed PIL and held that no public interest is involved in the present petition but benefits the petitioner to settle his personal score.

The Petitioner himself was an empaneled Government Counsel and at the time of his empanelment also neither there was any fixed panel of Advocates to represent the Government of India nor was the Petitioner subjected to any written examination before his appointment as Government Counsel.

The Court noted that the lawyers empaneled by the Government of India are paid their fee on a case-to-case basis. Thus, the Petitioner herein has himself been a beneficiary of the process which he is now challenging in the present petition.

The Court further noted that a litigant can always choose a lawyer to represent him and the Government of India, which is one of the largest litigant in the country, has the freedom to appoint its own lawyers.

Reliance was placed on Tehseen Poonawalla v. Union of India, (2018) 6 SCC 72, lamenting on the waste of time caused by the frivolous PILs and the fact that petitions are being camouflaged as PILs to settle personal scores. Public Interest Litigation was conceptualised as a weapon to secure justice for the voiceless. The attractive brand name of Public Interest Litigation should not be used for suspicious products of mischief and should be aimed at redressal of genuine public harm or public injury. Courts must be careful to see that a member of the public who approaches the Court is acting bona fide and not for personal gain or private motive or political motivation or other oblique consideration.

Thus, the Court held that no public interest is involved in the present petition, and it has been filed only to upset the apple cart.

[Rajinder Nishchal v Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 3806, decided on 03-07-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Petitioner in person

Mr. Chetan Sharma, ASG with Mr. Apoorv Kurup, CGSC, Mr. Amit Gupta and Mr. Ojaswa Pathak, Advocates

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