SC asks for caution on `motivated` PILs

The Supreme Court has cautioned that unscrupulous elements should not be allowed to "disguise" PILs to settle personal scores.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has cautioned
that unscrupulous elements should not be allowed to "disguise"
PILs to settle personal scores and upheld the extension
granted to the special officer of Tirupati temple by the
Tirumala Tirupathi Devesthanam Board.

A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar in
a judgement said that motivated PILs ought be dismissed "at
the threshold" to prevent vested interests and busybodies from
misusing judicial forums in such matters.

"The credentials, the motive and the objective of the
petitioner have to be apparently and patently above board.
Otherwise the petition is liable to be dismissed at the
threshold," Justice Sudarshan Reddy observed while writing the

The apex court found fault with the Andhra Pradesh High
Court for entertaining the PIL filed by Mangati Gopal Reddy, a
devotee challenging the extension granted by the Board to
Special Officer P Seshadri.

"By now it ought to be plain and obvious that this court
does not approve of an approach that would encourage petitions
filed for achieving oblique motives on the basis of wild and
reckless allegations made by individuals, i.e. busybodies;
having little or no interest in the proceedings.

"The High Court ought to have satisfied itself with
regard to the credentials of respondent no. 1 before
entertaining the writ petition, styled as public interest
litigation. Respondent no.1 had merely pleaded that he moved
the writ petition as he is a devotee of Lord Venkateswara. He
is an agriculturist by profession," the bench said.

On April 28, 2010, the High Court set aside the
extension granted to Seshadri on the ground that it was
contrary to Rule 13 of the TTD Board which prohibited
continuing any employee beyond the superannuation age. The
court had passed the order on Reddy`s PIL which alleged that
the extension was granted despite the incumbent facing
corruption charges.

The controversy relates to embezzlement of funds and,
in particular, loss of 300 gold dollars each weighing 5 gms in
August 2008.

Seshadri retired on July 31, 2006 but was given five
years extension thereafter, Reddy had alleged.

Disagreeing with the High Court`s finding that the
extension was contrary to the regulations, the apex court said
the rule applies to every employee "except to the officers or
staff taken on contract basis and officers or staff taken on
deputation from the government or other organisations."

Seshadri was serving on a contract basis.


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