The Allahabad High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which was filed seeking appropriate action against the state officials for alleged embezzlement of the money allocated for the construction of toilets and a burial site in village Panchayat of Amethi District.

The Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Manish Kumar observed that the petitioner had failed to prove his own bonafide credentials to file the present petition and said that “it is the duty of this Court to ensure that there is no personal gain, private motive and oblique notice behind filing of PIL. In order to preserve the purity and sanctity of the PIL, the Courts must encourage genuine and bonafide PIL and effectively discourage and curb the PIL filed for extraneous considerations.”

In this case, PIL was filed wherein it was alleged that the concerned officials had misappropriated and embezzled around Rs. 24 Lakhs allocated for the construction of toilets and burial site in village Panchayat Gartholiya in Gauriganj, District Amethi. The petitioner had referred to three inquiry reports from 2017 and 2020 and had alleged that only 381 toilets were constructed out of 464 toilets sanctioned, during the financial year 2012-2013.

CSC Mohan Singh appearing for the respondent had raised preliminary objection with regard to the maintainability of the PIL alleging that though the petition was ostensibly filed in the public interest, the petitioner had not made due disclosure as required by sub-rule (3A) of Rule 1 of Chapter XXII of the Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952.

In response to this objection, Advocate Arvind Kumar Mishra appearing for the petitioner contended that the petitioner had rightly raised the grievances concerned by filing PIL as he was a district co-minister of Bhartiya Kishan Sang, Uttar Pradesh and was associated with matter related to civil rights.

The Court observed that it was the duty as well as it would be appropriate for the high Court to encourage the genuine PIL and discouraging the PIL filed with oblique motives and that they should, first, verify the credentials of the petitioner before entertaining a PIL.

The Court further emphasised that “It is also well settled that the Courts before entertaining the PIL should ensure that the PIL is aimed at redressal of genuine public harm or public injury. The Court should also ensure that there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique motive behind filing the public interest litigation.”

Consequently, the Court refused to interfere in the matter as the petition filed in the public interest was not genuine so as to invoke the jurisdiction in the public interest under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the PIL with the liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum for redressal of his grievance.

Cause Title- Satyendra Kumar Pathak v. State Of U.P. Thru. Director Panchayati Raj U.P. Civil Secretary Lko. And Others

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