The Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench has dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) preferred by the National President of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) against the involvement of a private trust body in the Civil 20 (C-20) Inception Conference.

The Court also imposed a cost of Rs. 10,000/- on the petitioner and directed him to pay the same within a period of two weeks.

A Division Bench comprising Justice A.S. Chandurkar and Justice M.W. Chandwani said, “… we find that the petitioner has failed to disclose the judgment passed in Writ Petition No.6700 of 2017 that was preferred by the National President. Despite said judgment against which the Special Leave Petition has been dismissed, the present proceedings are filed under the same name that was the subject matter of consideration earlier. Since the present proceedings are sought to be preferred in public interest, this material aspect ought to have been disclosed.”

The Bench referred to the case of Esteem Properties Private Limited v. Chetan Kamble and others, (2022) 11 SCC 661 while examining the locus of the petitioner in the light of the law laid down in the same.

Advocate A.R. Ingole represented the petitioner while Deputy Solicitor General of India N.S. Deshpande, Government Pleader A.M. Deshpande, Senior Advocate Sunil Manohar, and Advocate J.B. Kasat represented the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner claiming to be the National President of RSS sought a direction to the Union of India, through its Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur, to conduct C-20 Inception Conference on its own without permitting the participation of a private Trust.

A further prayer was made to direct the respondents to initiate an inquiry into the misuse of tax-payers’ money under the guise of conducting the C-20 event through the said Trust. The petitioner had submitted an online application seeking registration of the Society but the same was not registered yet.

The High Court after hearing the arguments of both parties noted, “… there is no document on record to support the case of the petitioner that tax-payers’ money is being misused by the respondent No.4-Trust.”

The Court did not find any basis whatsoever for the petitioner to aver in the plea that there was any misuse of tax-payers’ money at the behest of the Trust under the guise of conducting the C-20 event.

“… the Writ Petition being misconceived is dismissed with costs of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand) to be paid to the High Court Legal Services Sub-Committee, Nagpur within a period of two weeks from today”, directed the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the PIL.

Cause Title- Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh v. Union of India and others

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