Can’t pay up if PIL is thrown out: Lok Satta to High Court

Published: 11th June 2013 08:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2013 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

Lok Satta, a political party, registered with the Election Commission of India, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madras High Court, in which it has also expressed inability to pay the cost in case the petition is summarily dismissed.

The Madras High Court has set certain norms to be followed while filing PILs, to discourage misuse of the constitutional provision. One of the norms says that the PIL must be purely in public interest. If found to be frivolous and vexatious, the court will impose fines ranging from `5,000 to `25,000, under the head of costs.

There have been instances of the High Court imposing costs on the petitioners who preferred the PILs. The court has imposed costs on the petitioners on several occasions after holding that there is no public interest in the petition, precious court time is wasted and it was filed for cheap publicity.

All the petitioners in their PILs must undertake to bear the cost in the case of a summary dismissal.

In his present PIL, S Eshwaran, the Lok Satta organising secretary in Tiruppur, sought to restrain the authorities concerned from proceeding with further construction of a railway bridge in Tiruppur.

‘’I work for public service only and I do not have the means to pay any costs if the writ is decided against me,’’  Eshwaran stated in his PIL.

However, the first bench of Acting Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice M Sathiyanarayanan ordered notice on the PIL, returnable in two weeks, on Monday.

According to the petitioner, by a GO passed in November 2007, the State government, with the assistance of Southern Railway, decided to construct the overbridge on Kumaran Road, the arterial one, to minimise traffic congestion.

However, for reasons unexplainable and much to the anger of the citizens of Tiruppur, this well-conceived project has been modified in character and location by arbitrary executive action, the petitioner contended and prayed for a direction to the authorities to strictly adhere to the 2007 GO.

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