CHENNAI: PIL is not a pill or a panacea for all wrongs. An innovation of judicial activism, it is essentially meant to protect basic human rights of the weak and the disadvantaged. As such, the increasing instances of its abuse necessitates that the parameters within which PIL could be resorted to by a petitioner and entertained by the court are re-emphasised, the Madras High Court has held.
Public Interest Litigation, aimed at redressal of genuine public wrong or public injury, should not be used for publicity or to settle personal vendetta. The judges, particularly in the higher judiciary, are Constitutional functionaries and not government servants, as has been time and again laid down by a number of decisions of the Supreme Court and they are not ‘persons’ or ‘authorities’ or ‘government’, against whom writs can be issued under Article 226 of the Constitution, a division bench of Justices V Dhanapalan and G Chockalingam said on Tuesday.
The bench was dismissing a PIL from Prisoners Forum, by its director P Pugalenthi, praying for a direction to the Chief Justice to constitute a special bench to hear exclusively Habeas Corpus matters, as the pendency of such cases was abundant.
Articles 225 and 229 of the Constitution have conferred prerogatives on the CJ as regards the administration of the HC. Such power is unquestionable and cannot be called into question either under judicial review or in a PIL, to direct the CJ to constitute a special bench. “Therefore, we are of the considered opinion that no judicial review is available to the petitioner to file this PIL for a direction to the CJ of this Court, as he alone is the exclusive authority to take a decision on the need for constitution of a special bench and not this Court. Under the circumstances, even on public interest, it is for the CJ to decide about the grievance of the petitioner. It cannot be redressed through any other recourse, such as this PIL. As such, the PIL cannot be entertained and the same is to be rejected,” the bench said. “If the petitioner still feels that there is a compelling necessity to constitute a special bench, it is open for him to make a representation to the CJ,” the bench added.