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Won't let PIL be used for cheap publicity, says SC

Wont let PIL be used for cheap publicity, says SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said the public interest litigation route could not be taken to target and bring down the reputation of any one person and for gaining cheap publicity.

A bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Ranjan Gogoi made the observation while dismissing as withdrawn a PIL by advocate M.L. Sharma who sought probe in the allocation of land to United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's Skylight Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. by the Haryana government.

"You choose one person. On what basis? We will not allow you to destroy the name of a person by using PIL," said Justice Dattu adding: "Why have you not given the names of others, why (did) you name just one person?"

"Merely because they are related to politicians, you cannot call them sinners," the court told Sharma.

The court said this while taking note of the submission that several licences were issued to developers and builders for turning 21,366 acres into colonies. Sharma had contended that allocation of licences for developing colonies was contrary to provisions of Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975.

Permitting Sharma to withdraw the PIL, Justice Dattu said: "You have done a good job. Don't destroy it by your cheap publicity."

"You channelize your energies for those who have lost their dwellings or are roofless, we appreciate your efforts," he added.

Asking Sharma to remain focused on his good work, Justice Dattu made a comparison between a crow and swan saying that a crow can't make a distinction between water and milk but a swan would only drink milk and not water.

Referring to the prayer in the PIL seeking the quashing of a June 3, 2013 letter by Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma allegedly rolling back the audit and inquiry into the grant of licence to Skylight Hospitality Pvt, the court asked how could it quash an order which is not on record.

The PIL had contended that this inquiry was ordered by Shashi Kant Sharma's predecessor Vinod Rai.

"You should approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court," the court told Sharma as he contended that despite his best efforts he could not access the letter as it was being held by Haryana Chief Minister B.S. Hooda.


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