Delhi HC rejects PIL against appointment of CJI Chandrachud; says plea is 'publicity oriented'text_fields
New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) contesting the nomination of the 50th Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, was recently dismissed by the Delhi High Court and observed that "constitutional functionaries are not open to denigration by self-styled warriors of public interest based on superficial allegations".
On November 11, a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad stated, "What is recognised in a court of law is a 'cause of action' and not an action without a cause. It is a classic case of an action without a cause, full of surmises, conjectures, and wishful thinking".
The HC ruled that the litigant's claim is "wishful thinking," adding that while it is not illegal to engage in such behaviour, doing so as part of a petition before the court "amounts to an abuse of the process of the court." Following it, the HC stated that such an attempt must be defeated in a way that sends a "tenacious message".
"The message must be clear that the offices held by the constitutional functionaries in public trust are not open to denigration, that too in a court of law, by self-styled warriors of public interest on the basis of superficial allegations, having no basis in law or fact," the HC held.
The High Court assessed the defendant an "exemplary cost" of Rs. 1 lakh, which he had 30 days to deposit with the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund. The bench additionally ordered that the concerned sub-divisional magistrate recover the amount as arrears of land revenue and deposit it with the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund and notify the high court's Registrar General if it is not paid within 30 days, Indian Express reported.
Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari, the petitioner, stated in person that the appointment process for the position of Chief Justice of India should adhere to Articles 124A, 124(2), and 124(3) of the Constitution. Additionally, he requested temporary relief to prevent the Chief Justice of India nominee from taking the oath on November 9 as scheduled.
The petition further demanded that security organisations look into CJI Chandrachud to see if he has any "kind of relation with anti-nationals and Naxalite Christian terrorists." Tiwari also pleaded for adherence to Article 124 of the Constitution in the "appointment of the newly appointed Chief Justice and the appointment of the newly appointed Chief Justice, Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud, being done in violation of the provisions of the Constitution, should be stopped with immediate effect".
The HC stated, after concluding that the plea had been moved to gain attention,
"It is unfortunate that allegations have been made against other high dignitaries, including the Union Law Minister. The instant Petition appears to be more of a publicity-oriented litigation instead of a public interest litigation".
The High Court ruled that the Constitution's Article 124 requirements for the appointment of the Chief Justice of India had been met.
The High Court adopted the position that the idea of PILs requires that a "citizen could approach the Courts to ventilate the grievances of the oppressed and marginalised persons who are otherwise unable to pursue their rights owing to poverty, ignorance. and illiteracy. Any member of the public can file a PIL…It is now being increasingly noticed that Public Interest Litigation is being abused by Publicity mongers who institute Public Interest Litigation only to gain cheap popularity. Many times the petitions are filed even as a tool to blackmail people".
The top court ruled that the claimant had failed to demonstrate how the Constitution had been broken and that the plea qualified for being "crushed at the threshold in the strongest terms."
The HC noted in dismissing the petition as nothing more than a violation of the legal process, "The prayers urged in this petition are not only against the genesis of social interest litigation but also a revolt against the dignity of the constitutional office. Notably, the cause espoused in this petition has already received the attention of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and has been dismissed for lack of merits vide order dated 02.11.2022 in W.P.(C) Diary No. 34617/2022".
"The Petitioner chose to come before this Court, after camouflaging the same issue as a fresh cause, which reflects on his oblique motive and highlights the questionable credentials of the Petitioner. The noble intentions that liberalised the rule of locus stand and permitted public-spirited citizens to approach the constitutional courts, for the vindication of the rights of those who find themselves incapable to do so, are confronted with a sad reality in litigations like the present one. As noted by the Apex Court, it has now become a fashion to approach the Court by making scandalous allegations against the Judges," it added.