Home Editor's picks NGT raps PIL activist over frequent filing of petitions, asks to disclose the source of litigation funding

NGT raps PIL activist over frequent filing of petitions, asks to disclose the source of litigation funding

This is not the first time that the judicial bodies have expressed their displeasure over the deliberate filing of frivolous PILs in the top courts.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slammed a petitioner for filing over 35 petitions in the tribunal over the past four years and ordered him to “disclose the sources of funding of various litigations” filed by him, reported Times of India.

According to the reports, on January 4, the NGT bench comprising of chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice S P Wangdi, Justice K Ramakrishnan and Judicial member Dr Nagin Nanda indicated that the petitioner Shailesh Singh had filed a “large number of petitions” through other advocates.

Questioning the source of funding of such petitions, the NGT observed that a public-spirited person can raise an issue of “public interest bonafide” but it should not involve “personal gain or oblique” motive behind the alleged public interest. The court or tribunal must itself in this regard ascertain credentials of such application, said the NGT.

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“We accordingly direct the applicant to disclose the sources of funding of various litigations filed before this tribunal so far by him along with the particulars of the applications filed before this tribunal. Such affidavit may be filed with one week,” the bench said.

Reportedly, most of the petitions filed by Singh have been against the state of Uttar Pradesh, while some are against sugar mills and hotels for either extracting groundwater illegally or polluting water sources. The tribunal has now directed Singh to disclose the sources of funding along with particulars of applications filed in the green tribunal.

“If the affidavit is not filed, we may have to inquire into the motives and objectives of the applicant and, if necessary, debar him from filing any such petitions in the future by inferring lack of bona fides or there being personal interest instead of public interest,” said the order.

This is not the first time that the judicial bodies have expressed their displeasure over the deliberate filing of frivolous PILs in the top courts. In 2017, the Supreme Court had rapped Prashant Bhushan, a perpetual Modi hater and a self-proclaimed PIL activist regarding his approach towards public interest litigations (PILs) and asked him whether he wanted a “super agency over and above” the top court.

Prashant Bhushan, who is often known for filing frivolous PILs having wide-ranging consequences has time and again shown his love towards anti-national sentiments and in the past, he has stood in the support of terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Menon to save them from the death penalty.

The Supreme Court has also schooled Bhushan several times for his PILs, as recently CJI Ranjan Gogoi had warned Bhushan of misusing PILs and had stated that PILs are for poor after turning down one of his petitions. The conduct of Prashant Bhushan also led the Supreme Court to express grave concern over the rising misuse of PILs in its Judge Loya verdict.

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