IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU
DATED THIS THE 20TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2018
HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE DINESH MAHESHWARI, CHIEF JUSTICE AND HON’BLE MRS.JUSTICE S. SUJATHA
W.P.Nos.44038 – 44039 OF 2018 (GM – RES) PIL
1. SMT.ANUSHA N.,
D/O LATE NAGARAJU
AGED ABOUT 28 YEARS.
2. SMT.ANJULA VISHWANATH
W/O VISHWANATH N.,
AGED ABOUT 26 YEARS
BOTH ARE R/AT NO.399 (N)
BEHIND NITHYANANDA HIGH SCHOOL,
JIGANI, ANEKAL TALUK,
BANGALORE-560 105 … PETITIONERS
(BY SRI VISHWANATH, ADVOCATE)
1. UNION OF INDIA
BY MINISTRY OF LAW AND JUSTICE,
4TH FLOOR, A-WING, SHASTRI BHAWAN,
NEW DELHI-110 001
REP. BY ITS SECRETARY
2. UNION OF INDIA
BY THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND
NEW DELHI-110 001
REP. BY ITS SECRETARY
3. STATE OF KARNATAKA
BY DEPARTMENT OF LAW,
JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS,
GROUND FLOOR, VIDHANA SOUDHA,
REP. BY ITS SECRETARY
4. STATE OF KARNATAKA
BY DEPARTMENT OF WOMEN AND
2ND FLOOR, VIDHANA SOUDHA,
REP. BY ITS SECRETARY
5. STATE OF KARNATAKA
BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME,
REP. BY ITS SECRETARY.
6. SURESH M.,
R/AT NO.128, KARNUR VILLAGE,
MATHIGIRI POST, HOSUR TALUK,
TAMIL NADU-635 110 … RESPONDENTS
(BY SRI A.D.VIJAYA HAVANUR, ADVOCATE FOR R-1 & R-2; SRI D.NAGARAJ, AGA FOR R-3 TO R-5.)
THESE WRIT PETITIONS ARE FILED UNDER ARTICLES 226 AND 227 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, PRAYING TO DIRECT TO R-1 & 3 TO PROMPTLY IMPLEMENT THE SUGGESTIONS ENUMERATED AT PARAGRAPH 35[a]TO [e] OF THIS PETITION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT TO BRING IN THE REFORMS IN JUSTICE DELIVERY SYSTEM.
THESE PETITIONS HAVING BEEN RESERVED FOR ORDERS ON 09.11.2018, COMING ON FOR PRONOUNCEMENT OF ORDERS, THIS DAY, S. SUJATHA, J., PASSED THE FOLLOWING:
These petitions are filed by the petitioners as public interest litigation (‘PIL’) seeking for a writ of mandamus, order or direction to respondent Nos.1 and 3 to promptly implement the suggestions enumerated at paragraphs 35(a) to (e) of these petitions with immediate effect to bring in the reforms in justice delivery system inter alia seeking a direction to respondent Nos.1 to 5 and the law enforcement authorities for strict adherence to protection of women, dowry, domestic violence laws and their strict implementation to protect the intentions and objectives of the said laws and to secure the safety, security, welfare and dignity of women; as also for a direction to respondent No.4 for the strict departmental action against the Protection Officer & Child Development Protection Officer, Department of Women and Child Development, Anekal Taluk, Bangalore Urban District; pass punitive and compensatory orders against all the respondents for dereliction of duty, negligence and for other such reliefs.
2. It transpires that the petitioner No.1 initiated proceedings against respondent No.6 who is none other than her husband. The petitioner No.2 is the sister of the respondent No.6 who is married to the elder brother of the petitioner No.1. It is the grievance of the petitioners that parallel justice delivery system which indeed is substituting the alternate dispute resolution system, owing to slow justice delivery system, is vibrant in Anekal Taluk and has caused great hardship to them in the process of seeking justice with respect to the disputes pending before the jurisdictional Courts. It is contended that the settlements made out of Courts with an intrusion of strong elements supported by politicians, rowdy elements or police by shelling out money, has defeated the justice delivery system. On this count seeks for reformation in the justice delivery system.
3. Indisputably, these petitions crop up due to the cases filed by/against the petitioners before the jurisdictional Courts. Such multiple proceedings are pending consideration/disposed of relating to the disputes raised under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Sections 498-A, 506, 504, 420 of IPC etc.,
4. Learned counsel Sri.Viswanatha, appearing for the petitioners submitted that these petitioners are standing in the queue seeking redressal of their grievance who are subjected to abuse and harassment. The litigants who are standing in the queue along with the petitioners are facing similar problems; Multiple number of cases filed by the petitioners including allegation of breach of court orders as well as the connivance of the police officials/officers with respondent No.6 resulting in various orders of the respective Disciplinary Authorities would be only an illustration to present the sorry state of affairs. Accordingly, he prayed for implementation of the suggestions made by the petitioners in paragraphs 35(a) to (e) of these petitions inter alia sought for other reliefs as prayed.
5. Learned Central Government standing counsel Smt.A.D.Vijaya appearing for respondent Nos.1 and 2 argued that the petition is wholly misconceived. No public cause is espoused by the petitioners; It is purely a family dispute. Petitioners have made allegations against respondent No.6 for cheating and dishonestly misappropriating the partnership property as well as abusing and harassing them. Petitioner No.1 has raised family disputes and the same are pending consideration before the respective Courts. Hence, these writ petitions deserve to be rejected at the threshold as not maintainable.
6. Learned Additional Government Advocate Sri.D.Nagaraj appearing for respondent Nos. 3 to 5 supporting the arguments of the learned counsel for respondent Nos.1 and 2 argued that the petitioners have alternate and efficacious remedy to take recourse to their remedies. Reliance is placed on the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Sakiri Vasu Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and others reported in (2008)2 SCC 409 to contend that Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C. provides an implied power to the Magistrate to order registration of a criminal offence or to drag the officer in charge to the police station concerned to hold a proper investigation and to take necessary steps for ensuring proper investigation including monitoring the same. The petitioners if are aggrieved by certain actions/orders in the proceedings initiated by them, they are the aggrieved persons, their personal interest cannot be adjudicated in the guise of a PIL, hence, seeks for dismissal of the writ petitions.
7. We have carefully considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel appearing for the respective parties and have perused the material on record.
8. The petition averments reveal that the litigation pending between the petitioners and the respondent No.6 is the root cause for filing these petitions styled as PIL. Details of such proceedings as averred in the writ petitions are as under:
1]. FIR dated 08.10.2016 in Crime No.0180/2016 u/s 498-A of IPC, before the Addl. Civil Judge [Jr.Dn] & JMFC Court, Anekal, Bangalore Rural District.
2]. C.C.No.1056/2017 before the Prl. Civil Judge & JMFC, at Anekal.
3]. C.C.No.164/2018 before the Addl. Civil Judge [Jr.Dn] & JMFC Court, Anekal,Bangalore Rural District.
4]. Cr.Misc.No.56/2017 before the Principal Sessions Judge, Bengaluru Rural District, Bengaluru.
5]. Cr.Misc.No.1161/2016 before the Addl. Civil Judge & JMFC. Anekal.
6]. Complaint dated 27.06.2018 before the Protection Officer, reg. Breach of protection orders.
7]. Petition dated 23.07.2018 before the Karnataka Minister for Women and Children Welfare.
8]. P.C.R.430/2018, before the Additional Civil Judge & Judicial Magistrate of First Class at Anekal.
9. It is apparent that the petitioners are seeking redressal of their grievances suggesting certain guidelines to be implemented by the law enforcement authorities for speedy disposal of their cases pending under different proceedings. If such suggestions or proposals made by the petitioners be considered to resolve their disputes and directions be issued in the PIL, we are afraid that the same would lead to anomalies giving scope to the individual perceptions, designed to achieve a personal gain or private profit. In other words, each and every dispute, if not adjudicated and decided to the satisfaction of the litigants, would partake the character of a PIL meddling with the judicial process for oblique considerations, contrary to the noble object of the PIL espousing the cause of the public and well established legal procedures enacted/prescribed to adjudicate a dispute judiciously.
10. The scope of public interest litigation is considered and analysed by the Hon’ble Apex Court in catena of judgments. We find it apt to quote the relevant paragraphs of the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Dr. B.Singh V/s. Union of India and Others, reported in  3 SCC 363 and the same is extracted hereunder:
“12. Public interest litigation is a weapon which has to be used with great care and circumspection and the judiciary has to be extremely careful to see that behind the beautiful veil of public interest an ugly private malice, vested interest and/or publicity seeking is not lurking. It is to be used as an effective weapon in the armory of law for delivering social justice to the citizens. The attractive brand name of public interest litigation should not be allowed to be used for suspicious products of mischief. It should be aimed at redressal of genuine public wrong or public injury and not publicity oriented or founded on personal vendetta. As indicated above, Court must be careful to see that a body of persons or member of public, who approaches the court is acting bona fide and not for personal gain or private motive or political motivation or other oblique consideration. The Court must not allow its process to be abused for oblique considerations by masked phantoms who monitor at times from behind. Some persons with vested interest indulge in the pastime of meddling with judicial process either by force of habit or from improper motives and try to bargain for a good deal as well to enrich themselves. Often they are actuated by a desire to win notoriety or cheap popularity. The petitions of such busy bodies deserve to be thrown out by rejection at the threshold, and in appropriate cases with exemplary costs.
13. The Council for Public Interest Law set up by the Ford Foundation in USA defined the “public interest litigation” in its report of Public Interest Law, USA, 1976 as follows:
“Public Interest Law is the name that has recently been given to efforts provide legal representation to previously unrepresented groups and interests. Such efforts have been undertaken in the recognition that ordinary market place for legal services fails to provide such services to significant segments of the population and to significant interests. Such groups and interests include the proper environmentalists, consumers, racial and ethnic minorities and others.”
14. The Court has to be satisfied about (a) the credentials of the applicant; (b) the prima facie correctness or nature of information given by him; (c) the information being not vague and indefinite. The information should show gravity and seriousness involved. Court has to strike balance between two conflicting interests; (i) nobody should be allowed to indulge in wild and reckless allegations besmirching the character of others; and (ii) avoidance of public mischief and to avoid mischievous petitions seeking to assail, for oblique motives, justifiable executive actions. In such case, however, the Court cannot afford to be liberal. It has to be extremely careful to see that under the guise of redressing a public grievance, it does not encroach upon the sphere reserved by the Constitution to the Executive and the Legislature. The Court has to act ruthlessly while dealing with imposters and busy bodies or meddlesome interlopers impersonating as public- spirited holy men. They masquerade as crusaders of justice. They pretend to act in the name of pro bono publico, though they have no interest of the public or even of their own to protect.”
11. The present petitions though styled as a “public interest litigation”, establishes that it is a camouflage to foster personal disputes or vendetta to bring to terms a person, respondent No.6, the same requires to be thrown out at the threshold. Public Interest Litigation cannot be used as a tool to wreck vengeance as well as to malign the morale of the officers. The fundamental object of public interest litigation is to enforce fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions but not to set right the private dispute or to bring the parties to terms. The action of the petitioners pretending to act in the name of pro bono publico, only to get private profit or personal gain should be discouraged. We are convinced that the petitioners are seeking reliefs in a sinister manner which is nothing but a frivolous litigation masked to resolve the family dispute circumventing the regular judicial process.
12. It is a well settled legal principle that the statutory authorities/law enforcing authorities are bound by the statutes/notifications/circulars issued by the competent authorities exercising the powers under the statute/s. If there is any infraction of law committed by the authorities, appropriate remedy is available under law.
13. We are astound by the prayer sought by the petitioners to direct the respondent Nos.1 and 3 to promptly implement the suggestions enumerated in the petition. No individual in personal capacity can issue any guidelines to the union/state/statutory authorities and seek for implementation of such personal guidelines. In the garb of bringing reforms in the justice delivery system, the scope of public interest litigation cannot be widened to serve private interest in the pending litigation. The petition is wholly misconceived, the same deserves to be dismissed.
In view of the above, PIL jurisdiction in these petitions is declined.
The petitions stand dismissed.