10 May 2011

No PIL for challenging Lok Pal Bill Committee: High Court

Dismissing the public interest litigation challenging the constitution of the Lok Pal Committee Bill the Delhi High Court in a recent decision declared that there was no public interest shown to the involved in the challenge and thus the petition was dismissed at the admission stage itself. The decision, authored by the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court himself, dismissed the petition filed by Hemant Baburao Patil, the President of National Anti Corruption Public Power in the following terms;
6. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, it is manifest that members of the Committee do not hold public office and, hence, there cannot be any eligibility criteria. Therefore, the concept of quo warranto is not applicable. A drafting committee has been constituted which pertains to a pre-enactment stage. We have our grave doubt whether the same can be scrutinized while exercising the power of judicial review. The Constitution casts an obligation on the part of the Court while exercising power of judicial review to test the legislation in the constitutional backdrop, but not at a stage when the drafting of a Bill is in process. It is a resolution passed by the Ministry of Law and Justice for drafting of a Bill. It can be treated as an internal matter of the Executive and exclusively in the domain of Executive. The suitability of the persons, we are disposed to think, cannot be a matter of judicial review, more so in a matter of the present nature. 
7. Resultantly, we do not perceive any public interest involved in this writ petition and, accordingly, there is no need to call for any kind of counter affidavit/return from the respondents. The writ petition does not deserve to be entertained for the purpose of adjudication and, accordingly, the same stands dismissed.

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