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Delhi High Court declines to hear a plea against the Supreme Court guidelines on PILs

The Delhi High Court today, declined to entertain the petition which had challenged the validity of several provisions of the Supreme Court’s 2013 guidelines cum rules on Public Interest Litigations. The provisions of rules under challenge obligate an advocate as well as the litigant to provide details like their annual income as well as Permanent Account Number while lodging a public interest litigation petition.

The petition was lodged before a bench comprising Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, G Rohini and Justice Rajiv SahaiEndlaw. The bench quashed the petition observing that the Supreme Court is already seized of a similar matter.

When the Court enquired as to the details of the petitioner, he admitted to being a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Thereafter, the Court opined that since the Association is already contesting the matter in the Supreme Court, the petitioner is not allowed to bring it up independently, since he is a member of the Association.

The bench observed that in light of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court cannot entertain the present petition in public interest. The Court chose to dismiss the case, without prohibiting the petitioner from availing any other remedies suggested by the Court itself.

The public interest litigation petition was filed by advocate M L Sharma. Responding to the petitioner’s arguments, the Court observed that making haste while approaching the court prematurely is not appreciated since the advocate should have first approached the Supreme Court Bar Association in order to challenge the rules.

According to the bench, the appropriate course for the petitioner would have been to initially approach the SCBA in order to file a specific challenge to the provision/Rule or opt for alternate remedies before the Supreme Court.

Further, the Court chided the petitioner for not informing the Supreme Court prior to approaching the Delhi High Court. The Court was of the opinion that if the petitioner did indeed have any grievance against the impugned rule/provision, he should have first made a representation before the Supreme Court.

Advocate Sharma’s petition had also question the rules which required a litigant as well a lawyer to appear before the Registrar of the Supreme Court for an interview which will enable the said person to garner a certificate deeming him eligible to appear and argue before the Supreme Court.

by Siddhartha Singh.