The Allahabad High Court has made serious observations on publication of Petitions and Court documents in media, even before they are filed before the Court or before the cognizance taken by the Court.
Court has deprecated the practice to gain publicity by filing petitions on sensitive issues so that it becomes a topic of discussion in public knowing fully well the ultimate result.
A PIL was filed before the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow by Krishan Kanhaya Pal, a practicing lawyer,regarding Virgin Bhaskar Web Series on Alt Balaji. Read Here
It was alleged in the PIL that the name of Ahilya Bai was used on the board of Girls Hostel, whereas the web series is an adult comedy.
The PIL came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Allahabad High Court at Lucknow comprising Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajeev Singh.
A preliminary objection was raised before the High Court on behalf of the Alt Balaji that the petition is not a public interest litigation but a petition for seeking publicity inasmuch as, it has come in public domain even before it was presented or filed in Court. The respondent no.5 got it downloaded from a legal news website much before it was officially filed.
In view of the aforesaid, Court found that it is apparent that the petitioner has invoked the writ jurisdiction of the Court for gaining unwarranted publicity in the garb of public interest.
The proposed filing of the petition was publicised in social media even before it was filed or any order was passed on it only with the oblique motive of publicity.
Court further observed that it is settled by various pronouncements of the apex court that public interest litigation is meant for upholding basic human rights to the deprived and vulnerable sections society and ensure Justice. The petitioner does not belong to the deprived class and is not seeking any basic human rights through this petition.
Hon’ble Judges further observed that it is also well recognised that the person approaching the court in public interest inter alia must be a bonafide person and should not be a person seeking any personal benefit and that the petition is not politically motivated or is with oblique motives.
Court stressed upon the fact that publication of any material proposed to be brought before the courts before it is actually filed is not a healthy practice rather an abuse of the process. It unnecessarily at times may prejudice the minds of the Judges. The media is supposed to play a responsible role in undertaking any such pre litigation publication and ought to avoid it.
Ultimately the Court dismissed the Petition.
Title:- Krishan Kanhaya Pal
Case No. P.I.L. CIVIL No. – 15130 of 2020
Date Of Order: 18.09.2020
Quorum:- Hon’ble Mr Justice Pankaj Mithal and Hon’ble Mr Justice Rajeev Singh
Advocate:- Krishan Kanhaya Pal (In Person)
Respondent- Shri J.N. Mathur Senior Counsel, Shri Chandra Shekhar Sinha & Shri Savitra Vardhan Singh