A Bombay High Court has directed litigants to exhaust all possible legal remedies before filing PILs with the High Court seeking criminal action against an organisation, a government official or a person.
The HC said that the petitioner must first try to get his/her statement recorded with the police or attempt to approach a magistrate with the complaint before applying to the HC.
A division bench comprising Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre issued the direction while dealing with a PIL filed by advocate Vivekanand Gupta, which alleged serious irregularities by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in schemes related to the construction of roads as well as de-silting of drains between the years 2013 and 2016.
Police Action After PIL Filing
The city police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) took action last year after the PIL was filed by lodging a case against involved BMC officials along with other private persons. It also submitted at regular intervals probe reports to the court.
Justice Dharmadhikari noted that before filing PILs citizens and particularly activists who know the law must first rule out other remedies before seeking intervention by HCs.
The court accordingly has asked Gupta to approach the concerned officer of the EOW to get his statement recorded with the police. The next date for hearing the petition has been set after 10 weeks.
In another PIL which sought an FIR to be filed against a government official, the bench observed that the high court “cannot be treated like a servant. “