Supreme Court said time has come when exemplary costs should be imposed on frivolous PILs.
The Supreme Court has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on a man for claiming in a PIL that the oath taken by the Bombay High Court chief justice was "defective", and said it was a frivolous attempt to gain publicity.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said the oath having been administered by the Governor and having been subscribed to after the administration of the oath, such objections cannot be raised.
The top court said this was only a frivolous attempt to use the PIL jurisdiction to propagate some publicity for the petitioner.
"The petitioner does not, as he possibly cannot, dispute that the oath of office was administered to the correct person. The oath having been administered by the Governor and having been subscribed to after the administration of the oath, such objections cannot be raised.
"We are clearly of the view that such frivolous PILs occupy the time and attention of the Court thereby deflecting the attention of the court from more serious matters and consuming the infrastructure of the judicial manpower and Registry of the Court," the bench also comprising Justice JB Padriwala and Justice Manoj Misra said.
It said the time has come when the court should impose exemplary costs in such frivolous PILs.
"We accordingly dismiss the petition with costs of Rs 5,00,000, which shall be deposited by the petitioner in the Registry of this Court within a period of four weeks," the bench said.
The top court said that if the cost is not deposited within the aforesaid period, the same shall be collected as arrears of land revenue through the Collector and District Magistrate at Lucknow.
The top court was hearing a PIL filed by Ashok Pandey contending that he is aggrieved by what he described as a 'defective oath' administered to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay.
The petitioner stated that the Chief Justice did not use the expression "I" before his name while taking the oath, in contravention of the Third Schedule of the Constitution. He also contended that the representatives and administrator of the Government of the Union Territory of Daman and Diu and Dadar and Nagar Haveli were not invited to the oath ceremony.
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