Daijiworld Media Network - Bengaluru (SP)
Bengaluru, Sep 21: In a unique instance, the high court (HC) termed a public interest litigation as selfish interest litigation and ordered the litigant to deposit a fine of ten lac rupees into the Advocates Clerks Welfare Fund within a month.
The litigant has been supplying fish to Raj Fishmeal and Oil Company. The company had remitted over Rs 95 crore to the litigant company between 2013-14 and 2020-21. After the agreement ended, the litigant filed public interest litigation.
A person named Prashanth Ameen accused Raj Fishmeal and Oil Company of which Congress leader, Pramod Madhwaraj is a partner, of releasing rotten fish and effluents into the river thereby damaging the environment. Ameen sought strict action against the said company for these activities. Karnataka High Court, which dismissed this litigation, also ordered the petitioner to remit a fine of ten lac rupees to Advocates Clerks Welfare Fund within a month in order to help the advocates’ clerks who are facing hardships due to covid19 pandemic.
A division bench of the high court comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Mugdum also commented that Prashanth Ameen had filed this litigation for selfish interests.
Prashanth Ameen used to supply fish to Raj Fishmeal and Oil Company and the said company had paid about Rs 95 crore to the litigant company between 2013-14 and 2020-21. The public interest litigation was filed after the agreement between the two companies fell off.
While the litigant said that the company is polluting the river water and damaging the environment, the Karnataka State Environment Pollution Control Board which filed the compliance report did not make any such allegations, the high court observed. The bench observed that the litigant, which had business connection with the other company, had concealed these facts and filed public interest litigation. The court observed that this is a selfish interest litigation and that the litigant had misused the court process.
The litigant has to pay fine of ten lac rupees to the said fund within a month failing which Udupi deputy commissioner has to recover the fine from him and deposit to the said fund. A compliance report should be sent to the registrar general, it said, duly quashing the public interest litigation.
Raj Fishmeal and Oil company was represented by senior advocate, Shashikiran Shetty, in the case. Prashanth Ameen was represented by Dilraj Jude Rohit Sequeira.