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Move to choke PILs condemned - The Observer

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
15 February 1997

Title : Move to choke PILs condemned
Author :
Publication : The Observer
Date : February 15, 1997

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday announced it will to block
reported government move to curb incidence of Public Interest
Litigations and asserted that the executive or parliament should
not be allowed to snatch the citizen's constitutional instrument to
seek justice.

Describing the reported government move to choke PILs, as contained
in a draft bill on Public Interest Litigations pending before the
cabinet for approval, as "draconian" the BJP said neither the
parliament nor the executive should be allowed to transgress the
judicial territory.

What Public Interest Litigations can be filed or not should be left
to the discretion of the judiciary, BJP spokesperson Yashwant Sinha
said expressing his party's apprehensions and deep concern over the
reported government move. The draft PIL bill seeks to stiffen the
rules and regulations governing the PILs and introduce punitive
action against 'frivolous' litigations and litigants.

The BJP sees a definite designs in this government move and
expressed the apprehension that the provisions of the bill could be
applied to the PILs pending in different courts.

The proposed bill aimed at preventing citizens from resorting to
PIL, the BJP said, was a draconian measure to protect those in
power. If enacted the bill will effectively allow those guilty of
financial and other excesses to go scot free and it will encourage
corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to violate the law of the land.

"To allow this bill to be passed would amount to legitimising the
misdeeds of those who have assumed public office and then break
every law on the statute book," the BJP said in a written
statement. The government efforts to blunt PIL is akin to tampering
with habeas corpus device by the emergency regime of Mrs Indira
Gandhi, it said.

The existing laws are sufficient to deal with frivolous PILs,
Yashwant Sinha asserted urging the government not to bring forward
such a legislation. He, however, lamented that by brute majority,
the government may push through the bill, since "sometime wrongs
are committed by parliament by this majority principle."

Moving onto Uttar Pradesh, the BJP leader asserted that the party
would like to have first shot at government formation in the state
and maintained that the governor's refusal to invite the single
largest party was wrong and biased. "At the moment Kanshi is not on
our agenda," said Yashwant Sinha, as "Kashi and Mathura are not on
our agenda" to reflect the party's growing confidence following the
dismal performance of the Bahujan Samaj Party in Punjab assembly

Sinha was responding to a question as to how the BJP would respond
to BSP supremo Kanshi Ram's reported renewed interest in government
formation in Uttar Pradesh with BJP help. The BJP stand is that
"we must be invited to form the government first," the P
spokesperson said .

Soon after the Punjab election results came out, some BJP leaders
were expecting that a chastised BSP supremo would be more willing
to yield. Naturally after his Punjab debacle, it is the BJP which
has upped the ante in the state, preferring to wait for the Supreme
Court to pronounce its judgement on the correctness of the
governor's actions.

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