The Bombay High Court imposed 1 Rupee cost on petitioners who filed PILs to address personal grievances.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted that because of framing of some guidelines by the State of Maharashtra vide its Government Resolution in particular the guidelines relating to the place of origin of the persons belonging to Mahadev-Koli, Schedule Tribes, the petitioners are not being issued any tribe certificate by the competent authority.
He contended that these guidelines are illegal as they amount to imposing area restrictions upon the persons desirous of obtaining caste/tribe certificate from the competent authority, when the area restrictions have been removed long back.
He further submitted that there was a Report submitted by Dajiba Parbat Patil, Committee who was Deputy Chairperson, Legislative Council in the year 1986, making various recommendations, one of them being of devising an easier and less complicated system of issuance of Schedule Tribe certificate and cancellation of the Government Publication, Tribes of Maharashtra, 1982, with a direction to not use it as a reference book.
Additional Government Pleader for the State submitted that the petition is not maintainable as what is being espoused on the pretext of public interest litigation is a personal grievance of the petitioners, the grievance that the petitioners are not being issued any tribe certificate because of the guidelines prescribed in Government Resolution.
She also submitted that it is for the Government to decide to accept or reject the recommendations of any Committee and the person like the petitioners cannot seek any mandamus to the State for accepting those recommendations.
The division bench of Justice M.W. Chandwani and Justice Sunil B. Shukre observed that the petitioners on the pretext of filing a public interest litigation are basically pursuing their own cause, which is evident from the fact that petitioners are personally aggrieved by non-issuance of tribe certificates to them, which is the submission of their counsel.
The court said that under no circumstances, the petitioners would be entitled to raise the issue through a public interest litigation, which is really an issue of private nature.
“The guidelines contained in the G.R. 1985, which dwell upon the places of origin of Mahadev Koli tribals do not impose any area restrictions for deciding the tribe claims. They are only in the nature of the predominant presence of Mahadev Koli Tribals in certain districts like Pune, Thane, Raigad, Nashik and Ahemadnagar” the court said.
The court further said that the argument that these guidelines are illegal does not hold any water. If there is any person who is aggrieved by some or the other interpretation of these guidelines by a particular scrutiny committee, he would be always at liberty to approach the Court by invoking writ jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
The court found that the petition is not maintainable and in fact is an abuse of the process of Court and therefore, it is necessary that the petition is dismissed with some costs.
Case title: Babarao Sheshrao Pete and another v/s Union of India and others
Citation: Public interest litigation (stamp) no. 4853 of 2021