Delhi HC: ₹10 lakh cost imposed on NGO for filing petition to “blackmail” builders

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: August 4, 2022 at 20:27 IST

For bringing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to “blackmail” builders and for suppressing the fact that it had previously filed a petition on the similar subject, the Delhi High Court imposed an NGO 10 lakh in costs [New Rise Foundation Regd Charitable Trust v Municipal Corporation Delhi and Ors].

The NGO, New Rise Foundation Regd. Charitable Trust, was directed to deposit the money with the Army War Widows Fund within 30 days by a Division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad.

The Bench said that the NGO did not come to the court with clean hands and that the petition was merely a “sheer abuse of the Doctrine of Public Interest Litigation”.

The petition was dismissed, the Court ordered.

“In the considered opinion of this Court, the present petition is nothing but a sheer abuse of the process of law and therefore, this Court is of the opinion that the present petition deserves to be dismissed at admission stage itself with costs of 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakhs) to be paid to the Army War Widows Fund within a period of 30 days from today,”.

The NGO appeared in court and alleged that a structure in Neb Sarai was illegally constructed, and that despite their many representations to the authorities, nothing was done.

However, the attorney representing the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) told the court that the petitioner NGO is actually engaged in blackmail against builders and other people.

The counsel went on to say that when the case was heard on June 2, 2022, the court was inclined to impose costs because the petition was frivolous, but it was later allowed to be withdrawn. The petitioner, who was represented by the same counsel, had previously filed a plea.

According to the Court, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Saket, will recover the money as arrears of land revenue and transfer it to the Army War Widows Fund with intimation to the Registrar General if it is not paid within 30 days.

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