Public Interest Litigation
Always a Step Ahead
“The writ Petitioners have done a commendable job by bringing to the notice of the Court the issues focused. We record our deep appreciation for them for canvassing the cause”.
In that case the land reserved for maintaining green had been encroached upon unauthorisedly by builders in connivance with the Government Agencies – DDA, MCD, Revenue Officials, and the builders constructed residential flats thereon. The Hon’ble High Court was pleased to observe, “Public interest demands strict action in such matter in order to protect public land and clean environment. Therefore, we have no hesitation in our mind in directing for dismantling and demolition of the entire construction made on the aforesaid land and the entire land should be restored to its original condition which we hereby order.” On the land now stands a beautiful park dedicated to “NYAY”. [Scale 2000 (6) N.L.R. – J-1 at J-20].
The NGO has also taken up the cause of an ‘Open Green land’ about 10 acres in size, located in Chittranjan Park, which was being proposed to be converted into a Sports Complex by the DDA, in violation of the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021. The NGO moved a Public Interest Litigation in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, at New Delhi in C.W.P. No. 4908 of 2008 and immediately got a stay and the case was finally decided in favour of the NGO on 20.03.2013. The park is being maintained as a green area with people coming from far and near for walks, yoga, exercise, picnics etc.
The NGO has also taken up the cause of a slum at Indira Kalyan Vihar, Okhla, whose population is more than 50,000 and has filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board) to remove the deplorable sanitary conditions endangering the health and hygiene of the dwellers of the slum and to cover an open Nala (500’ x 50’) out of which 20’ x 30’ had collapsed, posing a grave danger to the residents, particularly children of the slum. The Hon’ble High Court was pleased to grant both the reliefs.
The NGO has taken a lead in giving suggestions to the proposed amendments to the ‘Indecent’ Representation of women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 as sought by the Central Government through press release (Hindustan Times dt. 17.01.2013) after which the Secretary General of the NGO was invited to give oral evidence with regard to the same before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources Development.
The NGO has also taken up the cause of common public transportation system drawing inspiration from the management of the ‘Best’ Buses in Mumbai in a Public Interest Litigation filed before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in order that the general public gets a decent and dignified mode of travelling because the Bus Transportation System then prevailing in Delhi was horrifying. However, this petition was not pressed by the NGO because the Government of Delhi made a statement before the Hon’ble Court that it was going to start low floor AC/Non AC buses soon which buses can now be seen plying on the roads of Delhi.
The NGO had also taken up the cause of ‘Preventive Medicines / Injections for the ‘Swine Flu’, to be made readily and easily available in the markets of India, particularly in Delhi, where there had been a severe outbreak of swine flu. A Public Interest Litigation was filed by the NGO in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi. However, the Hon’ble High Court deemed it proper not to interfere as the relief prayed for, was a matter of policy decision.
The NGO, being a humanistic organization was very much disturbed by the events in the State of Kerala, where the youth wing activists of a political party were indiscriminately killing stray dogs, against which many Writ petitions were filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The NGO also filed an application for intervention to voice their opinion and assist the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter.
The NGO has taken up the cause of reintroduction of the playing of the National Anthem before commencing of films in all cinema halls and filed Public Interest Ligation in the year 2014, before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, pursuant to which two orders dated 21.04.2014 and 25.04.2014 were passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the NGO was asked to submit representation to the Central Government. However, the representation to the Central Government did not evoke any response from the Central Government.
Meanwhile a Writ petition (C) No. 855 of 2016 was filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in which the NGO filed an application for intervention which was taken into consideration by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, pursuant to which the Hon’ble Court asked the NGO to submit their suggestions in regard to the playing of ‘National Anthem’ in Cinema Halls, which have been submitted by the NGO. The relevant portion of the order dated 03.01.2016 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is as under :
“In view of the aforesaid, we think it appropriate that the Committee should comprehensively look into all the aspects. Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India has submitted in the course of argument that the petitioner can give suggestions by way of representation to the Committee. Mr. V.K. Biju and Ms. Nanita Sharma, learned counsel and Mr. Sanjeev Bhatnagar, the applicant in-person can also give suggestion in this regard. When we say suggestions, we mean that suggestions shall only relate to the National Anthem and nothing else”.
The NGO also filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 / 227 of the Constitution of India before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court for a writ of mandamus, order or direction to the Union of India, the State Government and the Animal Welfare Board to carry out their statutory duties and contain the population of the stray dogs, increasing by the day, through Sterilization Programmes at regular intervals. Notice has been issued in the matter and the writ is pending in the Hon’ble High Court.
The NGO while working with the migrant workers on the ground, by supplying ration, food packets, etc. also took up their matter legally before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The NGO filed an Application for Intervention in the Suo Moto Petition (C) No. 6 of 2020, In Re : Problems and miseries of migrant labourers to assist the Hon’ble Supreme Court and apprise them of the hardships being faced at the ground level by them who remained the poor, the needy, the underdog and the neglected, especially during the lockdown, last year and one of the prayers in the application was to remedy the hardships and transport them to their home towns or villages with dignity, making ‘human rights’, meaningful for them.