Supreme Court Affirms Authority to Remove Unnecessary Parties in PILs, Citing Discretionary Powers

The Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, upheld its authority to delete unnecessary parties in Public Interest Litigations (PILs), emphasizing the court’s discretionary powers in issuing notices to relevant parties. The decision came as the court dismissed a plea challenging an interim order by the Uttarakhand High Court, which had removed certain respondents from the array of parties while issuing notice in a case.

The plea before the High Court involved an inquiry into alleged illegal appointments of 396 employees and officers in the Legislative Assembly of Uttarakhand between 2001 and 2022, made by the previous government and officers. On January 10, the High Court had issued an order deleting certain respondents while issuing notice in the plea.

During the hearing, a bench comprising Justices Bela Trivedi and Prashant Kumar Mishra expressed their opinion that issuing notice to unnecessary parties was unwarranted. The court remarked, “How can you make so many respondents like this? MLA, MP, CM, you can’t do this! And you can’t ask for such prayers. They are not necessary parties.” The bench further asserted that, in PILs, it is at the court’s discretion to decide whom to issue notice.

The petitioner’s counsel, Ankur Yadav, argued that the parties removed from the case were involved in the alleged illegal appointments. In response, the court stated, “You may ask anything under the sky. It doesn’t mean that we should grant it.” The bench also noted that the High Court had not dismissed the plea but had served notice to two respondents in the matter.

Based on these grounds, the Supreme Court declined to entertain the petition, stating, “Having heard learned counsel for the petitioner, we are not inclined to entertain the Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The Special Leave Petition is accordingly dismissed.”

The plea had relied on the findings of an expert committee, alleging that several appointments in the Vidhan Sabha were made through direct recruitment, in violation of established practices and procedures such as failing to publish advertisements for ad-hoc appointments and bypassing competitive exams.

The case, titled “Baij Nath Versus Union Of India And Ors,” had been brought before the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition (SLP) under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.


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