Court junks Swamy’s PIL on Sunanda death, calls it ‘political interest litigation’

Delhi HC dismissed the plea for a court-monitored SIT probe.
Court junks Swamy’s PIL on Sunanda death, calls it ‘political interest litigation’
Court junks Swamy’s PIL on Sunanda death, calls it ‘political interest litigation’
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a PIL filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of Congres MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Terming it as "political interest litigation", the High Court said it is "unfortunate that court is being used in this manner".

A division bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice IS Mehta said that "courts should be careful in not letting the judicial machinery being used by political personalities for their own purposes".

"This is perhaps a textbook example of political interest litigation dressed up as public interest litigation," the bench remarked while dismissing Swamy's petition.

The court said it was not satisfied that this plea can be entertained as a PIL (Public Interest Litigation). 

The court added it is unable to persuade that investigation being carried out by the SIT is "botched up or under the influence of anyone".

"The court expects the SIT will take the investigation to its logical conclusion."

During the hearing, the court asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appearing for the Delhi Police and the Centre whether he subscribes to the allegation that the husband of late Pushkar has made attempts to influence the government to hush up the case and continue to influence the probe.

Jain replied in the negative, saying he does not subscribe to these allegations and there is no question of the Delhi Police being influenced or evidence washed up.

In his petition, Swamy said there has been constant attempt to block the investigation and alleged that the registration of an FIR took almost a year and nothing has happened after that.

The plea had alleged that "very influential people are involved in the case, leading to attempts to protect them and the matter has faced a lot of unnecessary delay already".

At the outset, the bench asked Swamy to explain the basis of the allegations made in his petition as averments were made against a person who belongs to a political party in opposition and why he has not put out the evidence in support of the allegations.

"Which part of your petition is based on your personal knowledge and which part is based on belief?" the court asked.

Swamy cannot make such "sweeping allegation", said the bench, as he sought time to file a separate affidavit to give details of the basis of his petition.

The court said: "You (Swamy) said in your affidavit that you have not concealed any information. Today when we ask you to explain the basis of your allegations, you say you will file another affidavit. That means you have concealed information."

The court also questioned Swamy for not stating anywhere in his petition that he is a leader of the BJP and that the person against whom he was making the allegation was from the Congress.

The court also refrained from imposing any cost on Swamy for filing the PIL.

Swamy said: "This is not my first PIL. I know how the court works. This is the first time I have been questioned like this. I have been a Law Minister. What you are asking me is tantamount to accusing me of concealing evidence."

The bench clarified that nothing said in the court's order should be constrained as having said anything on the investigation which is underway.

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