New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Thursday said this Court must be alive to the contemporary reality of ambush Public Interest Litigations that are filed with a conscious intention to obtain a dismissal and preclude genuine litigants from approaching the Court.
The top court said that while determining the applicability of the principle of ‘res judicata’ under provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it must be conscious that grave issues of public interest are not lost in the woods merely because a petition was initially filed and dismissed, without a substantial adjudication on merits. Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 embodies the principles of ‘res judicata’ which bars the court from deciding issues that have been directly or substantially having been the subject matter in an earlier proceeding between the same parties or parties claiming under the same title and have been finally decided.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and B.V. Nagarathna said, there is a trend of poorly pleaded public interest litigations being filed instantly following a disclosure in the media, with a conscious intention to obtain a dismissal from the Court and preclude genuine litigants from approaching the Court in the public interest .
It said, this Court must be alive to the contemporary reality of ‘ambush Public Interest Litigations’ and interpret the principles of res judicata or constructive res judicata in a manner which does not debar access to justice. The jurisdiction under Article 32 is a fundamental right in and of itself .
The top court remarks came in the verdict while rejecting the Centre’s submission that NGO’s plea challenging the proposed disinvestment of government’s 29.54 residuary shares in Hindustan Zinc Ltd should not be entertained as a similar plea was dismissed by the court in 2012.
In this case, since the three-judge Bench of this Court rejected the petition filed by Maton Mines Mazdoor Sangh (2012) in limine, without a substantive adjudication on the merits of their claim, the present writ petition is not barred by res judicata , the bench said.