A large number of petitioners in Public Interest Litigation (PIL) cases file writ petitions without waiting for an answer. Commenting on the same, the Orissa High Court recently dismissed a Writ Petition on Tuesday (March 30th 2021) while making it clear that the petitioner has to allow the opposing parties at least time of two months to decide on their representation.
The bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray heard the case of the appellant making representations to the opposition parties on February 5, 2021, but a new petition was filed four days after the trial on February 9, 2021. The Petitioner was objecting to the construction of a building over forest land in Pallahara, District-Angul . However, he said no current members of the Bana Surakhya Samiti of Saharagurujang supported him and, therefore, made a representation to the Collector, Angul.
The Court also referred to ‘Rule 8 of the Orissa Public Interest Court Rules, 2010’ (2010 Rules), which states:
"Rule 8 quoted by the court states that before filing a case in court, the Applicant must submit representations to the relevant authorities to take remedial action, in terms of Section 80 CPC. The Section 80 of the Code provides that no suit shall be instituted against the Government or against a Public Officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity until the expiration of 2 months next after notice in writing has been delivered and a response from the relevant authority to its copies must be included in this complaint. Submission to the authorities "close to the provisions of Article 80 CPC." Therefore, the appellant must give the opposition parties at least two months to make a decision.
In addition, the Court emphasized that in terms of rule 8 of 2010 that, in an emergency where submission of representations and waiting for a response "could cause injury or damage that may be remedied, an application may be lodged immediately by giving early notice."
Finally, the Court left it open to the Applicant to first comply with the requirements, and if the cause of the action still exists, to file a new application in accordance with the law.
Title of the case - Madan Mohan Sahu v. Collector, Angul and others
[WP (C) No. 537 of 2021]