NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
62 M.G. ROAD, BADWANI, (M.P.)
MAINTAINABILITY OF NCCL PETITION CHALLENGED
While hearing the petition filed in 2006 by Shri N.C. Saxena through National Council for Civil Liberties [NCCL], a Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice C. K. Thakkar and Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta today (12th February 2007) recorded that the very maintainability of the petition needs examination. The bench, however, allowed the Union of India, State of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to file their responses.
Ms Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, appearing for the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) contended that the Writ Petition filed under Article 32 is an abuse of the process of law. No such petition under the cover of Public Interest Litigation can be filed which seeks to settle personal vendetta. She pointed that in the year 2001, a petition on the very same grounds was filed before the Gujarat High Court, which was disposed of in the same year. The petitioner, after 5 years has filed a petition before the Supreme Court on the same material, choosing the time when the Supreme Court is considering the grievances of the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project. The Writ Petition filed by N. C. Saxena was found to contain too general and theoretical questions and was therefore, withdrawn by him. He however, chose to file another petition on the basis of the so-called final report of 2001, by saying that he got these crucial documents after the withdrawal of the Writ Petition, when the same document was very much within his knowledge and possession. When the NBA filed a detailed reply exposing the baselessness and malicious nature of the petition, Mr. Saxena in the Rejoinder repeated the very same allegations, which were taken by him in the year 2001.
It was also argued by Ms Jaising that the judgments of the Supreme Court in the year 2000 and 2005 vindicated the stand taken by NBA with regard to the grievances of oustees and that the resettlement and rehabilitation ought to be on better footing, land based and is part of Article 21 of the Constitution. How then, that subject matter can be made the basis of petition under Article 32 by Mr. Saxena? The Supreme Court will be hearing the question of maintainability of the petition after six weeks.