The malaise of communal disharmony found its manifestation in a petition, ironically filed in public interest before the Supreme Court on Friday seeking directions to deport all Indian Muslims to Pakistan.
The petition, listed before a bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Vineet Saran was dismissed after the court reprimanded the petitioner and threatened to pass strictures against him if he insisted on the PIL being admitted for hearing.
As soon as the petition came before the apex court bench, Justice Nariman asked the petitioner: “What is this? Do you really, really want to argue this? Are you serious? We will hear you but will pass strictures against you.”
Sensing the palpable anger of the bench over the appalling prayer in the plea, the petitioner promptly told the court that he did not wish to pursue the case. Justice Nariman responded: “Okay, dismissed.”
While the dismissal of the petition and the court’s stern rebuke were expected, what has left many incensed is that such a petition was listed for admission before the bench.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising vented her ire on Twitter, asking: “Why did the judges not impose costs? Is the Supreme Court a playground for violating the Constitution? How can anyone dare to say in court Indian Muslims should be sent to Pakistan?”
Why did the judges not impose costs? Is the Supreme Court a playground for violating the Constitution? How can anyone dare to say in court INDIAN Muslims should be sent to Pakastan ? https://t.co/4W36aITmMR— indira jaising (@IJaising) March 15, 2019
Jaising’s poser on why the judges did not impose costs on the petitioner is pertinent since the Supreme Court, in recent years, has done so on several counts and as a penalty against litigants who had moved pleas that were far less absurd than the extant one.
Advocates ML Sharma and Ashwini Upadhyay, both serial litigants, have often been reprimanded by different benches of the apex court for filing frivolous petitions. Last year, a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on Sharma for filing a petition that sought strictures against finance minister Arun Jaitley for “plundering the RBI by waiving off loans amounting to thousands of crores of rupees that were given to big corporate.”
While Upadhyay has, so far, been spared from paying up a fine, the apex court had threatened to ban him from filing PILs after he moved a petition seeking directions that the court must cap donations by individuals to political parties at Rs 2000 per year.
The decision of the top court to dismiss the plea seeking deportation of Indian Muslims after a mild verbal reprimand of the petitioner comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court issuing a notice to the Meghalaya High Court on a petition that sought expunction of communal remarks made by a judge while dismissing a plea filed by a man who had been denied a domicile certificate by the state government.