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Allahabad High Court dismisses PIL and imposes fine of one lakh on petitioner who filed PIL against CM Yogi

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The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the PIL and imposed a fine of one lakh on the petitioner, who filed a Public Interest Litigation against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Piyush Agrawal passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by Namaha.

The petition has been filed in public interest, seeking direction to respondent No 2 to disclose his full and actual name in public domain and produce all documents thereto. Further direction sought to him, is for taking oath of office and secrecy under his real name and to refrain him from using the word ‘Yogi’ as title in his official communication.

The respondent No 2 has been impleaded as ‘Adityanath’, Member of Legislative Assembly, Gorakhpur (Urban)/Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The petitioner, who appeared in person, referred to certain documents placed on record to show that respondent No 2 had been using different names at different places on different occasions.

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He referred to a document where his name was mentioned as ‘Aditya Nath’. Reference was also made to another document where his name was mentioned as ‘Adityanath’. The same is in Hindi. It is the nomination form of respondent No 2 for election to 64 – Gorakhpur Parliamentary Constituency, as attested on April 22, 2014.

It was claimed that the said document was downloaded by the petitioner from the website of the Lok Sabha. Further reference was made to an affidavit sworn by respondent No 2, which is typed in Hindi, dated February 4, 2022 while filing his nomination paper for the State Assembly Election wherein his name is mentioned as ‘Adityanath’. The same is in Hindi. While referring to the aforesaid documents, it was argued that four sets of nomination papers were filed by the same person and only one person contested the election.

Thereafter, reference was made to a document where the name of respondent No 2 was mentioned as ‘Adityanath’. It is said to be downloaded from the website ‘National Election Watch’, which is claimed to be the official website of the Election Commission of India. While referring to a notice dated April 11, 2019 issued by the Election Commission of India to respondent No 2, it was argued that while adding the word ‘Yogi’ with his name, even the Election Commission of India had mixed up with him, as his name is not Yogi Adityanath.

An application was filed to the State Government under the Right to Information Act for furnishing the requisite information, however, the same has not been furnished till date.

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Referring to the aforesaid documents, it has been submitted that respondent No 2 is using different names at different places. He had even taken oath while pronouncing his name differently. Hence, a direction is required to be issued to him for disclosing his correct name. More than 25 crore residents of the State of Uttar Pradesh want answers.

He further submitted that he had filed a writ petition for correction of the name of our country as mentioned in Article 1 of the Constitution of India, before the Supreme Court. Hence, he is a public spirited person and raises issues of public importance in Courts.

On the other hand, Manish Goel, Additional Advocate General appearing for respondent No1, submitted that a perusal of reliefs prayed for in the writ petition, shows that the same are for direction against respondent No 2, impleaded as a private person. Hence, a writ petition will not be maintainable.

He further submitted that the petitioner has not disclosed his credentials as required under sub-rule (3-A) of Rule 1 of Chapter XXII of the High Court Rules. While referring to the judgments of the Supreme Court in Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware Vs State of Maharashtra and others, (2005) 1 SCC 590 and State of Uttaranchal Vs Balwant Singh Chaufal and others, (2010) 3 SCC 402, it was submitted that the petition having been filed for ulterior motive, deserves to be dismissed at the threshold, with special costs.

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In response, the petitioner, who appears in person, submitted that the Supreme Court had sought his personal details while he had filed a writ petition in public interest there. Hence, he thought of asking for details of respondent No 2 as he is bound to disclose his identity.

He further submitted that he was a candidate from Laxmi Nagar Assembly Constituency in the elections held in 2020 on a ticket of Lok Janshakti Party and secured about 70-80 votes. He further submitted that he was not aware of the Rules and Orders of the Court, which require disclosure of credentials of a person while filing public interest litigation. It was further claimed that he is illiterate as certified by the Election Commission of India and is not doing anything.

The Court noted that,

At the time of hearing, the petitioner had divulged certain more facts which were not there in the petition, namely, he claimed that he had contested the Assembly election in Delhi in the year 2020 on a ticket of Lok Janshakti Party and secured 70-80 votes. This fact was concealed from this Court. He, being a political person, deliberately chose to conceal his identity while filing the writ petition, apparently with some ulterior motive or cheap publicity.

Though he had given his address of Delhi in the petition, however, at the time of hearing, he stated that he belongs to Uttar Pradesh. Again an effort to mislead the Court.

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The Court further noted that,

Further, there was a smart answer given by him about his educational qualification. He claimed that he had been certified to be an illiterate person by the Election Commission of India, a fact which was belied on the face of it from the conduct and presentation of the case by the petitioner. He was arguing his case in English. He was carrying a copy of the Constitution of India and could read the same very well. Still, he claimed that he had been certified to be illiterate by the Election Commission of India, apparently on the basis of some wrong information furnished by him.

“From the documents and pleadings in the writ petition, he could not make out any case that is sought to be projected. Rather efforts seem to be for a roving enquiry into certain non-existent facts. The petitioner claimed he had downloaded these from the website of the Election Commission of India, which mention on the top ‘National Election Watch’. However, as referred to by the counsel for the respondents, the same is a website which is managed by an Association for Democratic Reforms, some private persons/NGO. Hence, any information uploaded thereon, cannot be used against anyone.

In the nomination paper filed by respondent No 2 , the name has been correctly mentioned. There is nothing on record to suggest what is sought to be argued. The only prayer made is that respondent No 2 should be asked to furnish the information which he had even failed to furnish in response to an application filed by the petitioner under the Right to Information Act. We may only add here that the Right to Information Act provides for complete remedies for redressal of grievance of any of the applicants regarding denial or furnishing of incomplete information”, the Court observed.

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For the reasons mentioned above, The Court found the petition to be totally misconceived, filed with ulterior motive by a political person, without disclosing his complete credentials and concealing material facts from the Court.

“Hence, the same is dismissed. To discourage filing of such frivolous petitions, in our opinion, the petitioner deserves to be burdened with a cost of ₹1,00,000/-. The same is directed to be deposited by him within a period of six weeks with the Viklang Kendra, Bharadwaj Ashram, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Muir Road, Prayagraj”

-the Court ordered.

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