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Chhattisgarh HC dismisses PIL on coal theft for being vague

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The Chhattisgarh High Court has recently  dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking direction to the state authority to arrest persons stealing coal.

The PIL filed as pro bono public (for the public good) on the background of the fact that in the coal mine areas of Dipika, Gevra, Kusmunda, Manikpur, Budbud, Pali, Bhelwadih, Chhurakachhar and Bankimogra, which are under the control of the South Eastern Coalfield Limited (SECL) , illegal theft of coal is being allowed to be committed and illegal coal depots are being operated.

It is further submitted in the PIL that vehicles are being operated at night and the respondents have exercised no control on it and are hand-in gloves with the police administration.

The counsel for the respondents  opposed  the argument and  submitted that no particulars have been given, and the petition has been filed only on vague information. The counsel further submitted that under the circumstances the PIL of the said nature is liable to be dismissed.

The Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and  Justice N.K. Chandravanshi  heard both the counsels and perused the pleading in this petition. The Court noted that only omnibus allegations have been made by the petitioner that in certain coal mines which are situated at different areas, theft is being committed in connivance with SECL and police. The petition would also show that no particulars or any incident have been shown for which whether any report was made and to demonstrate no action has been taken. It is only general allegations which have been attributed in the pleading as PIL.

Therefore, the Court observed that it cannot take cognizance on vague and half-baked information. The petitioner of the PIL at least was required to demonstrate by any positive facts and prima facie, it was required to be established that on a particular date some certain incident had happened and for which legal action was contemplated and despite notice and report no action was taken.

“It appears on reading of the petition, it is a chance petition. The petitioner opted to file the petition on the basis of newspaper report alone. It is trite law that without any proof or minimum relevant facts in support of any allegation, the PIL cannot be entertained.”

In view of this, the Court is not inclined to entertain the PIL, the petitioner may approach the police to avail remedy which is available to him under common law, ordered the Bench while dismissing the PIL.

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