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Information gathered from social media cannot be part of pleadings in a PIL: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has criticizes a lawyer who had filed a PIL based on information gathered from social media.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor have said no for entertaining petition filed by advocate Ajitsingh Ghorpade who asked the Maharashtra government to take measures to safeguard people visiting waterfalls and water bodies in the State.

As per the petition pointed about 1,500 to 2,000 people lost their lives while visiting unsafe waterfalls and waterbodies every year.

The division bench sought to know the source of this information. The petitioner’s lawyer Manindra Pandey claimed that he had procured the information from newspapers and social media posts.

The Court got really upset and found the petition to be vague and without precise details.

The Court said that the Information gathered from social media cannot be part of pleadings in a PIL. You (petitioner) cannot be so irresponsible while filing PILs. You are wasting judicial time. Somebody goes for a picnic and accidentally drowns, therefore a PIL? Someone drowns in an accident, how is it a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21.

Pandey pointed out that State government should be directed to take steps to ensure the safety and protection of people who visit such water bodies and waterfalls.

He also pointed out that during a recent drowning incident, there was no rescue team due to which the body of the victim was retrieved only two days after the incident.

The bench asked whether the petitioner had visited any such waterfall or water body or ascertained which of such waterfalls or water body was dangerous or unsafe.

The Court also noted that most of the accidents seemed to be because of reckless acts by the persons visiting such places.

“What do you expect from the Maharashtra government? Can each and every waterfall and water body be manned by police?” it asked.

The Court asked the petitioner to file a better PIL with proper details.

The petitioner then withdrew the PIL with the Court granting him liberty to file a fresh plea.

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