A fine to the amount of Rs 25 lakh was slapped on Karnataka-based businessman and activist T J Abraham by the Supreme Court on Monday, 3 July. The fine was imposed for filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the shifting of the Mini Vidhan Soudha in Gulbarga district of Karnataka.
The mini Vidhana Soudha is an organisational building set up in each district by the state government in Karnataka. A PIL was filed by Abraham questioning the Karnataka government’s decision to shift the building by 6 km in Kalburgi district. He claimed that the move was not in public interest and would affect seed farming as the land of the agriculture department had been acquired for the purpose.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar imposed the fine on Abraham. They said the petition was not the matter of public interest as it does not espouse any public cause.
“Shifting of mini Vidhan Soudha by the extent of 6 km in Gulbarga district is not a matter of public interest. It pertains to smooth administration only,” the apex court said while imposing a cost of Rs 25 lakh, as reported by The Tribune.
Senior lawyer Salman Khurshid who appeared for Abraham in his petition to the Supreme Court said that the fine was very harsh and requested the court to reduce the amount. He said that even a symbolic fine would be sufficient to send a message to litigants to not misuse PIL.
Abraham has been directed to deposit the amount in the apex court registry.
Karnataka Advocate General M R Naik had contended that the petitioner has been raising the issue unnecessarily and he had nothing to do with the decision.
As per the reports, the Hyderabad High Court had earlier declined to interfere in the matter after which the petitioner approached the apex court.