The Bombay High Court today dismissed a PIL which sought to declare Anna Hazare's ongoing fast as "illegal" and that he and his supporters be restrained from going ahead with "fill-the-jail" agitation
The PIL was dismissed by justices M L Tahaliyani and Girish Godbole after Central Government's Counsel R V Desai argued that it was a "frivolous" petition and not in public interest. The judges were even inclined to impose costs on the petitioner and asked his counsel Yusuf Iqbal why that should not be done, to which he replied it was in public interest and his client would not get any personal benefit out of it.
The court decided against imposing any costs but dismissed the PIL filed by Mangleswar alias Munna Tripathi, president of NGO 'Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad'. Hearing arguments yesterday, the bench had said agitation was the right of every citizen and people staging a protest were well aware of the consequences of breaking the law.
The Judges had questioned the delay in filing the PIL as the agitation was announced long back. "Why are you opposing it now when the fast has begun?" the bench had asked. However, today, Tripathi's lawyer argued that Hazare's methods of observing fast and holding 'Jail Bharo Aandolan' amounted to exerting pressure on the government.
Iqbal said the anti-corruption crusader had asked his supporters to stage dharnas outside the houses of MPs and this was not legally and morally correct as Lok Sabha had passed the bill.
While the Centre took a stand that the PIL should not be entertained and that law and order problem was a state subject, the state government pleader submitted that they were totally prepared to tackle the situation as strong police bandobast had been maintained.