The following is Bhagvanji Raiyani’s first person account of the concluding day of his 16 year old Public Interest Litigation.
27th September, 2013.
Bombay High Court
It was Friday 3-30 P.M. 27th Sept. 2013.
Bench : Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Justice M.S.Sonak.
I was waiting for my matter to reach for hearing and a big thud was heard from the chair just behind me. The full court room rose on its feet and looked behind. Judges got up and came down.
A man collapsed with his chair upside down. Judges left for a while to their chambers. People around turned to help. Doctor was summoned from High Court clinic. Registrar General was standing tense. Patient was in coma. It took 20 minutes for the doctor to bring him back to the senses. Judges came to soothe him. He was crying with folded hands before the judges in prayer posture who couldn’t assure him when his matter would be heard. They appeared helpless. Judges went out for few minutes and resumed work again. Meanwhile I asked the unfortunate litigant: ‘Since How many years are you fighting you case?’ ‘six years’ replied the man still crying while being taken out.
Immediately thereafter my PIL No. 902 of 1998 reached and I started argument. I was interrupted by the bench stating that my PIL on the irregularities and corruption in junior college admissions was based on 1997 GR (Government Resolution) and subsequently several judgements of the Supreme Court were pronounced on the subject, hence my PIL couldn’t be entertained.
I was appearing in person and said that I could argue the matter in lieu of those judgements and justify every contents and prayers in the petition and prepared to take the utmost risk even at the cost of its dismissal. I said I was not at fault in delay of 16 long years! But the judges prevailed on their stand and ‘allowed’ me to file another PIL! I argued in vain that it involved lot of reworking and receiving info. through RTI and waiting for days and days for the information to be received. Judges said, they couldn’t help. I further submitted that during last 16 years I would have urged hundred times to all Chief Justices to hear this PIL but in vain.
My heart cried from within for not geting justice to the poor and merited students but judiciary as usual stood insensitive.
If this is the fate of the Public Interest Litigations what about private and government litigations pending since 20-30 years in almost all courts across the country?
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