A Public Interest Litigation filed by an unregistered body is not maintainable, said the Kerala High Court in a recent ruling.
The PIL filed by Prathyasa Mental Health Counselling forum was dismissed by the bench of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly. The PIL had been curated to challenge the Transport department’s notification in the state of Kerala which had permitted to carry passengers in all the seats available in the stage carriages.
The counsel for the petitioner relied on the judgment in SwarajAbhiyan – (I) v. Union of India in response to the query raised by the bench in the maintainability of a public interest litigation by an unregistered body.
Observations were made by the bench that no declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution of India allows any unregistered body to file a writ petition and some other judgments cited by the counsel in this regard were examined.
Contentions were made by the petitioner that writ petition under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India can be filed by any person interested in the welfare of people, who is in an disadvantaged position while mentioning the case of GuruvayurDevaswom Managing Committee &Anr. v. C.K.Rajan (2003) 7 SCC 546.
The same contention was dismissed of Unregistered authority by the bench stating :
“In the light of the decisions of the Courts in India, on the law of precedents, with due respect, GuruvayurDevaswom Managing Committee’s case (cited supra) cannot be said to have laid down a law on the issue of maintainability of a Public Interest Litigation or even a writ petition by an unregistered body. Even in SwarajAbhiyan’s case (cited supra), there was no specific issue as to whether an unregistered body can maintain a writ petition or not. Reliance on SwarajAbhiyan’s case (cited supra) would not support the petitioner. ‘Person’ refers to human being. ‘Jurstic person’ refers to a body recognized by the law as being entitled to rights and duties in the same way as a natural or human person. In the case on hand, Prathyasa Mental Health Counselling forum, through its Programme Co-ordinator, an unregistered body does not fall within the definition of juristic person. . On an analysis of law relating to precedents, binding effect of interim orders and maintainability of filing a writ petition by an unregistered body, and the facts and circumstances of this case, we are of the view that instant writ petition filed as Public Interest Litigation by an unregistered body viz., Prathyasa Mental Health Counselling forum, through its Programme Co-ordinator, is not maintainable.”