SC slaps Karnataka activist with Rs 25 lakh costs over 'frivolous' PIL

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The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up an anti-corruption activist in Karnataka and imposed costs of Rs 25 lakh on him. T J Abraham was slapped with Rs 25 lakh costs after the court accused him of 'abusing the concept of Public Interest Litigation'.

T J Abraham

Abraham had filed a PIL questioning the Karnataka government's decision to shift 'mini Vidhan Soudha' in Kalburgi district. The mini Vidhana Soudha is an administrative building set up in each district by the Karnataka government. The state planned to shift the building by six kms and T J Abraham opposed the same. In his petition to the Supreme Court, the activist represented by senior counsel Salman Khurshid said that the shifting would affect seed farming as it has decided to take away its own agriculture department land.

A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar lashed out at the activist and deemed the PIL frivolous. "Shifting of mini Vidhan Soudha is not a matter of public interest. It does not espouse any kind of public cause. It pertains to smooth administration only," the bench observed. The bench also imposed costs of Rs 25 lakh on the petitioner for 'wasting the court's time'. Despite pleas by the petition to waive off the costs since it was too harsh, the court directed him to deposit Rs 25 lakh with the court registry.

Karnataka's Advocate General, M R Naik who appeared on behalf of the state had contended that the petitioner had jumped into the issue unnecessarily as he had nothing to do with the decision. The government produced conditional gift deeds made by two women to the government pledging five acres of land for building an office complex in the district.

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