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Credentials of Applicants Must Be Tested Before Litigant is Allowed to Seek Orders Having Far Reaching Effects: SC

Last Updated: October 21, 2022, 23:18 IST

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna made the observations while dealing with appeals filed against the orders passed by the NGT (File Image: PTI)

SC in its judgement upheld the decision of the Uttar Pradesh government to grant provisional licenses for establishing new wood-based industries (WBIs)

Supreme Court said on Friday the credentials and bona fide of the applicants must be tested before they are permitted to “knock the doors of justice” and seek orders which have far-reaching effect of affecting the employment of thousands of people and stopping investment in the state. The apex court observed this in its judgement by which it upheld the decision of the Uttar Pradesh government to grant provisional licenses for establishing new wood-based industries (WBIs).

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna made the observations while dealing with appeals filed against the orders passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The top court said in this case there is scope to infer that the litigation could be at the behest of the existing WBIs, who wanted to avoid competition and continue to get raw material at a cheaper rate.

It said the litigation might also be stemming at the behest of WBIs in the adjoining Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana where lakhs of tons of timber is exported from Uttar Pradesh.

The bench noted there is also a scope to infer that it could be in the interest of middlemen who are engaged in exporting timber from Uttar Pradesh to Haryana.

“We find that before a litigant is permitted to knock the doors of justice and seek orders which have far reaching effects of affecting the employment of thousands of persons, stopping investment in the State, prejudicing the interests of the farmers; the credentials and bonafides of the applicants must be tested,” the top court said.

The bench said it would request the NGT that when the credentials and bonafides of such litigants are seriously raised and while entertaining their grievance, which is likely to adversely affect the rights of many, “it should ensure the bonafides and credentials of such litigants”.

The bench noted that advocates appearing for some applicants had fairly submitted that apart from the fact that these applicants had previously filed some public interest litigations wherein orders were passed in their favour, they had no other information. The top court set aside the orders passed by the NGT, including the one quashing the March 1, 2019 notice issued by the state for establishing new WBIs.

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