The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking recovery of the expenditure incurred on the three-day fast observed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi under ‘Sadbhavna Mission’ here last year.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala rejected the PIL filed by one Rajesh Mota on the grounds that the expenditure on functions was decision of the executive government and there was no need for the judiciary to interfere into the matter.
The petitioner’s counsel Ratna Vora, who is also state president of the Women’s Cell of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said they would challenge the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court.
In the PIL, the petitioner had alleged that Modi’s three-day Sadbhavana fast, held between September 17 and September 19, 2011, was neither part of any government programme nor it served any public cause.
Dubbing the Sadbhavna mission as a ‘drama’, Ms. Mota further contended that the fast was aimed at deriving a political mileage, and hence, the expenses incurred on the event should be footed by the ruling BJP or the chief minister himself.
The petitioner had also sought directions from the high court for recovery of over Rs 100 crore, which was reportedly spent on the event, either from BJP or Mr. Modi’s personal account.
This petition was the third such PIL filed with regard to the Sadbhavana fast and the expenditure incurred on it.
Last year also Mr. Mota had moved the court questioning the huge expenditure incurred on the much—publicised programme but later withdrew it when the judges pointed out certain technical flaws in the petition.
Another litigation on the same issue was filed by advocate K.G. Pandit who had cited newspaper reports in his prayer seeking recovery of the expenditure.
However, the high court rejected his petition for lack of any evidence.
Mr. Modi had undertaken the three-day fast in September last year for promoting peace, unity and harmony in the state.
He recently concluded a series of one-day fasts in all districts of Gujarat. In all, he held 33 one-day fasts in various districts and cities of the state, during which he also announced huge financial packages for development.
The opposition Congress had dismissed the fasts as a political drama and a drain on public exchequer.