HC orders petitioner to pay costs of Rs. 25,000 in 2 weeks

A resident of Namakkal taluk who filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court to settle personal scores has been ordered to pay costs of Rs.25,000.

Dismissing the PIL, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan, said the petitioner had wasted the court’s time by filing a vexatious personal interest litigation. The costs should be paid by the petitioner to the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority within two weeks.

The case of the petitioner Vadugam Varadarajan, a resident of Pottanam in Namakkal district, was that there were illegal and unauthorised quarrying and stone crushing activities in Thandukaradu hill area in his village from 1995. Now quarries and crusher units operated within metres of households. The quarry and crusher units used explosives day and night for mining as a result of which families were not able to sleep peacefully at night. The fly ash and dust particles affected air quality.

VIP Blue Metals and Rana Blue Metals filed counter affidavits denying the petitioner’s allegations. The petitioner had filed the petition to settle personal scores with them, they said.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board filed a counter, stating that there were no unauthorised stone crushers in Pottanam village. The units had obtained permission from the Department of Mining and Geology. They had installed dust control measures.

The Bench observed that the Pollution Control Board had given a clean chit with regard to the crushers in the locality.

The judges said from the particulars and discussions, it was clear that Mr. Varadarajan was trying to wreak vengeance against the two units and trying to settle his personal scores under the garb of PIL, since, only at the behest of VIP Blue Metals the sago factories of the petitioner faced troubles and litigations. The petitioner had not approached the court with clean hands. No public interest was involved in the petition, except the petitioner’s personal interest, the court said.

“Petitioner wasted court’s time”