The Allahabad High Court recently dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking political asylum in India for a judge of the Afghanistan Supreme Court, Qazi Marzia. (Hon'Qazi Marzia J. S.C.Afganistan v. Union of India).
A Division Bench of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Abdul Moin also imposed costs of ?10,000 on the petitioner, stating that the petition was filed for publicity rather than canvassing any public interest.
The court said that it can clearly be said that instead of a Public Interest Litigation, the instant writ petition has been filed more for seeking publicity than for any other purpose. Consequently, while dismissing the petition we also impose a token cost of Rs. 10,000 on Suresh Kumar Gupta for having wasted the precious judicial time of the Court.
The plea was moved by advocate Suresh Kumar Gupta (as a next friend) claiming to be filed on behalf of Qazi Marzia, a judge of Supreme Court of Afghanistan, Saleema Majari, Ex-Governor of Kandhar Pre-Indian Province of State of Kalath Afghanistan, and Nilofar Rahmani, a fighter pilot with the Afghan Nationalist Army.
The plea sought direction to the government authorities to proceed in accordance with international laws to provide political asylum to the petitioners and to extend them legal help after bringing them within the territory of India.
It was also prayed that that government authorities in India should take necessary diplomatic steps including the military operations to ensure a safe humanitarian/ political atmosphere in Afghanistan since it is a pro-India State since 1945.
A pointed query was put to advocate Gupta, as to how he can be said to be a friend or next friend of the petitioner, to which Gupta said that he is a friend of petitioners (no. 1, 2 & 3) on social media.
The Court, however, noted that there was no explanation forthcoming as to how Gupta was entitled to file the instant petition on behalf of other petitioners merely based on friendship.
The court said in its order that there is no authorization of petitioners no. 1, 2 & 3 authorizing Sri Suresh Kumar Gupta to file the instant petition nor any vakalatnama given to Sri Suresh Kumar Gupta by petitioners no. 1, 2 & 3.
The Court placed reliance on Ashok Kumar Pandey v. State of West Bengal and Ors, to hold that a petition by a person in the capacity of a next friend can be filed only in case of a minor or an insane person or one who is suffering from any other disability which the law recognizes as sufficient to permit another person to move the Court on his behalf.
The plea was dismissed, therefore, with costs of ?10,000 which has to deposited with the High Court Legal Service Sub- Committee, Lucknow within 30 days.