'Goes to Both Sides': CJI’s Retort on Opposition After Kapil Sibal's Poser on Political PILs


New Delhi: Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday remarked that he is conscious that opposition parties are also using the forum of the apex court.

Asked to consider whether those from political parties should be allowed to file PILs, the CJI remarked: "We are quite conscious that opposition parties are also using the forum of this court. It goes to both sides."

The comment was directed at senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the West Bengal government in a petition moved against 'political killings' in the state.

The petition was filed by BJP leader and senior advocate Gaurav Bhatia, who was subsequently appearing for the family members of BJP worker Dulal Kumar.

In June 2018, Kumar was found hanging from a transmission tower in West Bengal's Purulia district. His death had come close on the heels of another death of a BJP worker, and the party accused the Mamata Banerjee-government of facilitating these killings through TMC workers.

As Bhatia pressed for a CBI inquiry, Sibal protested the plea, adding the correct forum would be the trial court where a closure report has already been filed.

The bench, led by the CJI, asked the state government to formally respond to the application moved by Kumar's family in four weeks.

The bench also told Sibal that now that not just Bhatia but family members of the deceased were before the court, it had to examine the prayers.

At this point, Sibal contended: "This court should at some point of time examine if member of a political party should be allowed to file PILs based on media reports."

Justice Bobde retorted by pointing out that the court is conscious that it is being used as a forum by opposition parties as well.