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Delhi HC deprecates copy-paste petitions in Asthana's appointment case

Delhi HC deprecates copy-paste petitions in Asthana's appointment case

Published:12 October 2021

The Delhi High Court Tuesday deprecated the “unhealthy” practice of copy-pasting the contents of petition while dismissing a plea challenging the appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and advised the petitioner to refrain from indulging in such an exercise in future.

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court Tuesday deprecated the “unhealthy” practice of copy-pasting the contents of petition while dismissing a plea challenging the appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and advised the petitioner to refrain from indulging in such an exercise in future.
The high court said it does not wish to precipitate the issue further and gave a note of caution to the petitioner advocate.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) by Sadre Alam, a lawyer, against Asthana's appointment along with an intervention application by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' (CPIL), filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, which has challenged the appointment before the Supreme Court.
Bhushan argued that the petition before the high court is a verbatim reproduction of the one filed earlier by him before the Supreme Court and is a gross abuse of process of law, which cannot be lightly brushed aside.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, and Bhushan had strenuously argued that the pleadings in the petition were a “cut, copy, paste” of the Bhushan's plea before the apex court and that such a practice must be discouraged and strictures be passed against the petitioner.
The high court, in its 77-page verdict, said the fact that the petition is a “cut, copy, paste” of another petition not only reflects non-application of mind of the petitioner but also creates serious doubts on his bona fides.
“Before we part with the judgment, we may add a note of caution to the Petitioner... Counsel for the petitioner had disputed and denied the allegation and asserted that the pleadings in the petition are his own creation. We do not wish to precipitate the issue any further but are constrained to observe that such a practice is certainly unhealthy and deserves to be deprecated and the petitioner shall be well advised to refrain from indulging in such an exercise, in future,” the bench said.
The Solicitor General submitted that the intervener was not a public spirited organisation but was a “mere busy body”, which selectively files petitions for vested interests and there were serious concerns regarding the purpose and motive behind the present petition and it should not be entertained, though camouflaged as a PIL.
The high court had earlier said that this petition was entirely copied, including full stop and comma, from another plea filed with similar prayers before the Supreme Court and had added that if the petitioner wants to file something he shall do it independently.
It had said that if the petitioner was copying, he should do it 5 per cent and write 95 per cent of his own. However, here 97 to 99 per cent was copied even with all the full stops and commas, it had said.


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