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If a proceeding in the nature of Public Interest Litigation has already been entertained and is pending no other petition or communication relating to the same matter shall be entertained: Chhattisgarh High Court

If a proceeding in the nature of Public Interest Litigation has already been entertained and is pending no other petition or communication relating to the same matter shall be entertained has been upheld by the High Court of Chhattisgarh through a division bench led by HON’BLE SHRI ARUP KUMAR GOSWAMI, CHIEF JUSTICE and HON’BLE SHRI N.K. CHANDRAVANSHI, in the case of Gram Panchayat Narmadapur v. State of Chhattisgarh (WPPIL No. 20 of 2022).

The challenge in this public interest litigation is, essentially, in respect of Swami Atmanand English Medium Co-operative Society Scheme, whereby, according to the petitioner, pre-existing Government Hindi Medium High and Higher Secondary Schools, are being converted to Swami Atmanand English Medium High and Higher Schools.

The writ petition is filed by Gram Panchayat, Narmadapur and in this petition prayer is also made for a direction not to shift or shut down Government Multi-Purpose Hindi Medium School at Mainpat, District Surguja.

The Respondents submits that there is already public interest litigation pending, being WP (PIL) No. 02 of 2022, on a similar issue, in which Mr Apoorva Tripathi, learned counsel for the petitioner, himself appears. She has drawn the attention of the Court to Rule 80(1) of the High Court of Chhattisgarh Rules, 2007 (for short, ‘Rules of 2007’) to contend that this petition may not be entertained in view of the pendency of public interest litigation on the same subject matter.

Mr Tripathi submits that though fundamentally the issue raised in this petition is the same as that of WP (PIL) No. 02 of 2022, the school, in that case, was different. Rule 80(1) of the Rules of 2007, reads as follows: “80(1) if a proceeding in the nature of Public Interest Litigation has already been entertained and is pending no other petition or communication relating to the same matter shall be entertained. Any person 3 wishing to place any other facet of the same matter before the Court, may accordingly apply for directions in the pending matter.”

The court stated that when the fundamental issue raised in this public interest litigation is the same as that of an already pending public interest litigation, the name of the school hardly has any relevance.

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Judgement Review by Akshat Jaithlia

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