The Bombay High Court dismissed a PIL against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residential building Antilia after observing that it was “frivolous”.
A division bench of justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak also imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 on petitioner Shadab Patel, a social activist, and a cost of Rs. 25,000 on advocate Firoz Ansari, who filed an intervening application supporting the PIL and its allegations.
“It is high time we take a decision to dismiss such frivolous petitions with heavy cost. Only then we can put a stop to this,” Justice Kanade said.
The bench questioned the delay on part of the petitioner to approach the high court and file a PIL alleging illegalities and irregularities in the sale of the land in Malabar Hill to Ambani.
The PIL alleged that the land belonging to Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Orphanage was allegedly sold to Ambani for a meagre Rs. 21 crore in November 2002, which was less than 10 per cent of the actual price of the land. The petitioner claimed the land is valued at Rs. 200 crore.
“Why have you (Shadab) filed this petition 14 years after the sale of the land in question? If you were a bona fide petitioner and social activist you would not have come after so long. Now you are just wasting the courts time,” the court observed.
Shadab’s advocate Khan Javed Akthar told the court that a commission was looking into the matter and its report came only a few years ago. But, the court refused to accept this argument.
The court initially said it would impose a fine of Rs. five lakh on the petitioner, but then reduced it to Rs. 50,000.
Senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, appearing for Ambani, requested the court to direct for the fine amounts to be donated to some charitable institution.
The bench directed both Shadab and Ansari to deposit the fine amount with the Tata Memorial Hospital for cancer patients.