The Supreme Court on Monday refused to permit a non-advocate petitioner to argue his public interest litigation (PIL) in which he raised the issue of de-recognising a political party for its alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and sought withdrawal of the top civilian award conferred on its leader.
“We decline the petitioner to argue the matter in person. However, four weeks’ time is granted to him to engage a lawyer,” a bench comprising Chief Justice RM Lodha and justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman said. At the outset, the bench told petitioner Malkiat Singh Bajwa, a government servant, that he has raised issues which will make him “emotional” and without proper legal assistance, the matter could not be heard at the threshold.
“The matter needs dispassionate hearing. If you want, you can engage a lawyer. We want proper legal assistance. It can’t be heard in person. We know after five minutes of submission you will become emotional,” the bench said.
Bajwa, who expressed his inability to hire a lawyer, later answered the bench’s question on his salary by saying that he earned Rs 74,000 per month.