No letter fit to be treated as writ petition at SC

Even though the Supreme Court received over 75,000 letter petitions in 2011 and 2012, not a single one was found fit to be converted into a writ petition or public interest litigation, an RTI response has revealed.

However, as many as five letters, out of over 66,000 received during 2008, 2009 and 2010 were treated as writ petitions, it added.

Replying to an application filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Gaurav Agarwal, the Supreme Court registry stated that in 2008, it got 20,821 letters from people all over the country but only three among those were treated as PIL.

In the subsequent years, the number of such letter petitions rose to 20,904 in 2009 and 24,611 in 2010. But in both the years, only one petition each was converted into writ petition.
In 2011 and 2012, a huge jump was witnessed in the receipt of such letters as the numbers were recorded as 35,026 and 41,314 respectively. 

However, none of the letters was found good enough to be regarded as writ petitions.
According to the Supreme Court’s handbook of information, petitions received by post even though not in public interest can be treated as writ petitions if so decided by the judge nominated for this purpose.

“Individual petitions complaining harassment or torture or death in jail or by police, complaints of atrocities on women such as harassment for dowry, bride burning, rape, murder and kidnapping, complaints relating to family pensions and complaints of refusal by police to register the case can be registered as writ petitions, if so approved by the Judge concerned,” it said

“If deemed expedient, a report from the authority concerned is called before placing the matter before the Judge for directions. If so directed by the Judge, the letter is registered as a writ petition and is thereafter listed before the court for hearing,” it added.

The reply given under the Right to Information Act also showed that not a single letter petition was pending in the apex court.

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