The Supreme Court granted pardon to the four petitioners who filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for the preservation of artifacts and antiquities originating from the Ram temple site in Ayodhya and depositing Rs 1 lakh. Terming their PIL as trivial, the court fined them four lakh rupees.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai was told by senior counsel Maneka Guruswamy, "The petitioners are of very humble background and realize the mistake." He said that Satish Chindhuji Shambharkar and others were wrongly advised to file a petition.
He appealed to the bench to be kind to the petitioners. Also told that he has paid a fine of one lakh rupees instead of four lakh rupees. To this, the bench said, "We accept their request on the condition that they will not do such audacity in future." At the same time, the bench exempted the amount of Rs 1 lakh from depositing the remaining amount considering it as a total penalty.
On July 20, the Supreme Court dismissed PIL and imposed a fine of Rs.1 lakh each on the four petitioners. A bench of Justice Arun Mishra told the petitioners that how can they file such a petition in the public interest? The court ordered to collect the fine within a month.
The bench had said on the petition that a five-judge bench of the apex court has given its verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi dispute and it is an attempt to overturn the court order. The bench termed the petition as rubbish and warned of a CBI inquiry into the activities of the petitioning organizations. The bench had said that it is an attempt to quash the Supreme Court's decision on the Ayodhya issue.