Public interest litigation today is like a boon for a society or institution without judicial representation. Like its name, these petitions are in the interest of the public, that is why this term is often in the news.

In this article, we will discuss the PIL (Public interest litigation) in a simple and easy way, read the article till the end to understand completely;

Public interest litigation

Public Interest Litigation

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Background of PIL

Like judicial review and judicial activism, the concept of public interest litigation also originated and developed in the US, in the 1960s.

The concept behind this was that the poor, environmentalists, consumers and ethnic minorities and other such people who are without representation or whose interests are not protected or they are deprived of the benefits of the judicial system. legal representation may be given to him.

In India, Public Interest Litigation or PIL is considered a product of judicial activism of the Supreme Court. Judicial activism has given a big boost to PIL. The credit for introducing the PIL concept in India goes to Justice VR Krishna Iyer and Justice PN Bhagwati, who introduced it in the mid-1980s.

PIL is also known as social action petition, social interest petition, and class action petition.

What is a Public Interest Litigation ?

The general system of getting constitutional remedy is that the one whose rights have been violated should himself go to the court and get justice, but every time that such person is not in a position to go to the court on his own, so to ensure justice to such persons. A concept called public interest litigation was introduced.

Under public interest litigation, any person or social organization with public interest can approach the court to get the rights of any person or group of persons, if that person or group of persons themselves due to poverty, ignorance or their adverse socio-economic conditions. Can’t go for treatment.

PIL is very important for the rule of law, as it can advance the issue of justice and speed up the achievement of constitutional objectives.

Compoundable and Non-Compoundable OffencesHindiEnglish
Cognizable and Non- Cognizable OffencesHindiEnglish
Bailable and Non-Bailable OffencesHindiEnglish

Objective of Public Interest Litigation

The real objectives of PILs are:

1. To protect the rule of law,
2. To provide effective access to justice to the weaker sections through socio-economic forms,
3. To achieve the fundamental rights in a meaningful way.

Features of PIL

1. PIL is a humane way of providing legal aid to the poor and marginalized masses. In which petition is filed in the court for the prevention of public injury, enforcement of public duty, protection of collective rights and interests.

2. In ordinary cases where there is a dispute between two petitioning parties and one party claims assistance against the other, a PIL is a different type of suit. Because it is not filed to assert and enforce a right of one person against another, but to advance and protect the public interest.

3. The PIL is based on the principle that the violation of constitutional or legal rights of those people who are in large numbers, who are poor, uneducated and socio-economically disadvantaged should not be overlooked.

What type of cases can be accepted under PIL?

In 1998, the Supreme Court formulated certain guidelines for dealing with petitions received in the form of PILs. These guidelines were revised in 2003. According to these, only the petitions falling in the following categories will generally be accepted as Public Interest Litigation.

1. Bonded labor or neglected children

2. Matters relating to non-payment of minimum wages to workers or exploitation of workers or violation of labor laws (except in individual cases)

3. Complaints of harassment filed from prisons, applications for premature release and release after completing 14 years, death in prison, transfer, release or release on personal bonds, accelerated in the forms of Fundamental Rights court case.

4. Petition related to non-filing of case by police, police harassment and death in police custody

5. Petition against atrocities on women (especially in cases like bride-torture, dowry-burning, rape, murder, kidnapping etc.)

6. Petitions regarding complaints of harassment by co-villagers of villagers, police harassment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Economically Weaker Sections.

7. Petitions related to environment and ecology, medicine, food adulteration petitions, heritage and culture, ancient artefacts, conservation of forest and wildlife and other matters of public importance.

8. Petitions of Riot Victims and Petitions for Family Pension

Cases falling under the following categories will not be accepted as PIL;

1. Cases of landlord tenants
2. Complaints against Central Government Departments and Local Bodies (except those mentioned in point 8 above.)
4. Matters relating to enrollment in medical and other educational institutions
5. Early Petitions filed in High Courts and Subordinate Courts for hearing.

Principles of Public Interest Litigation

The Supreme Court has formulated some principles related to PIL which are as follows –

1. The Supreme Court is constitutionally bound to protect the Fundamental Rights under Article 32 and High Court 226 of the Constitution, so the Supreme Court can accept the petition of any person taking interest in social welfare. If that petition is related to that section of the society which is not in a position to approach the court itself.

2. Whenever there is an issue of public importance or a matter related to the violation of the fundamental rights of a large number of people, the court can also accept a letter as PIL. In such cases, the court also relaxes the procedural laws and the laws relating to hearing.

3. When injustice is done to the people, the Court shall not hesitate to proceed under Articles 14 and 21 , as well as the International Convention on Human Rights , which also provides for a fair and fair trial in such cases.

4. When the Court is prima facie convinced of the violation of constitutional rights of the marginalized, it does not allow the Government to raise any question as to why the petition was proved to be true, etc.

5. However, only procedural laws apply to PILs. But whether the principle of prior justice or such other principle will apply, will depend on the nature of the petition as well as the facts and circumstances relating to the case.

6. Conflict dispute between two groups falling under private law will not be accepted as PIL.

7. The court may, in special circumstances, appoint a commission or other bodies for the purpose of investigating any charge and uncovering the facts. The Court may also direct the management of any public institution acquired by such Commission.

8. The Court shall ordinarily not step outside the known scope of judicial review. Although the High Court can give a decision to give complete justice to the parties concerned, it will not have the powers conferred by Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

9. Ordinarily the High Court should not accept a petition as PIL in which any law or legal role has been questioned.

Guidelines for filing PIL

PIL today occupies an important position in the field of legal administration. But gradually there are distortions in it, some people take advantage of this loophole and misuse it, so it is gradually defined as Publicity Interest Litigation or Politics Interest Litigation or Private Interest Litigation.

However, the Supreme Court remarked in this context – Public interest litigation is not a pill, nor a medicine for every merge. Its essential meaning is to protect the basic human rights of the weak and resourceless who themselves cannot go to court for relief due to poverty, helplessness, or socio-economic conditions. Keeping in view the increase in the misuse of PILs, the Supreme Court has laid down certain guidelines to prevent misuse of PILs.

1. The Court must encourage necessary and valid PILs but discourage and stop PILs with extraneous reasons. For this, before accepting a PIL, the court should prima facie verify the credibility of the petitioner and should be convinced prima facie about the correctness of the contents of the petition and ensure that the petition is really related to public interest.

2. Instead of developing its own procedure for dealing with PILs, each individual judge should formulate a clear and authentic mechanism that encourages urgent and legitimate PILs but discourages illegal PILs.

3. The Court should also ensure that there is no personal gain, commercial interest, personal motivation or malafide intention behind filing the PIL.

facts about public interest litigation

Public interest litigation can be filed in High Court and Supreme Court. But it is up to the Chief Justice whether he accepts the PIL or not. If the Chief Justice does not consider a matter to be of such importance in the public interest, he can also reject it. If the petition is accepted, the person filing the petition can either argue in the court himself or take the help of a lawyer.

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Public interest litigation in India