. weak.Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a right given to members of the public to maintain an action for judicial redressal of public injury. due to their social or economic background. ignorant of legal redressal system or otherwise in a disadvantageous position. such an injury may arise from breach of public duty or due to a violation of some provision of the Constitution Public Interest Litigation is basically meant for enforcement of fundamental and other legal rights of the people who are poor.

It has been interpreted by judges to consider and examine the intent of public at large . whose rights or entitlements are affected •It is not necessary that the person filing a case should have a direct interest or involvement in the matter of litigation •A person in Mumbai can file a Public Interest Litigation for malnutrition deaths in Orissa or protection of environment in Tamil Nadu •Public Interest Litigation is not defined in any statute or act.•Any public-spirited person can file a Public Interest Litigation case (PIL) on behalf of a group of persons.

vested interest and ulterior individual motif .•public injury and public wrong caused by acts or omissions of various state agencies or other constituted public authorities •sufficient cause for enforcement fundamental and constitutional rights of disadvantaged and poor people •violation of rights transcending limits of private concern.

departments and constituted bodies of state and central governments and not private parties and non-governmental organizations/institutions •A “Private party” can be included in a PIL as a “Respondent”. after making the concerned state authority a party •As in the case of a private factory in Delhi. people living in its vicinity or any other person can file a PIL against the Government of India. making the private factory a respondent .•Agencies. causing pollution. the State Pollution Board.

•Introduction of the „Due Process‟ clause to expand fundamental nights in India •The subservient and deferential role of the Supreme Court of India during the Emergency period in the late 1970s •Interference of the Executive in judicial appointments •Post emergency radical interpretations of Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India wherein filing of PILs got legitimized for effective assertion of constitutionally guaranteed rights .

Salient Features •Access and Standing •Procedural rules relaxed •Appointment of citizens as investigators / fact finders •Non adversarial approach •No financial burden on petitioners .

consumer and environmental protection  Bane Increase in filing of frivolous cases with an intent to strike deals with the victims of stay orders People filing PILs which are based on private interests disguised as public interests . Boon Citizens have an inexpensive legal remedy to public issues concerning human rights .

PILs can be filed in a High Court or in the Supreme Court. depending on the “Nature of Case” Proceedings are conducted in the same manner as in other normal litigations Judges may constitute inquiry commissions to investigate claims made in a PIL Even a letter or a report deemed to have depicted real-life issues can be used to initiate a PIL .

•PIL signifies a paradigm of legal justice which locates the content of informal justice within the formal justice delivery system….Non Anglo-Saxon jurisdiction induces courts to transcend the traditional judicial function of adjudication and provide remedies for social wrongs •The systemic impact of public interest litigation is not necessarily or directly related to its success in court......the litigation process may also have palpable impacts on public discourse and policy •Judgements and investigations relating to PILs generate far-reaching socio-political inputs for civil society campaigns .

P  Stoppage of mining operations which were leading to environmental damage Vellore Citizens' Welfare Forum vs. Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra vs. State of U. Union of India  Tanneries discharging toxic wastes in Palar river were endangering the health of the residents and these were asked to shut down Closing down a plant causing extensive air pollution and reopening it subject to extensive terms and conditions Imposing strict deadlines on hotels operating late in the night    .

Public vigilance is the need of the hour Full impacts of judgments on crucial issues of noise pollution like the use of fire-crackers and loud-speakers are yet to be realized due to lack of awareness and sensitization .MC Mehta’s PIL(1985) for unleaded petrol won relief only in 2001 because of the involvement of a mighty public sector company….Still 2 out of 7 IOC refineries produce leaded fuel…..

 A PIL pointed out that Taj Mahal was facing a threat from pollution caused by the factories situated nearby causing erosion of the exterior white marble Supreme Court banned the use of coke and coal in the surrounding industries   The pollution in the area was substantially reduced resulting in environmental conservation .

Strategic Areas of PILs‟ Impact Human Rights of the vulnerable Economic . social and cultural rights Police accountability Issues relating to environmental degradation Accountability of public authorities .

legal practitioners and para-legal court functionaries •Problem of backlogs and delays caused by lack of infrastructure and human resources •The frequency of PIL cases in the Supreme Court and the High Courts increased as claimants and their lawyers learned how to take advantage of the more liberal procedures •Courts saw that public interest litigants and their lawyers were “dressing up” private disputes in the name of PIL . ‘preference’ and ‘unfair dealings’ of judges.. •Problems arising out of alleged ‘dubiousness’..•Over-extensive reliance on court-appointed commissions of enquiry..allegations of bias and partial ‘evidence gathering .

• While PIL has been partly institutionalized. reversing constitutional priorities.• Courts exceeding their institutional capacity. it remains dependent on personal orientations of individual judges . usurping both legislative and administrative functions.

• Striking a balance between allowing „legitimate‟ PILs and discouraging the „frivolous‟ ones • Preventive measures like building in „economic disincentives‟ and confining PILs primarily to cases where access to justice is undermined by some kind of „disability‟ .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful