Public Interest Litigation


Public Interest Litigation Originated and developed in the USA in 1960.

To provide legal representation to previously unrepresented groups and interest.

Meaning of PIL ·         PIL is a product of the judicial activism role of the Supreme Court. It was introduced in 1980s.

·         PIL is a product of the judicial activism role of the Supreme Court. It was introduced in 1980s.

·         Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and Justice P.N. Bhagwati were the pioneers of the concept of PIL.

·         Also known as-

·         Social Action Litigation (SAL)

·         Social Interest Litigation (SIL)

·         Class Action Litigation (CAL).

·         Product of the Judicial Activism role of the SC.

·         Any Public- spirited citizen on a social organisation can move the court for the enforcement of the Rights of any person or Group of person etc.

·         Maintaining Rule of Law.

·         Meaningful realisation of FundamentalRights.

FEATURES OF PIL ·         reach of the people (poor masses), who constitute the

·         Low visibility area of humanity.

·         Role held by the Court is more assertive than in traditional action.

SC, 1988 formulated a guidelines ·         Bonded labour matters

·         Neglected children

·         Non-payment of minimum wages to workers

·         Petition from riot victims  harassment, burning, rape, murder, kidnapping, , Family pension etc.

Not entertained as PIL ·         Landlord–tenant matters

·         Service matters

·         Complaints against Central/ State Government.

·         Admission to medical and other educational institution.

·         Petitions for early hearing of cases

·         Pending in High Courts and Subordinate Courts

PRINCIPLES OF PIL ·         Imp. exercise in powers under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution.

·         Constitutionally bounded to protect the Fundamental Rights

·         Satisfied about violation of any FRs of a groups.

·         Disputes b/w Group of peoples in the realm of private law would not be allowed to agitate as a PIL.

·         Special situation may appoint commission.

SC ·         In this Context, “PIL is not a pill or a panacea for all wrongs.”

·         Protect basic Human Rights

·         HC should not entertain a writ petition by way of PIL.

History of PIL IN India •          January 1979: The Indian Express reported about the inhuman condos. In which 18 prisoners, including 6 women, were languishing in Patna and Muzuffarpur jails, as they awaited trial, at times for periods longer than they would have been senterned to, had they been convicted.

•          Kapila Hingorani, and her husband Nirmal Hingorani, adurates prisoners.

•          But back then, according to Indian law, a petition could only be filed if you were a victim or a relative.

•          The couple then hit upon the novel idea of filing a habeas corpus petition on the prisoners behalf.

Guidelines to admit PIL •          Must encourage genuine and bona fide  PIL – discourage and curb PIL filed for extraneous considerations

•          High Court formulate rules for encouraging genuine PIL.

•          Court should prima facie verify credentials of petitioner.

•          Satisfy itself substantially that public interest is involved.

•          Ensure that PIL is aimed at redressal of genuine public come and public injuries – No private motive behind a filing

•          Ensure petition filed by ulterior motive is imposed with exemplary costs to curb such further cases

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