What is PIL? | public Interest Litigation


What is PIL?

Public Interest Litigation 

The most important means of broad interpretation is Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Under the PIL, any public-spirited citizen or a social organization can move the court for the enforcement of the rights of a person or group of persons who due to their poverty or ignorance or socially or economically disadvantaged position are themselves unable to approach the court for the remedies. Thus, in a PIL, any member of the general public having ‘sufficient interest’ can approach the court for enforcing the rights of other persons and redressal of a standard grievance.

In some cases, the judiciary has taken cognisance on the idea of stories from print or electronic media. For example: the matter of tracks in Mumbai, Agra protection Home, the case of Labourers of Tiloniya etc.

Emergence of PIL

The concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) originated and developed within the USA within the 1960s. Initially, the problems of environmental protection, exploitation of consumer and public health were raise in USA under PIL.

PIL in India

In India, Justice PN Bhagwati and Justice Krishna lyer started the Public Interest Litigation in a lawsuit related to inmates in Bhagalpur Jail in Bihar in 1981. In this PIL, it was ordered the prisoners to file a lawsuit immediately, provide solicitation facility and grant of bail if the hearing of case goes beyond 18 months.

Features the PIL

Feature of PIL

Following are the Features PIL

• It can be issued in the favour of common man’s interest. For example: forced labour, excessive pollution, corruption, pitiable conditions of prisoners etc.

• These are indirectly protected under Articles 32, 226 and 39 (a).

• A PIL can be filed in the court even through a simple letter or postcard.

• If the judiciary considers issues related to public interest, then it can also accept itself.

• PILs do not involve complex processes like ordinary lawsuits, in this, the availability of lawyers and other facilities is provided by the court itself.

• PIL do not involve complex processes like ordinary lawsuits, in this, the availability of lawyers and other facilities is provided by court itself.

• Public Internet Litigation is against the old feature of ‘Locus Standi of the judiciary.

Note: Locus standi means and dispute in the court can be brought by a plaintiff or a victim party through a prescribed procedure, material and fixed person  ( advocate ) otherwise.

Benefits of PIL

Following are the significance/benefits of PIL

• PIL has significantly contributed in bringing justice to the weaker and poor section of society.

• It has made accountable to legislature and executive.

• PIL has augmented the faith of people towards judiciary,

• It has made the judicial system cheaper, easier, faster and accessible to the common man.

• It has helped in providing policies and laws in accordance with social and economic justice.

Criticism of PIL

PIL is criticised on the following basis

• PILs have created interference in the general functions of the judiciary,it has increased the burden of litigations and lawsuits on the judiciary.

• In many cases, petitions are filed due to self-fulfillment, obtaining inexpensive popularity etc. so that its nature has changed in the form of ‘Personal Interest Litigation’.

• As a result of it, confrontation has emerged in all three organs of the government.

• At present, the status of litigants brought under PILs has decreased. Individuals have started to bring their selfish or personal matters under it.


Who can file PIL?

Public interest Litigation

Any individual or a gaggle of individuals can file for a PIL if they convince the Courts that they’re not filing the petition for his or her personal agenda. Therefore, anybody who may be a part of a society and is facing a problem can file a PIL against the govt and not another individual or entity.

Where can PIL be filed?

You can file the PIL within the Apex Court under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution or with the supreme court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.


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