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The Movement for Justice: Public Interest Litigation and the Indian Judiciary

Public interest litigation in India provides justice to marginalized citizens of the country. Read on to find out about the meaning & origin of PIL!

PIL means litigation or legal action that is filed in a court to protect the “public interest”. Any kind of condition where the common public interest is highly affected can be recovered by filing a PIL, or Public Interest Litigation, in any law court, such as terrorism, pollution, construction hazards, road safety, etc.

Public interest litigation in India is not mentioned in any act or statute. It has been determined by courts to value the intent of the discriminated class. This power is provided to the public by judges through judicial activism. However, the one who is filing the petition needs to prove to judges that the petition is only filed to secure the public interest and that there is no other motive.

Here are a few more things about public interest litigation:

  • Public interest litigation has become a powerful tool for imposing the legal obligations of the legislature and the executive.
  • The key objective of public interest litigation is to ensure that justice is served to all and to promote the welfare of the citizens.
  • Public interest litigation is usually filed to protect the interests of groups whose fundamental rights have been violated.
  • The High Court of India and the Supreme Court have the authority to issue public interest litigation.
  • The concept of public interest litigation arises from the strength of judicial review.
  • The concept of public interest litigation, or PILs, has weakened the locus standi’s principles that imply that the party/persons whose powers have been violated can opt for the petition.
  • This litigation has been most commonly and ideally used to challenge the activities of public authorities by judicial review in order to ensure the lawfulness of an action or decision by a public body.
  •  Public interest litigation has played a significant role in India’s polity. The PILs gave Bern accountability for a few landmark judgments such as legalised passive euthanasia, legalized homosexual relations, the instant triple talaq, and it has also opened up the gate of the Sabarimala & Haji Ali shrines to women, etc.

What Is the Legal History of PIL?

The Indian Public Interest litigation is the polished version of the public interest litigation of the USA. PIL, or Public Interest Litigation, is a name that has newly been given to actions that provide legal representation to formerly unrepresented groups and public interests.

Government lawlessness and state repression were widespread during the emergency in India. Many innocent people along with their political rivals were sentenced to jail and there was absolute deprivation of political and civil rights. India’s post-emergency period gave an occasion for the Supreme Court to disregard the hindrance of the Anglo-Saxon process in providing access to justice to the ones who are marginalized.

What Is the Procedure for Filing Public Interest Litigation?

Here is the complete procedure for filing a PIL, or public interest litigation India:

  • Make a clear decision to file a petition.
  • Consult with all the groups that could be possible allies.

Be careful while filing a public interest lawsuit because:

  1.   Litigation could be highly expensive.
  2.   Litigation could be extremely time-consuming.
  3. Litigation can discard the applicant’s decision-making strength or capability from communities.
  4.   A wrong decision can impact the strength of the movement.
  5.   Public interest litigation involvement could distract the attention of the community from the main problem.

If you have already considered filing a PIL:

  1.   Collect all relevant information related to the case.
  2.   Be meticulous in arranging details for use in court. If you decide to use photographs, hold the negatives and collect an affidavit from the photographer. Keep bills.
  3.   Write to the authorities and clarify your demands.
  4.   Retain records in an arranged fashion.
  5.   Consult a lawyer for the case.
  6.   Engage with a competent lawyer. When handling a case without a lawyer, one needs to get good advice on the process of drafting.
  7.   Public interest litigation may be filed by a registered organization only. If you are unregistered, then he must file a PIL in the office bearer or member’s name.
  8.   You might need to provide legal notice to the concerned authorities or parties before public interest litigation. When filing a suit against the government, you need to provide a notice to the concerned office department 2 months before filing.

What Is the Current Condition of PIL in India?

Public interest litigation keeps on revolving in India as it is the most accessible public instrument used to obtain judicial action. The following is the current condition of PIL in India:

  • Public Interest Litigation moved to invalidate the PM CARES fund.
  • It has been filed before the Indian Supreme Court to make arrangements to return the Indian migrants from the Gulf countries.
  • As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, a petition has been filed to the Supreme Court of India demanding directions to states, municipal authorities, and local self-government authorities to ensure the protection of workers’ rights, especially those who constantly provided services during the pandemic.

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The concept of Public interest litigation has been taken from American jurisprudence and introduced by Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati in India. It is made to give legal representation to groups like racial minorities, the poor, people who are motivated to restore the environment, unorganised consumers, etc. Public interest-associated matters that are entertained by a court include violence against women, bonded labor issues, neglected children, and environment-related issues, etc. Vakilsearch is one of the best legal service providers which can help you to fulfill all your legal and financial requirements with ease.

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