Written by:Adv. Pooja Gupta

Public Interest Litigation in India [PIL] with cases

Introduction of the Cases of PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL): PIL refers to lawsuit to safeguard the public interest under Indian law. PIL refers to public interest. It is made by himself or a private party in the Court of Justice, not by the aggravated party. A victim of an infringement of his/her right to approach the court directly for the exercise of his/her powers.

The Individual filing the Petition

On the other hand, must show to the court. PIL is the judicial activism authority provided by tribunals to the public that the petition is being submitted in the public interest and not as a frivolous claim by an engaged group. Such instances can arise when the victim lacks the financial means to pursue a case, or when her right to access the court has been curtailed or encroached upon.

The court has the authority to take cognizance of the subject and to take suo motu notice of matters brought by a public interest person. In clear words, litigation is a legal action taken in court to safeguard a ‘public interest’ such as pollution, terrorism, traffic safety, construction-related dangers, and so on. The term “public interest litigation” (PIL) has not been defined or described in any law or act. Judges have often understood it to take consideration of the purpose of the public.

Under the Black’s Law Dictionary A “PIL” is a lawsuit submitted to a court in violation of general interests or public interest or a section of the community have a pecuniary interest or interest that affects its rights or liability, in the interest of the public or in the interest of a section of the community.”


Purpose of the Public Interest Litigation

PIL, according to Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, is a method of addressing people’s problems through the legal system in order to obtain justice for them. In order to receive legal assistance, PIL’s aim is to enable ordinary citizen of that country access to courts.

In India, there is a long history of public interest litigation.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was initially published in India in the late 1970s and peaked in the 1980s.Hon’ble Justices of the Supreme Court of India, Justice VR Krishna Iyer and Justice PN Bhagwati, They made some significant rulings that broadened the scope of public interest litigation.

“The right to travel S.C. is an exercise of the rights by this portion is assured by suitable action,” according to Art. 32 of the Indian Constitution. Ordinarily, under Article 32, only the appellant has the right to seek prevention.

In 1979, the first PIL lawsuit was filed in response to the harsh circumstances in jails and among pre-trial detainees.

In hussainara khatoon v. U.O.I (air-1979)

An counsel filed the PIL after reading news items in the Indian Express about thousands of under-trial detainees sitting in various jails across Bihar. More than 40,000 people who were awaiting trial were released as a result of this case.A basic right denied these prisoners derived from the right to rapid justice. The same established pattern was followed in subsequent occurrences.

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. U.O.I.

Now at the request of the “public-spirited citizens” the court authorises PIL and social interest disputes to enforce the constitutional and legal rights of anyone or group of persons who, because of their social or economic disadvantage, cannot approach the courts for remedy. The courts should be welcome at the doorstep of civil disputes of this sort. Litigation of public interest is a component of the judicial process.

In the case of the Judge’s transfer, AIR 1982, SC 149,

The Supreme Court ruled that any member of the public with a significant stake in public injury deriving from the infringement of legal rights can file a PIL to seek judicial redress. This is very necessary for the rule of law to be maintained and the balance between law and justice to be sharpened. It is the law when a person approaches an equity court with remarkable competence. Not only clean hands, but clean mind, heart, and intentions should have it before entering the courtroom.

M.C Mehta v. UO.I. (air-1998)

A PIL was filed against Ganga water emissions to avoid future pollution of the Ganga.

Council for environment legal action v. U.O.I (air-1996)

Concerning the economic decline in the coastal area, a PIL was filed by a recognised non-profit organisation. S.C. issued necessary orders and directives to enforce environmental regulations.


If the following conditions are met, a PIL may be filed:

A state or public authority’s improper conduct or omission must be the source of public damage or defect.

Its mission is to protect the fundamental human rights of the community’s weaker members, who are oppressed, illiterate, and have had their fundamental and constitutional rights violated.

It cannot be a minor disagreement between people with vested interests.


Who is eligible to file a PIL?

Through a series of decisions, the Supreme Court has modified the rigorous rule of ‘locus standi’ that applies to private lawsuits.

He is a genuine member who is acting in the public interest and has a sufficient interest in taking action to correct a public wrong or injury.

He isn’t only a bothersome interloper or a busy body.

Personal gain or any other indirect factor is not motivated their actions.

Factors that have aided the expansion of Public Interest Litigation

The following are some of the many elements that have led to the evolution of PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL) in this country:

The character of the Indian constitution, unlike the United Kingdom, India has a written constitution that provides a framework for regulation through art iii (F. R) and part iv of (D.P.S. P)The State and its residents’ relationships are controlled.

In India, labour exploitation, minimum salary, land ceilings, environmental protection and others are some of the world’s most progressive social regulations. This has made it clearer and easier for the courts to hold the administration accountable when the law’s obligations to protect the poor are not met.

Any person can appeal to the court on behalf of persons who are financially or physically incompetent and do not come before the court, under a liberal interpretation of locus standi (the right or competence to institute an action or to appear in court). In certain occasions, judges have taken action on their own, based on newspaper articles or letters they have received.

Courts have appointed commissions to gather information on facts and submit them before the bench in PIL cases where the appellant is unable to offer all of the relevant evidence due to the parties’ social or economic disadvantage.

Misuse of the Public Interest Litigation:

However, as PIL has grown in popularity, it has also revealed its flaws and limitations. As a result, the Supreme Court must promulgate regulations controlling the management and disposition of PILs. PIL misuse, as well as its vast and varied application, is on the rise. False causes created by privately driven interests in order to deceive the so-called public interest have become more common than their use, and the true cause is either hidden or suspended as a result of false causes created by privately driven interests in order to deceive the so-called public interest.


Conclusion of the Public Interest Litigation in India

PILis a strong means of social change. It strives to improve people’s lives from all walks of life.This is everyone’s sword, and it is solely used to bring justice to the world. It is an institutional activity aimed at assisting the less fortunate members of society.

The Supreme Court of India has ordered the release of bonded workers in Bandhan Mukti Morcha v Union of India.

Smoking in public was forbidden by the Supreme Court of India, Murali S. Dogra V case.The Supreme Court has issued comprehensive instructions to prohibit sexual harassment of workers at their workplace in Vishakha v State of Rajasthan, a historic decision.


Read more: –

Laws related to Child Labour in India

Contract of Bailment under the Indian Contract Law

Right to Constitutional remedies under the Constitution of India

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