Public Interest Litigation

Public interest litigation means the interest of the public at large, where as the term “litigation” means a legal action. Therefore, the general meaning of the term PIL can be extracted from the legal sense alone. It is nothing but a legal action taken, covering the issue of the public at large, for the welfare of the society. “Public Interest” define as “something in which the public, the community at large, has some pecuniary interest, or same interest by which their legal rights ad liabilities are affected. It does not mean anything so narrow as mere curiosity, or as the interest of the particular localities, which may be affected by the matters in question. Interest shared by citizens generally in affairs of local, state or national government”. Therefore, PIL is nothing but litigation filed before the court of law to serve the welfare to the public at large.

The term “PIL” originated in the united states in the mid 1980s . since the nineteenth century, various movements in that country has contributed to public interest law, which was part of the legal aid movement, the first legal aid office was established in New York in 1876.

In the 1960s the PIL movement began to receive financial support from the office of economic opportunity, This encourage lawyers and public spirited person to take up cases of  the under privileged and fight against dangers to environment and public health and exploitation of consumer and the weaker sections.

In normal cases, It is seen that the aggrieved party i.e. the victim, who is affected has to file his case in a court of law.

The person should have an interest in the dispute. But in filing Public Interest Litigation there is no such condition. Any person can file a Public Interest Litigation the only condition being that the same has to be filed in Public Interest. Public Interest Litigation is litigation introduced in a court of law, not by the aggrieved party but by the court itself or by any other private party. It is not necessary, for the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction, that the person who is the victim of the violation of his or her rights should personally approach the court. Public interest Litigation is the power given to the public by court to protect interest of public at large.

Such cases may occur when the victim does not have the necessary resources to commence litigation pr his freedom to move court has been suppressed or encroached upon. The court can itself take cognizance of the matter and precede suo moto or cases can commence on the petition of any public spirited individual.

The concept of PIL carries a lot of merits, but at the same time, India has faced various demerits in it and I order to find a solution those demerits, appropriate steps have been taken. The main benefit of Public Interest Litigation is that it helps to serve the people at large. It does not benefit the individual but instead it benefits the public and mainly the weaker section of the society, who cannot afford to move to the court in order to protect the fundamental right. Another benefits of PIL is that, it does not restrict any person to file a PIL with regard to PIL  is concerned, the supreme court has relaxed the rule of locus standi by which, any person can file PIL irrespective of whether the person is an aggrieved person or not.

The next merits lies in this concept is that, a PIL can e filed directly to the High Court under article 226 and the supreme court under article 32 and thus it lead speedy remedy rather than wasting time going through all the court as per the hierarchy.

Another benefit that can be identified on behalf of this concept is that the cost of fling a PIL is nominal and nature and therefore, even the poor people can file a PIL in case there is a violation of human right or fundamental right at large.

One important benefit that lies with this concept is that, there are no limits or boundaries or the issue to be dealt with. A PIL can be for any purpose For example, Environmental Protection or for the welfare of the labours, provided the issue put forth should not be for personal gain instead it should be for the group of people at large.

In the case of Vishaka and others vs State of Rajasthan

A women, who was a social activist, was brutally raped while she was in the course of her employment and on behalf of her, a NGO filed a PIL in the supreme court in order to protect the right of women at workplace. The court accepted the petition and laid down the guidelines to be followed to safeguard the interest of women at the workplace and later sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted based on the guidelines served.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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