PIL had begun in India towards the end of 1970s and came into full bloom in the 80s. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and Justice P N. Bhagwati, honorable Judges of the Supreme Court of India delivered landmark judgements which opened up new vistas in PIL. In Indian law, public interest litigation means litigation for the protection of the public interest. It 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 right should personally approach the court. Public interest litigation is the power given to the public by courts through judicial activism. However, the person filing the petition must prove to the satisfaction of the court that the petition is being filed for a public interest and not just as a frivolous litigation by a busy body. Such cases may occur when the victim does not have the necessary resources to commence litigation or his freedom to move court has been suppressed or encroached upon. The court can itself take cognizance of the matter and proceed suo motu or cases can commence on the petition of any public spirited individual.
PIL has today acquired unprecedented legitimacy and binding power and is acknowledged as a powerful weapon to combat governmental lawlessness and social oppression. The judicial messages radiated through PIL cases provide legal resources to launch struggles against domination and abuses of power. The Indian PIL has grown in the context of political history of State repression. It emerged as a device to activate judicial power to force the government to live up to its commitments. PIL is a unique phenomenon in the Indian constitutional jurisprudence which has no parallel in the world. This technique is concerned with the protection of the interests of a class or group of persons who are either the victims of governmental lawlessness, oppression, or social oppression or denied their constitutional or legal rights and who are not in a position to approach the court for the redressal of their grievances due to the lack of resources or ignorance or their disadvantaged social and economic position. The Indian Supreme Court began to identify itself as an institution of last resort when the other two branches of the government were facing legitimating crisis.
WHO CAN FILE A PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION
Categories of Public interest litigation:-
1. Bonded labor
2. Neglected Children
3. Minimum Wages
4. Jail petitions
5. Police petitions
6. Petition for protection of women
7. Petition for protection of SC/ST.
8. Riot victims
10. National importance
1. Land lord- Tenant
3. Family dispute
4. Property dispute
Procedures To File a PIL In The Court
Any citizen of India can approach the court for public case (upon the interest of public) by filing
• Under Supreme Court Article 32 of the constitution
• Under High Court under Article 226 of the constitution
• Under Court of Magistrate under Section 133 CRPC
At present, a court can treat a letter as a writ petition and take action upon it. In such cases, the
court has to be satisfied that the writ petition compiles the following;
1. Where the letter is addressed by the aggrieved person
2. A public-spirited individual
3. A social action group for the enforcement of legal or constitutional rights to any person who,
upon poverty or disability, are not able to approach the court for redress.
IMPORTANCE OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION
Some of the critical importance and scope of the PIL are as follows:
Public interest litigation provides a wider scope promoting the right to equality.
Not only does it promote equality, but it also ensures right to life and personality. Part III of the Constitution of India guarantees right to quality, life, and personality.
PIL is solely responsible for providing relief and remedies of the writ jurisdiction.
The public interest litigation practice functions as an effective instrument for changing society and ensuring welfare.
Also, with the help of the public interest litigation, anyone can seek remedy on behalf of the under-privileged class by introducing the public interest litigation.
PROS AND CONS OF THE PIL
Citizens get an inexpensive remedy to solve the problem of crime as there is only a nominal rate of court fees.
Courts can concentrate on larger public issues such as the issues of Human Rights, consumer welfare and environment.
PILs have made it easier for the judiciary to haul up the executive when it is not performing its duties properly.
If the petitioner is socially or economically weak and cannot provide necessary evidence to support his case, the court orders appointed commissions to look into and collect information about the case.
Many people started handling PIL as tool for harassment because frivolous cases can be filed without heavy court fee as compared to private litigations.
Due to the flexibility of character of the PIL, the opposite party gets an opportunity to ascertain the precise allegation and respond to specific issues.
The judiciary has been criticized due to the overstepping of its jurisdiction and that it is unable to implement its order effectively.
PIL as being misused in many ways, by the public agitating for private grievances in the grab of public interest by seeking publicity rather than supporting the public cause.
Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of Fertilizer corporation Kamagar union Vs Union of India has enumerated the following principles on Public Interest Litigation such as;
- The exercise of State power to eradicate corruption may result in unrelated interference’s of individuals right.
- Social justice want’s liberal judicial review administrative action.
- Restrictive rules of standing are an antithesis to an effective system of administration.
- Activism is essential for participative public justice
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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