Public Interest Litigation (PIL), as the name suggests, is litigation for any public interest. As the term ‘litigation’ means ‘legal action’, it stands for a legal action taken by a public person. This method is to protect the public interest. It is litigation filed in a court of law for the protection of matters of welfare like constructional hazards, pollution, and terrorism.

PIL is provided to the people of India for filing a petition directly to the Supreme Court or High Court. Any individual can file Public Interest Litigation. The idea of a Public Interest Litigation is to seek justice facing the government in case it is felt that the government is denying someone of their interest and rights.

The Public Interest Litigation can be filed through:

  • Violation of ethical rights or fundamental rights.
  • Violation of human rights of the poor.
  • Force the municipal authorities to conduct a public duty.
  • Execution of government policy.

Benefits of Public Interest Litigation

  • It clarifies the law.
  • Hold public bodies to account by assuring that they make correct choices, act fairly within the remit of their powers.
  • Help and develop the law by allowing the judges to interpret legislation.
  • Give weak people a voice by highlighting a major issue. Moreover, providing a platform for advocating for their rights.
  • Raise awareness of major problems supporting public debate and media coverage.
  • Vigilant citizens can find a reasonable solution because there is only a nominal rate of court fees.
  • Litigants can focus attention on and achieve outcomes about larger public issues. Moreover, in the field of Human rights, consumer welfare, and the environment.

Where to file PIL?

Public Interest Litigation can be filed in the High Court or Supreme Court depending on the situation. Both the courts have the power to entertain the PIL.

In High Court

If a PIL is filed in a High Court, the person is required to file two copies of the petition. Similarly, an advance copy of the petition has to be served on each respondent, which is the opposite party, and this proof of service has to be attached to the petition.

In The Supreme Court

If the PIL is filed in Supreme Court, then five sets of the petition should be filed opposite the party served, the copy only if the notice is issued.

Public Interest Litigation Format

The Public Interest Litigation format has the following procedures:

  • The format of the supreme court has the name of the petitioner and the name of the respondent.
  • The format should be written to the Chief Justice of India.
  • Moreover, proceed with the subject of the format to fill the necessary event.

Procedure to file Public Interest Litigation in India

  • The proceedings in the case of IPL commence and carry on in the same manner as other cases.
  • The judge can select a commissioner to investigate charges like pollution being caused, trees being cut, sewer problems, etc between the processes.
  • After the last hearing, the judge delivers his final decision.

Significance of Public Interest Litigation

  • PIL aims to give the common people access to the courts to obtain the legal address.
  • PIL is an essential instrument of social development and for sustaining the Rule of law and stimulating the balance between the law and justice.
  • The initial idea of PILs has been to obtain justice available to the poor and the marginalized.
  • It is an important mechanism to make human rights reach those who have been refused rights.
  • It democratizes the access of justice to all. Any citizen or company who can file petitions on behalf of those who cannot or do not have the means to do.
  • It helps in the legal monitoring of state institutions like prisons, asylums, protective homes, etc.
  • Additionally, it is an important tool for implementing the concept of judicial review.
  • Enhanced public support in judicial review of legislative action is confirmed by the beginning of PILs.

Importance of Public Interest Litigation

Public interest litigation provides a wider scope promoting the right to quality.

  • By creating a new regime of human rights by expanding the meaning of the fundamental right to equality, life, and personal liberty. In this method, the right to a quick trial, free legal aid, dignity, education and so on appear on human rights. These rights afford legal support to initiate the courts for their execution through PIL.
  • By democratization of access to justice. This is achieved by relaxing the traditional rule. Any public-spirited citizen or social workgroup can address the court on behalf of the abused classes.
  • By creating new kinds of reliefs under the court’s writ jurisdiction. For instance, the court can grant interim compensation to the victims of governmental lawlessness.
  • By judicial monitoring of state institutions such as jails, women’s protective homes, etc. Through judicial invigilation, the court seeks gradual improvement in its management and administration. This has been characterized as creeping jurisdiction in which the court takes over the administration of the institutions for protecting human rights.
  • By devising new techniques of fact-finding. In most of the events, the court has selected its own socio-legal commissions of analysis or has deputed its own official or investigation. Sometimes it has taken the guidance of the National Human Rights Commission or Central Bureau of Investigation or authorities to inquire into human rights violations. This is also known as investigative litigation.

Why PIL and Why we need PIL?

  • The PIL clarifies the Indian societal law.
  • It ensures that they make appropriate decisions, act fair and transparent within their legal powers.
  • Aid in improving the law by presenting the judges with the chance to correctly interpret the legislation.
  • Present a voice to the voiceless and vulnerable by highlighting a crucial issue.
  • Providing a platform for vulnerable people to protect and practice their rights.
  • Increase awareness of societal concerns, promote public debates and improve accurate media coverage.

Documents Required for Public Interest Litigation

  • Request a public interest lawyer or association to file the case.
  • Collect important documents such as title deeds, verification of residence, identity proof, notice, resettlement policy if any, and photos of the eviction.
  • List names and addresses of all aggrieved people nearing the court.
  • List names and addresses of government officers from which relief is inquired.
  • List events providing rise to violations of basic rights.
  • Similarly, list dates indicating the duration of stay at the site, when the eviction took place, when and if an eviction notice was provided, and other important details related to the eviction.
  • Mention the relief being sought from the court.

FAQs on Public Interest Litigation

How can we file PIL online?

You can file a Public Interest Litigation by the Supreme Court by simply sending an email that reaches the chief justice. It can be done on a letter and then sent to the chief justice.

How much does it cost to file PIL?

The court fee for filing PIL that is a writ petition under Article 32 of the constitution is generally Rs. 500 per petitioner. Additionally, the prices on documentation (printing, photocopying, etc.) would have to be acquired, which are usually in the range of a few thousand rupees.

Can PIL be filed against the private party?

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) can be filed only against the state. That is the union or the central government, the state government, or municipal authority. A PIL cannot be filed or registered against private parties. But a private party can be included as a respondent after the concerned state authority.