The articulation ‘Public Interest Litigation’ has been acquired from American jurisprudence. It was intended to give legal portrayal to already unrepresented bunches like poor people, racial minorities, disorderly shoppers, and enthusiastic residents about the ecological issues, and so forth. Legal action is required to protect “public interest,” such as preventing pollution or terrorism, ensuring the security of transportation, or preventing the risk of construction. Any matter where the interest of the public, in general, is impacted can be challenged by documenting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in a court of law. Public interest litigation isn’t characterized in any rule or in any demonstration. In the eyes of judges, the public’s objective has been comprehended. When the courts use their legal authority, it is known as legal activism. In any case, the individual recording the request should demonstrate as per the general inclination of the court that the appeal is being petitioned for public interest and not similarly as a frivolous litigation by a snoop. The court would itself be able to take insight of the matter and continue suo motu or cases can start on the appeal of any public vivacious person. (Surya Dave, Public Interest Litigation: A Critical Review, Civil Justice Quarterly, Vol. 28, pp. 19-40, 2009 available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1424236.)
A portion of the issues which are engaged under PIL are:
- Reinforced Work matters
- Disregarded Youngsters
- Non-instalment of least wages to laborers and double-dealing of easy going specialists
- Monstrosities on ladies
- Natural pollution and aggravation of biological equilibrium
- Food debasement
- Upkeep of legacy and culture
2. Maintainability of PIL in India
(Rakesh Kumar, Public Interest Litigation, Volume-3, Issue-7, July-2014 available at https://www.worldwidejournals.com/global-journal-for-research-analysis-GJRA/recent_issues_pdf/2014/July/July_2014_1565265399_118.pdf. )
Throughout the long term, the courts in India have formed different standards with respect to PILs:
- Relaxed rule of locus standi– PILs can be recorded by any individual for the government assistance of other people who are hindered and are subsequently incapable to move toward the actual courts. Consequently, the common principle of locus standi has been relaxed in instances of PILs to secure and shield the interests and privileges of these hindered individuals.
- Relaxed procedural rules– Courts have treated even a letter or a wire as a PIL as on account of Rustic Case and Privilege Kendra, Dehradun versus Territory of Uttar Pradesh. Indeed, even the law with respect to pleadings has been relaxed by the courts in instances of PILs.
- Intervention by the courts– Courts have likewise featured the way that Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and the Global Shows on Common liberties accommodate a fair and sensible preliminary. Along these lines, Courts should intercede when a bad form is done to many.
- Question of practicality- The Public authority may not be permitted to bring up issues regarding the viability of the PIL assuming the court is prima facie fulfilled that there is a variety of any sacred freedoms of an impeded class of individuals.
- Standard of Res Judicata– The guideline of res judicata or any standards undifferentiated from it would rely upon the conditions and realities of the case and the idea of the PIL.
- Appointment of Commission– In extraordinary conditions, a court might designate a Commission or different bodies to explore. If the Commission assumes control over a public establishment, the Court might coordinate administration of it.
- PILs in regards to lawfulness or legitimacy of a resolution or a legal rule– Usually, the High Court shouldn’t engage such an appeal via a PIL. Complete Equity Under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, the Hon’ble High Court of India has the optional ability to pass a declaration or request as might be important to do finish equity. Nonetheless, while high courts might pass requests to do finish equity, they don’t have abilities much the same as those conceded to the Hon’ble High Court under Article 142.
- Abuse of PILs– Courts are incredibly mindful to guarantee that PILs are not abused as the abuse of PILs would nullify the very point for which it was considered for example to act the hero of poor people and the discouraged. On countless times, the courts have stressed this fact on account of Kushum Lata v. Association of India ( (2006) 6 SCC 180. ). Nonetheless, courts have held that regardless of whether the solicitor had moved toward the court for his own private interest because of his own complaints, the court might get it essential ask into the subject of the suit and its situation in assistance of public interest.
- In the formulation of different concepts– In ecological regulation cases, the courts have figured out and advanced a few concepts including the Polluter Pays Guideline, the Prudent Rule, the Public Trust Precept, and the Economical Turn of events.
3. Landmark Judgements of PIL
Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (IR 1997 SC 3011.)
Bhanwari Devi, a member of the government’s anti-child marriage campaign in rural Rajasthan, tried to halt the marriage of a one-year-old girl. People in Bhanwari Devi’s neighborhood started harassing her and her family with threats and launching a socio-economic boycott. A group of five men attacked Bhanwari Devi on September 22, 1992, and raped her. When Bhanwari Devi pursued justice, she ran against a lot of roadblocks. Naina Kapur, a lawyer who had witnessed Bhanwari Devi’s criminal trial and was frustrated by the incapacity of the criminal justice system to provide tangible remedies and restore the victim’s dignity, decided to file a PIL in the Supreme Court to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.
Vishaka’s writ petition was brought in 1992 on behalf of five non-governmental organizations against the State of Rajasthan, its Women & Child Welfare Department, its Department of Social Welfare, and the Union of India. According to the Vishaka ruling, sexual harassment is “a clear violation” of basic constitutional rights and liberty. In order to protect and implement the right to gender equality in the workplace, the recommendations provided employers with a definition of “sexual harassment”, a list of methods for harassment prevention, and a description of complaint processes that should be “strictly observed in all workplaces.”
Javed v. State of Haryana (AIR 2003 SC 3057.)
Petitioner Javed challenged the legitimacy of a coercive population control rule that regulated the election of the panchayat. Under the new law passed by Haryana Government “A person who has more than two live children” was barred from holding certain positions in panchayats. In order to promote family planning, the two-child rule was established with the notion that other people would follow the example of limited reproduction set by their elected representatives.
Public Interest Litigation has produced astonishing results which were unthinkable three decades ago. Degraded bonded labourers, tortured under trials and women prisoners, humiliated inmates of protective women’s homes, blinded prisoners, exploited children, beggars, and many others have been given relief through judicial intervention. The greatest contribution of PIL has been to enhance the accountability of the governments towards the human rights of the poor.
The PIL develops a new jurisprudence of the accountability of the state for constitutional and legal violations adversely affecting the interests of the weaker elements in the community. However, the Judiciary should be cautious enough in the application of PILs to avoid judicial overreach that is violative of the principle of separation of power. Besides, the frivolous PILs with vested interests must be discouraged to keep their workload manageable.
Student Editor, LawDiktat