Today, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has emerged as an effective tool to promote social justice. PIL is a form of judicial activism which aims to address the issues of the social welfare through Courts of Law. PIL in a layman language can be understood as – Litigation which aims to address any public interest or issue which is for the welfare of a large number of people. The concept of PIL is based on and in sync with the principles of Article 39A of the Constitution of India which is to protect and deliver prompt social justice with the help of law.
Essentially, PIL is a form of litigation which needs not to be initiated by the aggrieved party rather it can be litigated by anyone or even by the court itself by its suo moto action. PIL is not defined in any statute or law, besides its Judiciary actively interpreting the laws constructively for the greater social cause. Courts listen to cases that are for the benefit of the public at large via PIL mechanism. In the last two decades, PIL has emerged as one of the most powerful tools for promoting social justice and for protecting the rights of the poor.These are the following things you need to keep in mind while filing a PIL:-
1) WHO CAN FILE PIL?
PIL can be filed or brought to court by anyone who is socially conscious or any social NGO or by any eminent personality or even the court itself can i.e. suo moto take action on any public issue. The locus standi to file a PIL is relieved and it is not necessary that the litigation is brought to court only by the person/party aggrieved.
2) WHERE TO FILE PIL?
PIL can be filed or initiated at the High Court’s (HC) under Article 226 of Constitution or Supreme Court (SC) of India under Article 32 of Constitution. PIL con is brought over a public issue such as breach of public duty or when there is a violation of any fundamental or constitutional right.
3) WHEN CAN PIL BE BROUGHT TO COURT?
Supreme Court has also provided some guidelines under which PIL can be brought to court mentioned as under:
1. When there is a violation of basic Fundamental or Human Rights.
2. When it is related to any govt. policy or when the conduct of govt. or administration is involved.
3. When one needs to compel govt. authority e.g. municipal corporations to perform their duty.
4. When there is an injury to any larger section of the population.
5. When there is need to enforce any public duty and observance of the constitutional law or legal provisions.
4) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WRIT PETITION AND PIL?
A writ petition is normally filed by an individual or institution for their individual grievance while PIL is been filed for public benefit at large.
5) WHAT MATTERS CAN’T BE BROUGHT UNDER PIL?
The Supreme Court has issued guidelines regarding which matter can’t be entertained, the list is as follows:-
• Landlord-tenant matters
• Service matters
• Matters related to pension and gratuity
• Complaints against Central and State government departments and Local Bodies except those related to items 1 to 10 mentioned in the list of guidelines
• Admission to medical and other educational institutions
• Petitions for early hearing of cases pending in High Court or subordinate courts etc.