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Public Interest Litigation in India: What you should know?

IamCheated.com Research Team | November 08, 2019  3:57:pm

Public Interest Litigation in India: What you should know?

What is PIL?

Public Interest Litigation or PIL is litigation for any public interest. If you are confused by the word litigation, it means legal action. Public Interest Litigation is basically a legal action taken to protect public interest, by a public spirited person.

PIL seeks to advance the cause of disadvantaged groups or individuals. This is a way of using the law to effect a social change.

It can be introduced in the court of law, not just by the aggrieved party or a private party, but by the court itself. It is not necessary for the aggrieved party (victim of violation), to personally approach the court, for the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction.

When can you file PIL?

  • If religious or basic fundamental rights are violated.
  • If there is violation of human rights of the poor.
  • If you want to compel the Municipal Authorities to perform a public duty.
  • For the conduct of Government Policy.

Any public spirited citizen can approach the court for a public cause. He just has to file a petition in:

  • Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution.
  • High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.
  • Court of Magistrate under Section 133.

Who can file a PIL?

You or any Indian citizen can file a PIL. The purpose should be for a larger public concern and not for private interest. The Court would take cognizance of the matter if it’s of utmost public importance.

When to file a PIL?

It would be wise to give time for the opposite party to come up with a reasonable response, before filing a PIL. Let’s say you seek government action on a certain issue. Bring this to the knowledge of the government officials and give them a few months to respond. If they fail to respond, then go for a PIL.

How to file a PIL?

  • Do a thorough research before filing the PIL. Understand the consequences of the PIL and consult all affected groups.
  • After you decide to file a PIL, collect relevant documentation and information to support your case.
  • You could argue the case in-person or avail the services of an advocate.
  • Once you have the PIL copy and have the intention to file it with the High Court, simply submit 2 copies of the petition with the court.
  • A copy of the petition must be served in advance to each respondent. Proof of serving the copy to the respondents must be affixed in the petition.
  • If the PIL is filed in the Supreme Court, 5 copies of the petition must be filed.

Cost of filing the PIL:

The PIL is really cheap compared to other court cases. You have to pay a court fee of just Rs 50.

Which cases cannot be filed under PIL?

  • The landlord-tenant matters and also service matters.
  • Matters concerning pension and gratuity as well as admission to medical and educational institutions.
  • You cannot file a petition for early hearing of cases in the High Court.

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