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Public Interest Litigation – most of us are aware about this term, but very few know the actual meaning of it. Public Interest Litigation, or popularly known as PIL was started to protect the interest of the public in general. Prior to 1980’s, only the party affected directly due to any wrong doing could seek justice in the court of Law. Any other person or party who was not directly and personally affected could not file a suit. This most of the times resulted into violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution of India; and this rule affected the socially and economically weaker section of the society more. Thus, Supreme Court of India gave all individuals in the country and the newly formed consumer groups or social action groups, an easier access to the law and introduced in their work a broad public interest perspective.
~~ A PIL can be filed when the following conditions are fulfilled:
There must be a public injury and public wrong caused by the wrongful act or omission of the state or public authority.
It is for the enforcement of basic human rights of weaker sections of the community who are downtrodden, ignorant and whose fundamental and constitutional rights have been infringed.
It must not be frivolous litigation by persons having vested interests.
~~Any person can file a PIL provided:
He is a member of the public acting bona fide and having sufficient interest in instituting an action for redressal of public wrong or public injury.
He is not a mere busy body or a meddlesome interloper.
His action is not motivated by personal gain or any other oblique consideration.
~~ Against whom Public Interest Litigation can be filed?
A Public Interest Litigation can be filed against a State/ Central Govt., Municipal Authorities, and not any private party. The term “State” includes:
The Government and Parliament of India
The Government and Legislature of each of the States
All local authorities
Other authorities within the territory of India or under the Government of India.
~~ How to file a PIL?
A PIL may be filed like a write petition. Writ Petition is a request made to government or any other authority like court to pass a written order on the subject matter.
**Information Source: Constitution of India Textbook by D. D. Basu
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