Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Public Interest Litigation - an Overview


DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS BASED ON A LEGAL TOPIC - A SUMMARY OF A VERY VAST SUBJECT MATTER IN ITS SHORTEST POSSIBLE FORM. THOSE WHO DO NOT WISH TO READ IT, CAN SKIP THE CONTENT AND READ THE POST SCRIPT OF THIS POST.

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:

1) There must be a public injury and public wrong caused by the wrongful act or omission of the state or public authority.

2) 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.

3) 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


PS: THOSE WHO HAVE SKIPPED THE POST AND ARE READING ONLY THIS POST SCRIPT; PLEASE NOTE THAT WE LAWYERS ARE BENEFITED BECAUSE OF YOU. YOU CAN PAY US THE CONSULTATION FEES FOR OBTAINING THE INFORMATION MENTIONED HEREIN ABOVE.

PPS: KINDLY HIRE ME AS YOUR LAWYER IF YOU ARE STILL NOT GOING TO READ THIS POST.

51 comments:

  1. First things first....smiled broad reading the PS and PPS (only smiled as I am in a technical training and the instructor is actually looking at me as I type this)

    I did read the entire post, but would still hire you if in case. :-D

    Thank you for this wonderful information. I have just a doubt. In India, common man, few times lawyers; file suit against film actresses for posing in skimpy outfits, for attending a public function in unacceptable dresses as such....what do these sorts fall under? Just curious because I thought PIL can be filed to redress public wrong against anyone; but you mentioned that it should be only against the state.

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  2. @ Insignia, I am glad you liked the PS and PPS, and even more glad that I am going to be your lawyer..:) (do I need to wish u good luck in advance? :P)

    the law says that a PIL cannot be filed against the private party. However, “Private party” can be included in the PIL as “Respondent”, after making concerned state authority, a party. for eg, you can file a case against the board of film sensors, and the producer/actress - both these parties. but you cannot file a suit only against the private party.

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  3. This is wonderful info...thanks for sharing. See, there are so many such facilities or powers which a citizen has and should be aware of, but arent. Keep informing us more. great to have a lawyer friend. Thanks buddy.:)

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  4. hey yeah... i had read about PIL thing when there was a PIL filed against a animated film...

    the case was not meant to win, but to disrupt the winning.

    Nice info, I do need lawyer services for my work, but currently I have a contract with a local law firm. Will get in touch wid you soon.

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  5. Btw... would like 2 read more about 'tort' i am sure u r not a 'tort lawyer' but that part always interested me...:D pesa pesa pesa..

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  6. About the PS and the PPS, I just read the entire text and did not understand a word of it.

    I don't believe in the Indian Justice system anyways. I have a case going on in a Delhi court and it seems that the case will continue even after the universe is finished. Indian courts are usually a mockery of justice. No offense to you.

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  7. Thanks Neha for the explanation :-).

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  8. Thats informative (improved my knowledge a Wee bit)

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  9. informative post..neha ji all the best yaar...heard heavy rains in amchi mumbai..tc.

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  10. PIL was made popular in cochin by a guy named Nawab Rajendran. He used to file PIL after PIL, had no home( I think) because you could always see him at places of rush. The city loved albeit curiously. He died couple of years ago.
    What do you deal- civil or criminal, just in case I have a case and have to retain you:)

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  11. btw..nehaji..u like chocolates?! ok forget london one yar..when i meet u next month wil buy for u kitkat at apna bazar vashi..heheh.:)

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  12. Thank you for the inputs. gives clarity on a few things that i always thought i would never find an answer !

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  13. @ ZB, thanks buddy...I am glad you liked the post...it is necessary to have this basic knowledge of law, but I am usually drafting all law related agreements, so I prefer not to write posts on these topics very frequently...but will keep posting more on this :))

    @sid, we all have heard about PIL at some stage, but don't know the meaning of it...thus this post to give a general idea of the same..i will definitely write a post on torts...but r u looking for a specific topic there? as tort is really vast, as we keep doing wrongs all our lives :)

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  14. @ Ramit, this post is indeed very general and simple, I cant make it more simple..n about your case, well it is natural not to believe in our judicial system. but until we all change our attitude towards it, things will never change either..

    @ Insignia, anytime..I am glad you asked a question..it helped me to extend my post..:)

    @ Haddock, thanks..i am glad you found this informative :)

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  15. Helped me to clarify a few doubts Neha.Great post. You won't believe we were discussing PILs and the corruption in the judiciary (Sorry, didnt mean you) at home just a few hours ago. The Manu Sharma parole started all the discussion.
    Great profile pic. You are looking very glamorous in the white saree!

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  16. @ R. Ramesh-ji, yeah rain was bad, but now things are fine with no cyclone..
    n thank u for kitkat...I will have tht tomo itself...y to wait for a month na :)

    @ Holy Lama, while in college, we used to curse a guy called M. C. Mehta, for he was one of the persons who filed many PILs..

    I deal in corporate matters, but assistant will be provided in all the matters whenever you need any :))

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  17. @ Kavi, I am glad you found this useful :)

    @ Aparna, thank you for your comments and compliments..it is a known fact that our judicial system is very corrupt, and it is sad...criminals are roaming around free making a big joke outta the whole thing..

    the saree pic is one of my favourites too...thanks again :))

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  18. Very informative post. Excellent. In USA also, there is something similar to PIL in India. In addition, here every state has got PIRG (Public Interest Research Group). It is an advocate for the public interest. When consumers are cheated, or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, PIRG speaks up and takes action. In each state, this group consists of policy analysts and lawyers. Is there any such organization in India?

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  19. That was very informative. I did not know anything about it :)

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  20. A very informative post. Given our history of corruption and inefficiencies few PIL successes like the Delhi High Court's ruling on diesel buses are heartening. It would help if you wrote a follow-up with briefs on major PIL succeses or failures -- I remember there was something PIL vs. Class Action kinds that forced us to go to NY against Union Carbide in the Bhopal gas tragedy ?

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  21. Neha ji, for the justice system to be believed in, the !@#$%^&* judges have to start doing some more work and some less bribes.

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  22. Very useful information... Hey you look gorgeous in sari... Very beautiful picture...

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  23. Very useful information.. Hey you look gorgeous in sari.. very beautiful picture..

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  24. very informative post. Thnx for sharing the info.

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  25. Couldn't help laughing after reading PS and PPS. :D I first read them and then went back and read the entire post. :-)
    Very informative I should say. I knew one or two things about PIL, but not in such detail. Thanks. :-)

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  26. information is wealth !!!
    thanks neha !

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  27. thank you all for your wonderful comments...I am really tied up for this week, so will not be able to reply to your comments individually. But I promise to do so at the earliest.

    @ SG, there are Public Interest activists here in India, who usually file cases against the authorities mentioned herein above. will provide you with some more info (in brief ;)) soon..

    @ Madhu, case laws i will for sure e-mail you as I don't know many will understand or not. kindly leave your mail id as a comment. I won't publish it. I will reply to the rest of the comment soon.

    thank u. :))

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  28. well I must say that I dint read your main post..
    but u seem to be a very good lawyer to me..
    :P

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  29. Intially I read the first and last lines only, but I when I read the first comment from insignia, I knew I would be interested and read the whole part of it. I didn't understand what a private body means, does it mean like a private firm not under the control of the government?

    As another comment stated, Indian judiciary system just sucks. It takes ages for any case to get solved, I have seen many cases of the above being true. At least, the younger blood should do something to wipe that name off.

    I would hire as my lawyer if I ever publish a book, promise!

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  30. THis is a very informative post.. although i dont think i will ever use or be able to use these legal words in the right context, they are added information.. im glad to learn


    Work from home India

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  31. Hi Neha,

    Its a revisit to D D Basu and other polity books....
    Good compilation.
    I do appreciate u for creating awareness.....

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  32. This was a great piece of information, Neha. Thanks for sharing. However, I do wonder, has the law benefitted the down and trodden with this law?
    And by the way, I would hire you anytime:)

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  33. Sure Neha.. yu are the only buddy Lawyer i can talk into..and yeah FYI yur law posts never bore me..as am quite very into it !! cya
    and sry for not being at yur space lately :(

    HaRy

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  34. Hi....

    How about throwing gyan on Bail and Parole ?

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  35. Hey neha tat was infomative,,,and wld buzz you nxt time when sm info required..

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  36. @ Avada, sm, Ramit, Swatantra, Vishal Pore and Priyan, thank you very much for your comments :)

    @ Karthik, the PS and PPS are there so that people realise that sometimes boring things are really helpful :))

    @ RSV, thank you for skipping the post...people like you make us rich...thank u indeed :)

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  37. @ Pawan, I must thank insignia for her comment...I will ask her to post the first comment always :D

    private body means a non-government body...a company in which government does not have any kind of direct or indirect holding..

    cases going on and on, well it is wrong and frustrating, but do you know many lawyers make sure that the case keeps getting postponed so that his client can move freely? this thing keeps delaying other cases too...money is what most need..thanks for the promise...I now for sure have one client in a few years or maybe sooner? :))

    @ workhard, lawyers will use the legal terms...but it is important for us to have the basic knowledge :)

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  38. @ Mahesh Kalaal, revisit to D.D. Basu - are/were you a law student? I am glad you liked the post..

    I don't have a criminal practice, so certain matters like bail and parole, divorce (RAMIT'S QUERY) etc. are different in law books and different in practice..so I won't be the right person to write a post on the same...any other general topic i may take up, but not so soon...whole day I do work relating to law, so blog is my stress buster, can't see the stress here too :D


    @ Sweet nothings, welcome here..thank you for your comments...u can contact me on this blog anytime :)

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  39. @ Panorama, there are few social activists who have not lost their moral and they help those people...I would love to have u as my client when you buy a property in India..:)))

    @ Hary, I am glad to know that the law posts don't seem boring to u...

    I know you are a busy person...no need to feel sorry for that :)

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  40. Very interesting....I would like to know one thing can we as public file a case against a govt. authority if they fail to provide the promised service against a hefty charge.I am talking about BSNL DATA CARD service providers here...in spite of paying them regularly they just pull off their services at any given time for 4-5 days by giving an excuse server down....grrrrrr.
    I think these kind of post helps us being aware of certain beneficial laws in public interest,i wish our schools had a basic course teaching our kids a little about law-system of our country(just hulka-fulka stuff).

    You as a my lawyer ....a blessing !!

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  41. @ Kavita, the excuse they are giving cannot be challenged as it is a genuine problem - they can prove this easily. if they are over-charging you, or cheating you; then yes, a PIL can be filed.

    when I had a post on Domestic Violence act, that time I had replied the same thing to Aparna's comment that children should be given basic legal knowledge in school itself...only basic so that they at least know what is legally right and wrong...

    I am glad you liked the post...and wow for that last line...:)))

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  42. Sweetheart, some people do read the whole post....
    Skip over to Blog Adda to find out!!
    You have been PICKED!! :D

    P.S. What do we call this now?? ;)

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  43. Is every one thinking what I am thinking??? :O
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    Damn, what a pretty lawyer!!

    :D

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  44. Guria Darling, thanks for, well, does compliment word sound good for the blogadda pic comment? ummmm, lemme not disclose tht here :P

    and pretty lawyer? thank u thank u :D

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  45. Good one... thanks for this yaar! I agree with Guria... "pretty lawyer"... court-room mein to sab ki "watt" lag jaati hogi! ;) ;)

    He he! Ok... I guess itna maska kafi hoga... to motivate u to write something abt using Consumer Act to our benefit. :p

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  46. wow thats a lovely piece of information....your a very different lawyer..n i appreciate the effort of yours to make all aware of it.

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  47. Hi Neha
    I stumbled, serendipitously, upon your nicely written summary on PIL while browsing the net to find information about PIL. Thanks for the summary.
    I was searching the net looking to find general information on PIL(like it's origin, cases etc); and in particular I was searching for an PIL filled by PUCL few years ago regarding the case of 'Negative vote'.
    I wish to mention that I am not a lawyer, but rather PhD (Physics) student from Detroit, who is very interested in the happening and welfare of our country.

    All the very best with your law profession.
    Regards
    Venkatesh (ventak@gmail.com)

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  48. Hi Neha,

    Nicely summarised post. Me and friends have put up a forum at www.pil-india.com for discussion about PILs.
    It would certainly be very helpful if you can have a look and give some inputs. I am also putting in a link to this article. Hope its fine with you.

    thanks,
    saurabh

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  49. Hi Neha! :) Googled for "how to file PIL in india" and landed here. Read a few of the recent posts. Really like your blog :D Okay, I have a question to ask and it'll be really nice of you if you answer :) Thanks. I was concerned about the water board's tanks that waste huge amounts of water and wet the roads wherever they go. I'm talking of Delhi. If you're in delhi..you MUST have seen that!! And the other day, i was passing by the water board's office and saw that water was overflowing from some thing they'd kept there. Right outside the office. Couldn't take in the full view BUT damn!! wastage of water!!! :O :O Really REALLY want to do something about this. Tell me, can a PIL be filed in this case?? Thanks a lot ya :)

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  50. hi neha thanks for the info...I wanted to know about it in a layman language and this post made it clear to me :)

    Thanks a lot...tu law sikhayegi toh main teri student banoongi pakka :)

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