Public Interest Litigation (PIL) under Article 32 in India

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) under Article 32 in India

Introduction

Public interest litigation (PIL) is an important tool of law for bringing about social change. It is used to highlight violations of basic human rights and bring justice within the reach of poor and ignorant masses who constitute the vast majority of population in developing country such as India.

Public interest litigation (PIL) is basically a litigation filed in the Supreme Court or High Court by any public spirited individual, who approaches the court to seek legal redress for a group of people suffering from injustice.

Public interest litigation (PIL) is basically a litigation filed in the Supreme Court or High Court by any public spirited individual, who approaches the court to seek legal redress for a group of people suffering from injustice.

PIL is an instrument of social change. In India, it has been used as an instrument of social justice and greater access to justice. It also serves as an instrument of public interest since it involves matters relating to large sections of society which are not being heard by other means of resolution such as administrative agencies or legislative bodies.

The first use of PIL was made by Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of S.P Gupta Vs Union of India.

The first use of PIL was made by Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of S.P Gupta Vs Union of India on September 5, 1971. The case was about the rights of the poor and it was filed in Supreme Court. It is one of the most important cases because it paved way for all future PILs to be filed by individuals or groups against government bodies or public entities which are acting against their interests.

Initially PIL was meant for the poor and socially disadvantaged people who did not have access to justice, but now can be filed by any citizen of India.

Before you file a PIL, it is important to understand what it is and how it works. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a legal proceeding filed in the Supreme Court of India by any citizen of India. It can be filed on behalf of any individual or group, who may not have access to justice due to avaricious rich people, political bias or lack of proper channels for redressal. The purpose of PIL is to bring justice within the reach of poor and socially disadvantaged people who constitute the vast majority of population in developing country such as India; therefore PILs are seen as an effective means for protecting fundamental rights enshrined under Articles 14(1), 19(1)(g), 21(1) etc., which cannot always be secured through ordinary litigation at lower levels like High Courts/Courts below them before they reach Supreme Court itself.”

PILs are especially used for highlighting violations of basic human rights. These include the right to life, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, personal liberty and due process. The complaint filed before a court can be done on any one of these grounds or all together.

The Supreme Court has also made it clear that any person can file a PIL against any government policy or law except those which are expressly covered by Article 14 (Right to Freedom).

The purpose of PIL is to bring justice within the reach of poor and ignorant masses who constitute the vast majority of population in developing country such as India.

The purpose of PIL is to bring justice within the reach of poor and ignorant masses who constitute the vast majority of population in developing country such as India. PILs are filed by individuals or organizations for relief from illegal acts, unconstitutional laws or executive decisions that violate rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19-A and 31(1). The petitioners seek relief through an intervention in the court of law.

In order to succeed in these cases, it is important to have strong evidence which can be presented before any court because if you do not have any evidence then your case will fail at every step until finally you lose hope altogether!

Article 32 empowers the Supreme Court to enforce Fundamental rights, which is called constitutional remedy.

Article 32 is a constitutional remedy. It can be used by any person who is aggrieved by violation of his/her fundamental rights, or by violation of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution, or who has reason to believe that such a violation is likely to take place.

The Supreme Court has the power to enforce Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Part III on its own initiative or on an application made by any citizen or group of citizens seeking relief against an act committed in respect thereof without waiting for any direction from Parliament or State Legislature.

A writ petition can be filed under Article 32 or Article 226 by an affected person, while Article 32 alone is available to an aggrieved person and this power can be exercised by a writ petition seeking redressal of his grievance.

A writ petition can be filed under Article 32 or Article 226 by an affected person, while Article 32 alone is available to an aggrieved person and this power can be exercised by a writ petition seeking redressal of his grievance.

The Supreme Court has held that if the State refuses to grant leave or exemption from duty or taxes, then it must be given reasons why it has not done so. However, in such cases where no denial of leave/exemption had been made and no order was passed by any authority against the party filing the writ petition, then it may not have been necessary for him/her to approach High Court for making observations on record regarding denial of leave & exemption etc., as these observations would only serve as guidepost as far as future proceedings are concerned and would not form part thereof

In matters involving public interest, any public-spirited individual may move an application under Article 32 on behalf of those whose rights are infringed or are likely to be infringed.

“Public interest” has been defined by a Supreme Court judgment to mean any matter involving public importance or benefit, including the following:

  • The interests of national security, defence and foreign affairs;
  • Compliance with law;
  • Preventing or remedying an infringement of any right under Article 19(1)(a), (b) and (c);
  • Protecting life and limb against violence caused by others;

The application can be filed by any person who would like to seek redressal in such matters as also those who may have been affected by an action taken by Government department/agency/corporation etc., which is not only illegal but also violative of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14-20 & 21 respectively.”

Thus, a petition moved under this article shall be considered and disposed off at appropriate stage itself as a public interest litigation, if found suitable.

The Supreme Court can issue directions or orders for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution.

A petition moved under this article shall be considered and disposed off at appropriate stage itself as a public interest litigation, if found suitable.

Takeaway:

The takeaway from this article is that the Indian judiciary has a long history of taking public interest litigations seriously. In fact, it has become one of the most important tools that can be used by social activists and citizens to create change in society.

In addition, there are several other reasons why you should consider filing a PIL as an individual citizen or through your organization. For example:

  • You may want to file a complaint about an issue at work or college (e.g., if someone harasses you).
  • You may have concerns about how your government works or fails at some aspect(s) of governance (e..g., corruption).

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you to understand the importance of public interest litigation, and why it is necessary in our country today.

 

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