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PIL: Public Interest Litigation or Publicity interest litigation

Author : Laiba khan

Student, B.B.A.,LL.B., II Year, FIMT School of Law, GGSIPU


The expression ‘Public Interest Litigation’ has been borrowed from American jurisprudence, where it was designed to provide legal representation to previously unrepresented groups like the poor, the racial minorities, unorganized consumers, citizens who were passionate about the environmental issues, etc.

Public interest Litigation (PIL) means litigation filed in a court of law, for the protection of “Public Interest”, such as Pollution, Terrorism, Road safety, Constructional hazards etc. Any matter where the interest of public at large is affected can be redressed by filing a Public Interest Litigation in a court of law.

Public interest litigation is not defined in any statute or in any act. It has been interpreted by judges to consider the intent of public at large.

Public interest litigation is the power given to the public by courts through judicial activism. However, the person filing the petition must prove to the satisfaction of the court that the petition is being filed for a public interest and not just as a frivolous litigation by a busy body.

The court can itself take cognizance of the matter and proceed suo motu or cases can commence on the petition of any public spirited individual.

Some of the matters which are entertained under PIL are:

  • fortified Labor matters.

  • disregarded Children.

  • Non-installment of least wages to laborers and misuses of easygoing specialist.

  • monstrosities on ladies.

  • Environmental pollution and disturbance of ecological balance

  • Food corruption.

  • Upkeep of legacy and culture.

How to File a PIL in the Court.

Any resident of India can move the court for public case (upon the interest of public) by documenting a request:

1. Under the Supreme Court, (SC) under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution.

2. Under the High Court, (HC) under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.

3. Under Court of Magistrate under Section 133 of CRPC.

At present, a court can regard a letter as a writ petition and make a move upon it. In such cases, the court must be fulfilled that the writ petition confirms with the companion;

1. Where the letter is tended by the abused person.

2. A public lively individual.

3. A social activity bunch for the implementation of lawful or constitutional rights to any individual who, upon neediness or disability, a can’t towards the court for change

From Public to Publicity: An Analysis

PIL was acquainted in Indian statute to help raise the cause of social justice. shockingly, it has rather become an instrument for individual to use these as either to pick publicity or for political plan.

PILs now days are being utilize as a means to promote bias and common detest in the name of public interest. Filling of saucy cases has brought in the erosion of the sanctity of the PIL system, which has been liable for probably the most dynamic verdicts conveyed by different courts.

Without any strong component to channel real request from paltry. In the absence of any robust mechanism to filter genuine pleas from frivolous pleas known as “publicity interest” or “political interest” litigations, irrational petitions have soared in great numbers. The courts place the onus of curbing the menace on litigants’ moral conscience.

Negligible recording of PIL has come about in included weight legal executive as well as has fundamentally prompted trust this integration in whole exercise. Regardless of whether a paltry request is in the end excused the adjudicator need to invest a great deal on energy in experiencing the supplications and, on most events, hearing the applicant.

Beginning and Evolution of PIL in India: Some Landmark Judgements.

The seeds of idea of public interest litigation were initially planted in India by Justice Krishna Iyer, in 1976 in Mumbai Kamagar Sabha vs. Abdul Thai[1].

The primary announced instance case of PIL was Hussainara Khatoon versus State of Bihar[2] that concentrated on the cruel stage of prisons and under trial prisoners that led to the release of more than 40,000 under trial prisoners. Right to expedient equity developed as a basic essential thing right which had been denied to these prisoners. The similar set example was received in subsequent cases.

Another era of the PIL development was proclaimed by Justice P.N. Bhagwati in the case of S.P. Gupta versus association of India. For this situation it was held that “any individual of the public or social activity bunch acting bonafide” can conjure the Writ Jurisdiction of the High Courts (under article 226) or the Supreme Court (under Article 32) looking for redressal against infringement of legitimate or sacred rights of individual who because of social or financial or any other handicap can’t move to the Court.

By this judgment PIL turned into a strong weapon for the authorization of “public obligations” where official activity or offence brought about public injury. Furthermore, therefore any resident of India or any customer gathering or social activity gathering would can now be able to move towards the supreme court of the nation looking for lawful cues in all situations where the interests of overall population or a segment of the public are in question.

  • Equity Bhagwati did a great deal to guarantee that the idea of PILs was unmistakably articulated. He didn't demand the recognition of procedural details and even rewarded conventional letters from public-disapproved of people as writ petitions.

The Supreme Court in Indian Banks' Association, Bombay and Ors. versus M/s Devkala Consultancy Service and Ors[3] held: - In a suitable case, where the applicant may have moved court to her greatest advantage and for redressal of the individual complaint, the court in promotion of Public Interest may treat it a need to enquire into the situation of the subject of litigation in the interest of equity." Thus, a private interest case can likewise be treated as public interest case.

M.C Mehta versus Association of India[4]: In a Public Interest Litigation brought against Gang water contamination in order to forestall any further contamination of Ganga water. Incomparable Court held that candidate in spite of the fact that not a riparian proprietor is qualified for move the court for the requirement of legal arrangements, as he is the individual interested in ensuring the lives of the individuals who utilize Ganga water.

Veshaka v. Territory of Rajasthan[5]: The judgment of the case perceived inappropriate behavior asan infringement of the major sacred privileges of Article 14, Article 15 and Article 21. The rules likewise coordinated for the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.


The character of the Indian Constitution.

India has a composed constitution which through Part III (Major Rights) and Part IV (Mandate Standards of State Strategy) gives a system to directing relations between the state and its residents and among residents. India has the absolute most dynamic social enactments to be found anyplace on the planet whether it be identifying with fortified work, least wages, land roof, ecological assurance, and so forth. This has made it simpler for the courts to pull up the official when it isn't playing out its obligations in guaranteeing the privileges of the poor according to the tradition that must be adhered to.

The liberal translation of locus standi where any individual can apply to the court for the benefit of the individuals who are monetarily or genuinely unfit to precede it has made a difference.Judges themselves have at times started suo moto activity dependent on paper articles or letters got.

Albeit social and monetary rights given in the Indian Constitution under Part IV are not lawfully enforceable, courts have innovatively perused these into principal rights subsequently making them judicially enforceable. For example, the "right to life" in Article 21 has been extended to incorporate option to free lawful guide, option to live with poise, right to instruction, option to work, opportunity from torment, bar shackles and binding in jails, and so on.

Legal developments to support poor people and underestimated: For example, in the Bandhua Mukti Morcha, the Preeminent Court put the weight of evidence on the respondent expressing it would treat each instance of constrained work as an instance of fortified work except if demonstrated in any case by the business. Essentially, in the Asiad Laborers judgment case, P.N. Bhagwati held that anybody getting not exactly the lowest pay permitted by law can move toward the Incomparable Court legitimately without experiencing the work chief and lower courts.

In PIL situations where the solicitor isn't in a situation to give all the important proof, either in light of the fact that it is voluminous or on the grounds that the gatherings are frail socially or monetarily, courts have selected commissions to gather data on realities and present it before the seat.

Who Can Record a PIL and Against Whom?

Any resident can record a public case by documenting an appeal:

Under Workmanship 32 of the Indian Constitution, in the Preeminent Court.

Under Workmanship 226 of the Indian Constitution, in the High Court.

Under sec. 133 of the Criminal System Code, in the Court of Judge.

Nonetheless, the court must be fulfilled that the Writ request satisfies some fundamental

requirements for PIL as the letter is tended to by the oppressed individual, public lively individual and a social activity bunch for the implementation of legitimate or Sacred rights to any individual.

who can't move toward the court for change.

A Public Interest Litigation can be recorded against a State/Focal Govt., City Specialists, and no private gathering. The meaning of State is equivalent to given under Article 12 of the Constitution and this incorporates the Administrative and Parliament of India and the Administration and the Council of every one of the States and all nearby or different specialists inside the domain of India or heavily influenced by the Legislature of India.


The point of PIL is to provide for the average folks access to the courts to get legitimate review PIL is a significant instrument of social change and for keeping up the Standard of law and quickening the harmony among law and equity.

The first reason for PILs have been to make equity open to poor people and the minimized.

It is a significant instrument to make human rights arrive at the individuals who have been denied rights. It democratizes the entrance of equity to all. Any resident or association who is able can document petitions in the interest of the individuals who can't or don't have the way to do as such It helps in legal observing of state establishments like jails, refuge defensive homes, and soforth. It is a significant device for actualizing the idea of legal audit.Upgraded public interest in legal audit of regulatory activity is guaranteed by the beginning of PILs.

Certain Shortcomings of PIL

PIL activities may once in a while offer ascent to the issue of contending rights. For example, when a court arranges the conclusion of a contaminating industry, the interests of the laborers and their families who are denied of their employment may not be considered by the court.It could prompt overburdening of courts with unimportant PILs by parties with personal stakes. PILs today has been appropriated for corporate, political and individual additions. Today the PIL is not any more constrained to issues of poor people and the mistreated Instances of Legal Exceed by the Legal executive during the time spent taking care of financial or ecological issues can happen through the PILs.

PIL matters concerning the misused and impeded gatherings are pending for a long time.

Excessive postponements in the removal of PIL cases may render many driving decisions just of scholastic worth.


Public Interest Litigation has created surprising outcomes which were unfathomable three

decades prior. Debased reinforced workers, tormented under preliminaries and ladies

detainees, embarrassed detainees of defensive ladies' home, blinded detainees, misused youngsters, poor people, and numerous others have been given alleviation through legal intercession.

The best commitment of PIL has been to upgrade the responsibility of the legislatures towards the human privileges of poor people.

The PIL builds up another statute of the responsibility of the state for protected and legitimate infringement unfavorably influencing the interests of the more fragile components in the network.

In any case, the Legal executive ought to be careful enough in the use of PILs to maintain a

strategic distance from Legal Exceed that are violative of the guideline of Division of Intensity.

Plus, the unimportant PILs with personal stakes must be debilitated to keep its remaining

burden reasonable.

References: [1] Mumbai Kamagar Sabha vs. Abdul Thai (1976) 3 SCC 832. [2] Hussainara Khatoon vs. State of Bihar (1980) 1 SCC 98. [3] Indian Banks Association, Bombay & Ors. vs. M/s Devkala Consultancy Service and Ors (2004) Insc 287. [4] M.C Mehta vs. Union of India (1987) SCR (1) 819. [5] Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997) 6 SCC 241.

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