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What is PIL?

Public Interest Litigation plays an important role in order to protect the human rights of the poor, ignored, and oppressed public. It not only promotes the right to equality, life, and personal liberty but also protects them. The main purpose of PIL is to empower the people of the nation to take proper legal action for infringement of their rights. Moreover, it is the power given by the courts to the public through judicial activism.

Public Interest Litigation is a legal action, taken by the public for the enforcement of constitutional & legal rights of a person or group of persons who are socially or economically unable to approach the court for any relief. This legal action can be exercised by an aggrieved person, by another third party, or by the court itself.

PIL follows the traditional rule of “Locus Standi” which states that a person or a victim whose fundamental rights are violated can approach the court through a petition. The concept behind the “Locus Standi” empowers the public, who are socially and economically unable to approach the court.

A PIL can be filed only in the interest of the general public; it may include cases such as pollution, human rights, terrorism, etc. whereas a PIL cannot be entertained to satisfy the petitioners’ personal agenda. Therefore, the person, who files the petition, should prove to the satisfaction of the court that the petition is being filed in the interest of the public.

Who can file a PIL?

Any person who is the citizen of India or a group of a person, or an organization is empowered to file a petition under the concept of PIL. Moreover, any citizen or agency, who is capable to file a petition, can file a petition on behalf of those who cannot or do not have the means to do the same.

Where can we file a PIL?

The PIL can be filed either in the Supreme Court of India or in any High Court where the petitioner resides or where his right is violated. The petition of PIL derives the power from Article 226 and Article 32 of the Constitution of India.

Against whom PIL can be filed?

PIL can be filed against Central Government, or any State Government, or any Municipal Authority, or any other government body for a direction from the court to perform a public duty but it cannot be filed against any private party.

What is the procedure to file a PIL in court?

Any citizen of India or organization can go and knock the door of the court. If a person wants to file a petition for PIL, then he should consult with his lawyer or should take advice from a person having legal knowledge.

Before filing a PIL, it is the duty of the petitioner to research deeply or to collect the shreds of evidence that might help him in the proceedings in the competent Court. If the matter involves many persons, then the petitioner must consult all the persons for deep knowledge on that particular issue.

The petitioner should have all the documents related to the matter for which he intends to file the PIL.

What is the fee for filing a PIL?

Fees for filing a PIL petition are cheaper than the other court cases. The court fee for a PIL petition is Rs. 50/- per respondent, mentioned in the petition, and details of the fees has to be mentioned in the petition.

If a PIL is filed in the High Court, then two copies of the petition should be submitted in the court. Also, an advance copy of the petition has to be sent to each defendant mentioned in the petition, and proof of the same has to be annexed with the PIL.

If the petition is filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, then five copies of the said petition have to be submitted in the Court, and an advance copy of the PIL has to be sent to each respondent mentioned in the petition. Then only the court issues the notice to other respected parties.

If the court is satisfied with the facts of the petition and feels that the petition is in the interest of the public, then only the court admit such a petition. But where the court is unsatisfied with the facts of the petition or feels that it does no good to the public, and then the court has discretionary power to dismiss the petition.

Why is it beneficial for us?

Public Interest Litigation is a judicial reform that focuses on the citizens of the country. It acts as a safeguard to save the rights of a person and also provides a platform to fight for such rights. With the help of the public interest litigation, anyone can fight and seek remedy on behalf of the under-privileged class.

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