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How To File A PIL In India| Public Interest Litigation Procedure

Published on 06 Feb 2019 by Shivi

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India means a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of certain rights that are in the interest of the public where the class of community may or may not have pecuniary interest or any other interest by which their legal rights are affected.

Public interest litigation is a legal action seeking for the benefit of the disadvantaged groups of minority or individuals or raising public issues.  PIL is a petition which is filed by an individual or citizen groups or a non-government organization in the court pursuing justice on a problem which has a broader public interest.

Common reasons for which a PIL can be filed include the following:

  • Violation of basic human rights of the poor.
  • Regarding the content or conduct of government policy.
  • Compel municipal authorities to perform a public duty.
  • Violation of religious rights or other basic fundamental rights.

Where To File A PIL In India

Under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, the affected individual has the right to file a PIL in the Supreme Court for the enforcement of rights or duties under the constitution. A PIL can be filed in the Supreme court under Article 32 or before any of the High Courts under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.

Against whom a Public Interest Litigation can be filed

A PIL can be filed against any other authority that comes within the meaning of a ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution. Article 12 of the Indian constitution includes the following:

  • The Government, Central and State.
  • Parliament of India, Legislative Assemblies, Councils of all states and Union Territories.
  • Any local or other authorities within the delimitations of India and controlled directly or indirectly by the government.
  • Other authorities.

READ: Fundamental Duties Of Indian Citizens | Fundamental Duties In India

Procedure Of Filing A Public Interest Litigation In India

It is important to conduct proper research before taking the decision to file a PIL in India. It is recommended to research properly regarding the matter and ensure that the PIL is not filed for a frivolous or unimportant matter. If the subject matter of a PIL is unimportant, the court can reject it.

It is also seen recently that the court impose heavy penalties on people who have wasted time of the courts by presenting PILs with no substance. Therefore, it is better to consult a lawyer in India to know that you have a substantial issue to file a PIL with the Supreme Court or High Court.

A PIL is filed in the same manner as a writ petition filed in the Supreme Court or High Court. If the PIL is filed in a High Court, 2 copies of the petition have to be filed with the court and if the PIL is filed in the Supreme Court, 5 copies of the petition have to be filed.

It is also mandatory to send an advance copy of the PIL to each opposite party and the proof of sending the copy of such PIL has to be attached with the petition. A court fee per respondent has to be paid along with the Public Interest Litigation. The court process in a PIL hearing is the same as that in another case irrespective of its nature. However, during the PIL proceedings, the presiding judge can appoint a court commissioner to investigate the matter in question, if required.

The rise in the number of PILs in India is a direct result of judicial activism. It has become a weapon to deal with public issues before the court plays an important role in protecting the fundamental rights of the public as a whole.

Legistify connects you with top lawyers in India who can help in filing a PIL in India online. Consult the best lawyers near you by sending us an email at [email protected] or calling us at 846-883-3013.



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