What is the procedure for filing a PIL?


I want to file PIL. What is the procedure for filing a PIL?

Answers (1)


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Public interest Litigation“, in simple words, 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. Although, the main and only focus of such litigation is “Public Interest” there are various areas where a PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION can be filed.

PROCEDURE TO FILE A PIL IN THE HIGH COURT

Any public spirited citizen can move/approach the court for the public cause (in the interests of the public or public welfare) by filing a petition:
1.    In Supreme Court under Art.32 of the Constitution;
2.    In High Court under Art.226 of the Constitution; and
3.    In the Court of Magistrate under Sec.133, Cr. P.C.

With the view to regulate the abuse of PIL the apex court it has framed certain guidelines (to govern the management and disposal of PILs.) The court must be careful to see that the petitioner who approaches it is acting bona fide and not for personal gain, private profit or political or other oblique considerations. The court should not allow its process to be abused by politicians and others to delay legitimate administrative action or to gain political objectives.

At present, the court can treat a letter as a writ petition and take action upon it. But, it is not every letter which may be treated as a writ petition by the court. The court would be justified in treating the letter as a writ petition only in the following cases-
(i) It is only where the letter is addressed by an aggrieved person or
(ii) A public spirited individual or
(iii) A social action group for enforcement of the constitutional or the legal rights of a person in custody or of a class or group of persons who by reason of poverty, disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position find it difficult to approach the court for redress.

Even though it is very much essential to curb the misuse and abuse of PIL, any move by the government to regulate the PIL results in widespread protests from those who are not aware of its abuse and equate any form of regulation with erosion of their fundamental rights. Under these circumstances the Supreme Court of India is required to step in by incorporating safe guards provided by the Civil Procedure Code in matters of stay orders /injunctions in the arena of PIL.

PIL is a tool in hands of public spirited citizens who have a good motive behind the PIL and to prevent it from becoming a weapon in the hands of those litigants who want to either misuse this concept for either commercial gain or publicity the apex court has time and again laid down various guidelines and by imposing costs on the frivolous public interest litigation the courts have only strengthened their stance.


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