Sunday, February 3, 2019

What is Public Interest Litigation(PIL)? How to file a PIL



Public interest litigation (PIL) means the legal action commenced in the court of law for the enforcement of "public interest"- such as pollution, Terrorism, constructional hazards etc.

In ordinary cases, it is seen that the victim(aggrieved party), who is affected has to file his case in court. But there is no such condition in filing a PIL. Any person can file a public interest litigation. 

Who can file it


Any Indian citizen can file a PIL. The only condition when filing PIL is that it should be filed with an important public interest, not for personal gain. If the court feels that the public interest litigation filed publicly, then he will take responsibility and appoint a lawyer to handle the matter.

Against whom a PIL can be filed?


A public interest litigation can only be filed against a state / central government, Municipal authorities, and not against a private party.

For example - if there is a factory in Mumbai, which is causing pollution, then the people living nearby, or any other person, can file a public interest litigation against:
▪️Government of Mumbai
▪️State pollution control board, and
▪️Against factors

Where are PIL filed?


▪️ High Court
▪️ Supreme Court.

Court fees


A Court fee of RS 50, per responder (i.e., for each number of the opposite party, the court fees of RS 50) should be affixed it with the petition. 

Procedure of filling PIL


Before filing a PIL, the petitioner should make a thorough investigation of the matter. If the PIL is related to many persons then the petitioner should discuss or consult with all the people. Once a person is decided to file a public interest petition, he should collect all related information and documents to strengthen his case.

If a PIL is filed in a High Court, then two copies of the petition should be filed. Also, an advance copy of the petition should be served to every defendant, i.e. the opposite side, and this proof of service should be affixed in the petition.

If a public interest litigation is filed in the Supreme Court, then the set of (4) + (1) (i.e. 5) sets of petition has to be filed in the court. Respondent is served with the copy only when notice is issued.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has issued a set of PIL guidelines, according to which the following cases will not be allowed as PIL:


(1) Landlord(zamindar) -tenant case.
(2) Regarding service matters and pension and gratuity.
(3) Complaints against
▪️ Central govt. departments
▪️ State govt. departments
▪️ Local bodies
Excluding  those related to item Nos. (1) to (10) (Mention in the list of guidelines) 

(4) entrance to medical and other educational institutions.
(5) Petitions for early hearing of cases undecided in HC and Subordinate Courts

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