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Pubic Interest Litigation or PIL, in Indian Law, means litigation for the aim of the protection of public interest. it's litigation primarily introduced during a court of law, not by the aggrieved party but by the court itself or by the other private party. it's not important for the practice of the court’s jurisdiction, that the one that is that the victim of the violation of his or her right should personally come to the court. Public Interest Litigation is that the right given to the general public by courts through broad interpretation .

There are some cases that occur when the victim doesn't have the required resources to start out litigation or his freedom to approach court has been suppressed or encroached upon. during this article, we'll discuss PIL and the way it works with the assistance of some landmark cases.

Meaning of Public Interest Litigation

Talking about the meaning of Public Interest Litigation, in simple words it means, litigation filed during a court of law, for the protection of public interest, like pollution, terrorism, road safety, constructional hazards, etc.

Public interest litigation isn't defined in any statute or in any act. it's been interpreted by judges only to think about the intent of the general public at large. However, the most and only focus of such litigation is merely Public Interest there are various areas where Public interest litigation are often filed.

For e.g.

- Violation of basic human rights of the citizens.

- Content or conduct of state policy

- Persuade municipal authorities to perform a public duty.

Legal History Of PIL

We can say that the Indian PIL is that the improved version of the PIL of the U.S.A. As per the Ford Foundation of the U.S.A., Public interest law is that the name that has recently been given to efforts that provide representation to previously non-presented groups and interests before the court.

Justice P.N. Bhagwati was given the concept of PIL as follows:-

Justice P.N. Bhagwati said that when there's a legal wrong or a wrong is caused to a private or to a specific class of persons by reason of some quite violation of any constitutional or right or any burden is imposed in contravention of any constitutional or legal provisions or without the authority of law or any such legal wrong or wrong or illegal burden is threatened and such person or a specific class of persons by reason of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position unable to travel to the court for justice or remedy, any member of the general public can file an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ within the supreme court under Article 226 and just in case any breach of fundamental rights of such persons or a specific class of persons, during this court under Article 32 seeking judicial redress for the legal wrong or wrong caused to such person or determinate class of persons.

Some Important Case Laws

The first reported case of PIL in 1979 supported the inhuman conditions of prisons and under-trial prisoners. In Hussainara Khatoon v. the State of Bihar, the PIL was filed by an advocate on the idea of the item published within the Indian Express, that specialize in the plight of thousands of undertrial prisoners languishing in various jails in Bihar. These proceedings resulted within the release of quite 40,000 undertrial prisoners. the proper to speedy justice also emerged as a basic fundamental right that had been denied to those prisoners for a really long period of your time . an equivalent set pattern was utilized in subsequent cases.

A completely new era of the PIL movement was headed by Justice P.N. Bhagawati within the case of S.P. Gupta v. Union of India. during this case, it had been decided that any member of the general public or social policy group acting bonafide can invoke the Writ Jurisdiction of the High Courts or the Supreme Court seeking redressal against violation of legal or constitutional rights of an individual who thanks to social or economic or the other disability cannot approach the Court. By this judgment, PIL gained a reputation as an important weapon for the enforcement of certain public duties where executed in action or mislead resulted publicly injury. And as a result, now, any citizen of India or any consumer groups or social policy groups can approach the Supreme Court of the country seeking legal remedies altogether cases where the interests of the overall public or a neighborhood of the general public are at stake.

In 1981 the case of Anil Yadav v. the State of Bihar exposed the brutalities of the Police. A newspaper report claimed that about 33 suspected criminals at that point were blinded by the police in Bihar by simply putting the acid into their eyes. Through certain interim orders, Supreme Court directed the government to present the blinded men to Delhi for his or her medical treatment. It also made sure of the speedy prosecution of the guilty policemen. The court also gave the concept of the proper to free legal aid as a fundamental right of each accused.

In Citizen for Democracy v. State of Assam, the S. C. declared that the handcuffs and other sorts of fetters shall not be forced upon a prisoner while lodged in jail or while in transport or transit from one jail to a different or to the court or back.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PIL

Advantages of PIL

1. publicly Interest Litigation (PIL) vigilant citizens of the country can find a cheap legal remedy because there's only a nominal fixed court fee applicable during this .

2. With the assistance of the so-called PIL, the litigants can focus attention on and achieve results concerning larger public issues, especially within the fields of human rights, consumer welfare, and therefore the environment.

Disadvantages of PIL

1. However, the event of PIL has also uncovered its pitfalls and disadvantages . As a result, the Supreme Court itself has been duty-bound to get down certain guidelines to control the management and disposal of PILs. and therefore the misuse of PIL is additionally increasing besides its extended and multifaceted use.

2. the incorrect use of PIL has become more of a priority than its use and genuine causes either decreasing to the background or began to be viewed with the certain doubts created by spurious causes mooted by privately motivated interests within the disguise of the so-called public interests.


Public Interest Litigation acts as an important instrument to bring social change in society. it's working for the welfare of each section of society. it is the sword of everyone used just for taking justice. The finding of this legitimate instrument proved beneficial for a developing country like India. Public Interest Litigation has been used as a technique to combat the atrocities prevailing in society. It's an institutional method towards the welfare of the needy class of society. Talking a few case, in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, Supreme Court held for the discharge of bonded laborers. In Murli S. Dogra v. Union of India, the Supreme Court banned smoking publicly places. during a landmark judgment of Delhi Domestic Working Women's Forum v. Union of India, Supreme Court issued guidelines for rehabilitation and compensation for the rape of working women. In Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme court has laid down exhaustive guidelines for preventing harassment of working women in situ of their work. With these cases and examples, we will understand the importance and therefore the relevance of PIL in our country.

By Mridul Pareek

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