Public Interest Litigation: A Fight for Justice

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on May 30, 2011

Life is a competition ever since a child is born. Every person has to compete to survive, progress and to have a respectable life. People in poorer and developing countries have to struggle even to get basic necessities of life like food, water, shelter, clothes etc. Above all this, power is concentrated in the hands of a few businessmen, organisations etc who misuse their authority and take advantage of the misery of the destitute. So suppressed are the poor, that they can’t even raise their voices against these atrocities. Thus, to protect these poor people from atrocities and crimes by powerful people, there is one tool- Public Interest Litigation.


Public Interest Litigation

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a process or tool where any citizen or person from public can initiate legal proceedings on behalf of poor person who is unable to move to court on his own, owing to his poverty. Poor people often end up facing the wrath of a few powerful organisations or people, who easily manipulate and influence people in suppressing the poor. With the inability to fight these atrocities, the poor end up suffering and are unable to fight. This is where PIL provides support and strength to the poor.


The apex court in India, the Supreme Court, has permitted citizens to help enforce legal and constitutional rights of the poor by its means of Judicial control. If a citizen sees or believes that certain people of administration, business organisations etc are misusing their authority and taking advantage of the poor, then he can file litigation against them.


Public Interest Litigation aims at protecting the basic rights of an individual. A poor person, who doesn’t have the money or knowledge to raise his voice against corrupt and criminal people, is thus benefitted by PIL's. PIL's stand up for protection of the poor. Abolition of child labor in many business organisations, which employ children and force them to work in inhuman conditions without proper wages, can come under PIL. Citizens can file a PIL against atrocities on women who are forced to work in adverse situations. Also, PIL's can also be filed against inappropriate land acquisition by builders, who force the people out without proper compensation or provision for jobs.


Public Interest Litigations are extremely critical as it would help not only protecting the poor, but would also help in reducing the misuse and abuse of power. Since powerful people have the money and resources to manipulate and influence authorities, they usually escape scott-free. Thus, pressure from PIL's against misuse of authority would help bring down these crimes drastically.


However, courts have to study, understand and analyze these PIL's also so as to make sure it’s  not for any personal motive or political mileage or private profit. If the court genuinely feels that the basic rights of a poor person are being violated, it can take necessary actions to protect them.


Despite being an effective tool for the safety and protection of the poor, PIL's are also criticized. Since PIL's can be filed by any citizen, it had led to the courts being flooded with litigation which has in turn led to the accumulation of cases. PIL's have definitely over burdened the courts. Apart from this, it has led to conflicts between Legislature Judiciary and Executive, where courts have raised questions on the functioning, authority and responsibility of the administration.


The biggest advantage of Public Interest Litigation is that is has helped the poor and destitute to secure justice. Apart from this, it has also helped in cleaning corrupt administration by exposing scams and taking action against guilty. Thus, responsible citizens, by filing Public Interest Litigations, can  ensure that a poor person isn't suppressed and pushed to the corner against the evil and corrupt forces.

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