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PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION

Aryaman Shivendra Pratap, 11:30 PM IST

What is a PIL?

Public interest litigation (PIL) refers to the litigation taken to secure public interest involving minority or disadvantaged groups or individuals are raised through litigation or legal proceedings.

Steps to file a PIL

Step 1- Filing 

  1. A PIL is filled in the same manner as a writ petition is filed in the Supreme Court under article 32 or in High Court article 226.
  2. High court: If a PIL is filed in the High Court, then two copies of the petition have to be filed.
  3. Supreme Court: If the PIL is to be filed in the Supreme Court, then the petition is to be filed in five sets (4+1).
  4. It is also essential to serve an advance copy of the petition to each the respondent/opposite party and the proof of the same needs to be attached along with the petition.

ALSO READ: HOW TO FILE ONLINE CYBER COMPLAINT

Step 2- Procedure

  1. Court fee: A court fees of Rs. 50 per respondent (and if more than one respondent, each has to pay Rs. 50) needs to be attached along with the petition. 
  2. The proceedings in a PIL hearing are carried out in the same way as in another case irrespective of its nature. If however, when the PIL proceedings are ongoing, the presiding judge is of the view that a court commissioner should be appointed to investigate the matter in question like inquiry on allegations of pollution being caused, trees being cut among other things, can do the same. After the respondent have duly provided their reply or the petitioner opts for rejoinder, the judge(s) may give his/her decision.
  3. Before a PIL is filed, the petitioner first brings the dispute before the relevant authorities and give them sufficient time to act on it. Even after doing so, no steps are taken to curb such actions, or the petitioner is not satisfied with the response/action, they can file the PIL before the High Court or the Supreme Court.

Against whom a PIL can be filed?

A PIL can be filed against central government, state governments, municipal corporations, and any other authority that comes under the term ‘state’ as it is defined under article 12 of the Indian constitution. Article 12 also includes the following authorities-

  • 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/indirectly by the government.
  • Other authorities
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[…] term writ petition is derived from the English legal system meaning an order issued by a higher court to the lower […]

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