Public Interest Litigation is directly filed by an individual or group of people in the court. The petition is accepted by the court only if there is interest of large public involved. Generally, PILs are filed to protect the fundamental and constitutional rights whose interest vested in masses, these PILs can be filed on High Court and Supreme Court only. PILs on other matters can be filed in Sessions Court but if the Session Judge feels that matter needs a High Court or Supreme Court judge- the Sessions Court will dismiss the case.
IMPORTANCE OF PIL
- Public interest litigation gives a wider description to the right to equality, life and personality which is guaranteed under part III of the Constitution of India.
- It has introduced some kinds of reliefs or remedies under the writ jurisdiction.
- It also functions as an effective instrument for changes in the society or social welfare.
- Through public interest litigation, any public or person can seek remedy on behalf of the oppressed class by introducing a PIL.
FILING OF PIL
For filing of PIL, the court must be satisfied that the writ petition fulfils some basic needs for PIL as the letter is addressed by the aggrieved person, public spirited individual and a social action group for the enforcement of legal or Constitutional rights to any person who are not able to approach the court for redress. Any citizen can file a public case by filing a petition:-
- Under Art 32 of the Indian Constitution, in the Supreme court.
- Under Art 226 of the Indian Constitution, in the High court.
- Under sec. 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in the court of Magistrate.
REPLY TO PIL
It is to be noted that the PIL can be filed against government only and not an individual. A PIL may be filed against state government, central government, municipal authority not any private party. But, private person may be included in PIL as ‘respondent’ after concerned of state authority. The authority against whom the PIL is filed is bound to reply to the PIL. If there is any delay in replying then fine is imposed by the court. In a recent case, an authority is fined for failing to file a reply. The facts of the case are:-
- A PIL was filed by an advocate, under Section 91 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), seeks action against the menace which poses a risk to commuters on Panchkula roads due to negligence of the
- He said the plea was filed last year after the authorities failed to make Panchkula free from stray cattle by the said deadline. He said that the authorities has set a new deadline for the task, but to no avail.
- After that the court had issued notices to Haryana chief secretary, Panchkula deputy commissioner, municipal corporation (MC) commissioner, mayor and Haryana director general of police (GDP) over the PIL.
- The chief secretary’s office attorney, who has also not filed a reply in the matter, said they will file the same reply as given by the Panchkula MC.
- He added last year, a reply was filed on behalf of MC commissioner, supplemented by a report on action taken on stray cattle, recarpeting of roads, stray dogs and illegal hoardings on the roadsides.
- The MC had submitted that all the existing six gaushalas had refused to accommodate any more stray cattle as they were full to capacity. The MC had also attached copies of letters received from six gaushalas corroborating it. On the other hand, the work for a new cow shelter, with the capacity to house 1,000 bovines, to be constructed at Sukhdarshanpur village in Barwala here, is still under process.
- In its judgment, the court imposed Rs.500 fine on the Haryana Urban Local Bodies (ULB) department for failing to file a reply to the PIL even after six days of hearing.
- Besides directing the ULB to pay the fine to the Director Legal Services Authority, the court of additional civil judge gave a final opportunity to the department to file a reply.
This post is written by Dipti Prakash of Punjab University. For more info on subject, please dial 99888-17966.