What is Public Interest Litigation?
The period of 1970's is considered to be the darkest phase of Constitution because the core essence of Constitution was violated and India's democracy was ailing. During those gloomy days, the judiciary was active, and they developed the idea of Public Interest Litigation, in which a concerned citizen in the larger public interest without locus standi seeks justice with the assistance of judicial activism. It's not that public interest litigation didn't exist before to 1970; it did, but its practical usage was quite constrained. But during this controversial period judge actively participated in the delivery of justice and the judicial active mechanism proliferated, it was mainly because of two great judges namely, Justice V.R Krishna Iyer and Justice P.N. Bhagwati who turned this notion into a revolution in the 1970s.
Matter which are entertained under P.I.L
Public Interest Litigation is aimed to enforce fundamental and other legal rights of people who are poor, vulnerable, unaware of the legal redressal system, or otherwise in a disadvantageous position as a result of their social or economic circumstances. The following are some of the issues that might be contested under the heading of Public Interest Litigation:
Ø Bonded Labour matters
Ø Neglected Children
Ø Non-payment of minimum wages to workers and exploitation of casual workers
Ø Atrocities on women
Ø Environmental pollution and disturbance of ecological balance
Ø Food adulteration
Ø Maintenance of heritage and culture
Publicity Interest Litigation
In Indian law, public interest litigation is started to assist the poor and to carry the torch for social justice. Unfortunately, public interest litigation has devolved into a vehicle for personal interest and political smears on the public, which must be eliminated. PILs are increasingly being used to promote prejudice and communal hate in the name of public interest. Recently, former Uttar Pradesh Shia central waqf board chairman Wasim Rizvi has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking the removal of 26 verses from the Quran that he claims 'teach violence’. The whole Muslim community together condemned this litigation, claiming the P.I.L is nothing but a publicity stunt and an attempt to hurt religious sentiment. The apex court dismissed the P.I.L and said that such dubious Publicity Interest Litigation should be dismissed with a penalty of exemplary nature. The sanctity of the P.I.L system, which is responsible for many of the most progressive judgments given by various courts, has been eroded as a result of such frivolous cases. The Supreme Court made a serious comment regarding the public interest litigation and said that the meaning of the public interest litigation is only and only public interest, it cannot be a publicity interest litigation.
Remedies for concerned PIL
The judiciary is responsible for upholding the integrity of Public Interest Litigation; below are a few guidelines adopted by the Supreme Court to supervise the concerned PILs:
Ø The courts' primary responsibility should be to scrutinize the petitioner's genuine cause so that the PIL is not misused in the name of personal gain, political funding, private interest, or indirect motives.
Ø The courts must remember that the process is not twisted or corrupted.
Ø The Judiciary must ensure that the petitioning procedure for a PIL is not misused or altered by big politicians or the wealthy people, resulting in the triumph of corrupt political aims and the postponement of administrative action.