• Legis Scriptor

Misuse of PIL

Authored By- Sneha Saha

Keywords: Public interest, Locus Standi, Litigation


Public Interest Litigation(PIL) assumes a major perform within the common equity framework with the goal that it may accomplish those points and targets that a personal case may scarcely have accomplished. Public Interest judicial proceeding offers the simplest way to equity to those burdens a part of society, provides the road to subtle or mixture rights, and empowers common society to unfold attention to basic freedoms further as allow those people to partake in government dynamic. PIL may likewise increase nice administration by keeping the general assembly accountable. This is developing generally to improve the social and monetary privileges of those hindrances part of society. It is a weapon by which the defenseless or incapacitated look for legal change by documenting an application to the High Court under Article 226 or Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The idea is specie, of the epistolary locale. In ongoing circumstance we can see the there are several analyses of open intrigue cases like in division of forces, the legal limit, and fairness. Besides, each shelter goes with bane, in this manner, severe activities must outcome against the damaging behavior of those starting negligible open intrigue prosecutions.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." ― Martin Luther King Jr.,

Public Interest Litigation is portrayed as prosecution by public-spirited residents for the requirement of sacred and other legitimate privileges of an individual or gathering of individuals who due to their neediness or socially weak position are inaccessible to way to deal with the court for help. In this way, the public interest litigation or social interest litigation has been advanced whether be to deliver total equity to the most unfortunate of poor people, denied, ignorant, the metropolitan and country, unorganized labor sector, women, children, and other downtrodden who have either no admittance to equity or have been denied equity. Its object is to make equity accessible to the downtrodden and so on having respect for the idea of basic liberties.

What is Public Interest Litigation?

Public Interest Litigation(PIL) depicts as activity started in a court of law for the authorization of public interest or general interest during which the overall population or class of the network have monetary intrigue or some interest by which their lawful rights or liabilities are influenced. PIL plays an important and powerful part in preserving the rule of law and ensure the accountability and transparency within the government. Usually, it can be seen a victim who has affected files a case in a court of law that is a person has an interest in the dispute. But in PIL anyone can file a case but the only condition is that it has to be filed in the public interest. Public Interest Litigation is the power that is given to the public by the courts to protect their interest at large. According to the Supreme Court's guidelines relating to the filing of Public Interest judicial proceeding, it complies of the subsequent letter petitions

such as:

1. Bonded labor matters

2. Neglected youngsters

3. Non-payment of minimum wages to employees and their exploitation

4. Petitions from jails fretful of harassments unharness on personal bond, speedy trial as a basic right

5. Petition against police for refusing to register a case, harassment at the station

6. Petition on harassment of ladies, rape, seizure or murder

7. Petitions on harassment of regular caste, regular tribe, and alternative economically backward categories.

8. Petitions touching on environmental pollution, disturbance of ecological balance, maintenance of heritage and culture, forest and life, etc.

9. Petitions from riot victims

10. Family pensions

Public Interest Litigation – How useful?

In Public Interest Litigation (PIL) watchful residents of the nation can locate an economical legitimate cure because there is just an ostensible fixed court charge engaged with this.

Further, through the supposed PIL, the prosecutors can zero in consideration and accomplish results relating to bigger open issues, particularly in the fields of basic liberties, customer government assistance, and condition.

Misuse of PIL

In public interest litigation, abuse comes in different structures. Exposure, private intrigue, political contention, or other sideways thought processes can be an intention in its abuse. The misfortune is that it hinders the progression of the equity conveyance framework. A feeling of control is required however a steady statute isn't at all effectively conceivable to advance for hindering maltreatment.

In Janata Dal vs H.S. Chowdhary and Ors, [i]in this case it can be seen how the petitioner tried to abuse the public interest litigation for political purposes. In 1986 the Government of India had put orders for the acquisition of Bofors Guns. Consequently, on April 17, 1987, some papers of India distributed news that administration authorities had taken hush-money to seal the agreement. Then again the Bofors denied these claims made by the press. Meanwhile, the administration changed and the Janta Dal came to control at the inside. On the considerable confirmations and data accessible to the C.B.I, it enrolled a criminal argument against three names and eleven anonymous blamed under the important area for IPC and Prevention of corruption act, 1947. To get more data and confirmations from the Swiss power the CBI moved an application under the steady gaze of the unique Judge to give the letter of rogatory to Switzerland for getting fundamental help and help with doing the significant examination. At this stage, H. S. Chowdhary made an application in Public Interest under article 51-A before the special judge mentioning the court not to give the letter of rogatory except if the claim and charges imposed on the blamed have been significantly demonstrated. The special judge dismisses the petition mentioning that has no locus standi. Sri Chowdhary then filed a criminal revision for the before high court of Delhi under section 397/482 of the code of criminal procedure and asked for the dismissal of the First Information Report (FIR). High Court held that as the petitioner has no locus standi to file a petition so his petition is not maintainable. It is subsequently certain that solitary an individual acting true blue and having adequate enthusiasm for the procedure of PIL will alone have a locus standi and can move toward the court to clear out the tears of poor people and destitute, experiencing infringement of their key rights, yet not an individual for individual increase or private benefit or political thought process or any diagonal thought.

Misuse of PIL happens in all those matters where a rival business starts to set up a score by resorts to PIL. Here person who claim themselves as a social association or public-spirited person spring up for time being to peddle these causes. The third and similarly upsetting angle is the abuse of PIL by concealed prosecutors. This is going on in a wide range of issues; rival business bunches are doling out retributions by resort to PILs. People who portray themselves as "open energetic people" and others as "social associations" spring up for the time being to peddle these causes.

A valid example is the judgment of Chief Justice Sabharwal in the TN Godavarman Thirumaulpad v. Association of India. [ii]Following the choice in Janata Dal's case, and Justice Pasayat and Justice Kapadia's choice in Dattaraj Nathiji Thauvare v. Province of Maharashtra[iii], the insightful adjudicators saw that howsoever guaranteed an explanation brought under the watchful eye of a court by a public interest examiner may be, the court needs to rot its appraisal at the order of a person whose bona fides and accreditations are being referred to. It was held that the competitor, who was a tycoon, had spent tremendous totals in a suit and was just a name moneylender; costs of rupees one lac were constrained on him. Such petitions are logically being recorded by the matter of exercises of open criticalness by pointless suppliers, yet the usage of open interest cases in such cases ought to dissuade. In any case, this is going on continually; there are various habits by which judges can and should see through the bona fides of such litigants.[iv]

In Ashok Kumar Pandey's case [v]Justice Pasayat observed: The other interesting aspect is that in the PILs, official documents are being annexed without even indicating as to how the petitioner came to possess them. In one case, it was noticed that an interesting answer was given as to its possession. It was stated that a packet was lying on the road and when out of curiosity the petitioner opened it, he found copies of the official documents. Whenever such frivolous pleas are taken to explain possession, the Court should do well not only to dismiss the petitions but also to impose exemplary costs. It would be desirable for the Courts to filter out the frivolous petitions and dismiss them with costs as afore-stated so that the message goes in the right direction that petitions filed with oblique motive do not have the approval of the Courts.[vi] So Justice Pasayat mentioned that the court should look after the credentials of the applicant, the prima facie correctness, and how much the information given by him. The information should hold some gravity and it should not be vague and false. The court should keep a balance between these conflicts. And nobody should be allowed to damage or involve in reckless allegation tarnishing someone's character. Shirking of public mischief and to dodge mischievous appeal looking to attack, for angled intentions, reasonable chief activities. In such a case, notwithstanding, the court can't stand to be liberal as said.

So to stop this misuse of PIL court should be observant in every matter and should question themselves whether the petitioners are bonafide. And whether the petitioner is concerned about the said matters are real or not. PIL is a strong weapon in law which is mainly to serve social justice to people. And it should be invoked by any person or group of associations who can use to satisfy their grudge.


PIL is a method which helps backward poor section to get justice. And it is a very important and beneficial instrument for a country like India. Public Interest Litigation depends on the enhanced idea of protecting the privileges of different classes of people, who couldn't move towards the Court due to destitution and other social conditions. In India, the Supreme Court thought it legitimate, to meet the finishes of equity to engage Public Interest Litigations to shield the privileges of hindered, minimized areas of the general public.

So the court should check the cases and look out that it is of bonafide interest is there and no personal interest, so to avoid unnecessary litigations. And if any mischievous litigation is found it should be struck down immediately so that the aims and motive of PIL are not violated.

[i]Janata Dal vs H.S. Chowdhary And Ors. on 28 August, 1992 [ii]T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union Of India & Ors on 13 February, 2012 [iii]Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware vs State Of Maharashtra & Ors on 14 December, 2004 [iv] LAW RESOURCE INDIA. 2020. Misuse Of PIL. [online] Available at: <,to%20gain%20a%20political%20objective.&text=Similarly%2C%20a%20vexa> [Accessed 14 September 2020]. [v]Ashok Kumar Pandey vs The State Of West Bengal on 18 November, 2003 [vi] 2020. Ashok Kumar Pandey Vs The State Of West Bengal On 18 November, 2003. [online] Available at: <,Courts%20and%20strangely%20are%20entertained.> [Accessed 14 September 2020].