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Empowering Citizens: Understanding Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India

Public Interest Litigation (PIL), in simple words, refers to litigation for the benefit of public interest. It can be filed in any Court of Law by any public-spirited person to protect public interest. PIL is a legal action seeking to benefit disadvantaged minority groups or individuals and address public issues. It deliberately uses the law to effect social change.

A PIL is a petition filed by an individual, citizen groups, or non-government organizations in court, pursuing justice for a problem that has broader implications for public interest. The primary aim of PIL is to provide ordinary people with access to legal redress for substantial causes. Although it is not defined in any statute, it arises as a consequence of judicial activism-taking up causes that impact the public at large rather than affecting a single individual personally.

Any Indian citizen can file a PIL. The only condition for filing a PIL is that it should be done with significant public interest and not for private gain. If the court deems the PIL to be of public significance, it will assume responsibility and appoint a lawyer to handle the case.

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