Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a critical aspect of the Indian justice system, allowing individuals or groups to seek legal remedy in the court of law for matters concerning public interest. The process for filing a PIL in India under Public Law and Policy laws consists of the following steps:
1. Determine whether your issue qualifies as a PIL: Not all cases qualify for PIL. It typically pertains to matters that affect the public at large and not just individual interests. Matters related to social rights, environmental protection, and violation of fundamental rights often qualify.
2. Find competent legal representation: Engage the services of a seasoned lawyer, experienced in PIL cases, who can guide you through the process. This legal professional should be able to advise on whether your case qualifies as a PIL.
3. Draft the petition: The lawyer will then draft a petition detailing the matter, identifying the person, government organization or statutory body responsible, and laying out the relief sought. The petition should also mention under which law or constitutional provision the court can take action.
4. Submission of the petition: The petition is submitted with requisite court fees to the court’s registry. This can be done in either the High Court or the Supreme Court depending on the severity and scale of the issue.
5. Court review: The court reviews the petition to ensure that it fulfils all legal requirements and has merit. During this period, the court may ask for additional documents or evidence, if necessary.
6. Notice issued: If the court finds merit in your PIL, it issues notices to the opposite parties, informing them about the case against them.
7. Court hearing: The court schedules a hearing where both sides present their arguments. The judge then gives a verdict based on the evidence and arguments presented.
8. Appeal: If you are not satisfied with the verdict, an appeal can be made in a higher court.
It’s important to remember that the misuse of PILs is not looked upon lightly by the Indian Judiciary. Therefore, one should ascertain thoroughly whether their issue genuinely pertains to public interest before filing a PIL.