Supreme Court: Interested person not entitled to file Public Interest Litigation

An interested person is not entitled to file public interest litigation (PIL), the Supreme Court has said while dismissing a plea against an order of the Karnataka High Court which had rejected a petition on the issue related to pension to state information commissioners.

The apex court noted that the petitioner, who had approached the high court challenging the January 2013 office memorandum issued by the state under which a provision was made to grant pension to the state information commissioners equivalent to the pension payable to the chief secretary, was also an aspirant to the post.


A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a petition that can be filed by any member of the public/ public-spirited individuals for any matter/protection of public interest/for a redress of public wrong or injury.

The court liberalize the rule of locus standi which gave birth to a flexible PIL as earlier it was the prerogative of the injured person or the aggrieved party to approach the court. PIL not only provides social and political space for the disadvantaged and vulnerable but also looks at issues like consumer protection, gender justice prevention of environmental pollution ecological destruction.

Justice PN Bhagwati and V R Krishna Iyer were instrumental in this juristic revolution. One of the earliest cases of PIL was Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar regarding the plight of under-trial prisoners. Also in cases like Bandhua Mukti Morcha,Vishaka Guidelines the court entertained PIL’s and widened its scope.

PIL develops a new jurisprudence of the accountability of the state for constitutional and legal violations adversely affection the interest of the weaker sections of the society. It grant substantive legal guarantees and fulfills the constitutional promise of social and economic order based on equality.


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