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P.I.L is being misused by people agitating for private grievances in the grab of public interest
and seeking publicity rather than espousing public causes. It seems that the misuse of PIL in
India, which started in the 1990s, has reached to such a stage where it has started undermining
the very purpose for which P.I.L was introduced. In other words, the dark side is slowly moving
to overshadow the bright side of the P.I.L .
P.I.L has, however, led to new problems such as an unanticipated increase in the workload of the
superior courts, lack of judicial infrastructure to determine factual matters, gap between the
promise and reality, abuse of process, friction and confrontation with fellow organs of the
government, and dangers inherent in judicial populism.
The Indian P.I.L experience shows us that it is critical to ensure that P.I.L does not become a
facade to fulfill private interests, settle political scores or gain easy publicity. Judiciary in a
democracy should also not use P.I.L as a device to run the country on a day-to-day basis or enter
the legitimate domain of the executive and legislature. The challenge for states, therefore, is to
strike a balance in allowing legitimate P.I.L cases and discouraging frivolous ones. One way to
achieve this balance could be to build in economic (dis)incentives in P.I.L and also confine it
primarily to those cases where access to justice is undermined by some kind of disability.

One major rationale why the courts supported PIL was its usefulness in serving the public
interest. It is doubtful, however, if PIL is still wedded to that goal.Almost any issue is presented
to the courts in the guise of public interest because of the allurements that the PIL jurisprudence
offers (e.g. inexpensive, quick response, and high impact). Of course, it is not always easy to
differentiate public interest from private interest, but it is arguable that courts have not
rigorously enforced the requirement of P.I.Ls being aimed at espousing some public interest.

OBJECTIVES: According to Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, PIL is a process, of obtaining justice
for the people, of voicing people's grievances through the legal process. The aim of PIL
is to give to the common people of this country access to the courts to obtain legal redress. Thus
the objectives of this project is to:
Understand the concept of PIL in indian laws
To study the process and procedures for filing a PIL
To look into the loopholes in laws, which cause misuse of PIL
To analysis a few leading cases where PIL has been misused.

The public interest litigation jurisdiction was innovated essentially to safeguard and protect the
fundamental rights of poor, ignorant, or socially or economically disadvantaged persons. The
misuse of public interest litigation jurisdiction by the people resulted in flood of bogus, evasive
and vexatious litigations in the Courts. It follows in waste of valuable time of the Supreme Court
and High Courts which are already burdened with huge number of pending cases. The
suppression and separation of such litigations from genuine litigations became the great task for
the Supreme Court and High Courts. It is necessary to find some parameters to restrict the free
flow of bogus, evasive and vexatious cases in the guise of public interest litigation. The Supreme
Court of India has laid down some norms to prevent misuse of public interest litigation
jurisdiction. The cases in the name of public interest litigations should be maintained by the
Court only when (a) there is a gross invasion of fundamental rights, (b) the invaded fundamental
right must be of the persons who are unable to move to the Court due to poverty, illiteracy,
social or economical backwardness, or due to any such other cause, (c) the act invading the
fundamental rights must shock the judicial conscience of the Court, and (d) the matter must be
strictly of public interest though the direct victim of the act of invasion may be some determinate
class of individuals. These parameters will surely help to restrict the free flow of bogus, evasive
and vexatious cases in the guise of public interest litigation. In spite of that if someone initiates
bogus, evasive and vexatious petition and wastes valuable time of the Court he may be severely
fined and in serious cases his act of initiation of such petition may be treated as contempt of


The expression public interest has not been defined in the Constitution of India or in any
statute. It, however finds mention in the Constitution and certain statutes. It is used in context of
subject-matter related to the constitutional provisions or the statute.
Public interest is also defined in Blacks Law Dictionary as: something in which the public,
the community at large, has some pecuniary interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are
affected. It does not mean anything so narrow as mere curiosity or as the interests of the
particular localities, which may be affected by the matter in question.

Concept of project:

The expression Public Interest means an act beneficial to the general public. It means action
necessarily taken for public purposes. However, requirement of public interest may vary from
Case to case. Public Interest Litigation means a litigation which serves public interest. It is a
litigation which vindicates a right of large number of people or redresses a wrong done to them.1


For the purpose of conducting the research, the findings of the materials from the primary and
secondary sources is all libraries based so the methodology that I adopted can be termed as a
Doctrinal Method.


This research paper is descriptive & analytical in approach. Proper Management of extensive use
of secondary and electronic sources of data makes this project a comprehensive and yet a
selective piece of study. Various Reference and Educational websites have been browsed
through with a keen eye of inquisition. Information from in numerous articles and chapters, of
various journals and books respectively has been exploited in the research to make the study
relevant and reliable.

Wadhera, BL: Public Interest Litigation (4 ed 2014) p 53.