Justice Krishna Iyer and Justice PN Bhagwati developed the concept of PIL which stands for Public Interest Litigation. This concept has been taken from the United States of America. Upendra Bakshi has recognized it as Social Interest Litigation.
Public Interest Litigation
Rule of Locus Standi says, “a person whose right is violated will approach the court.” But in PIL this is not the case:-
If the victim is unable to approach the court due to illiteracy or is economically backward or due to any other reason, then any person on behalf of such a victim may approach the court for the protection of his fundamental rights. This is called Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
Cases Related to PIL
1. People Union for Democratic Rights vs Union of India
At the time of Asian Games, the workers were working in inhuman conditions and were getting less remuneration according to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The word “bonded labour” was introduced.
2. Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs Union of India
In Faridkot, Haryana, there was a mine in which there were bonded labourers working in inhuman conditions and were not getting wages as prescribed in the Minimum Wages Act. Supreme Court held that if a labourer doesn’t get minimum wage, then it be considered as “forced labour.”
3. MC Mehta vs. Union of India
Some guidelines were issued:-
I. For PIL, a person can even post a letter in the name of a judge of the Supreme Court without attaching an affidavit.
II. The Supreme Court has the power to grant compensation to the victim in furtherance of PIL.
III. The Supreme Court has the power to appoint a commission for investigating matters related to violation of fundamental rights.
What is Epistolary Jurisdiction: When PIL is treated through a postcard, letter, newspaper, etc. by the Supreme Court, then it is epistolary jurisdiction. Epistolary means “in the form of letters.”