Frequently asked questions on PIL or Public Interest Litigation

Is PIL the same as a Writ Petition?

There is a slight difference between both.

One of the reliefs that can be prayed for in a PIL is a Writ of Mandamus, to compel the Government Officer to perform his duty.

The main point of difference in the PIL is the waiving of the requirement of Locus Standi i.e. even a person who is not personally interested in the subject matter, may file a PIL, in the larger interest of the public.

If there a format of submitting the PIL?

There is no rigid format for a PIL. Even letters are accepted as petitions, subject to certain conditions.

The PIL should contain the following information:

  • Particulars of the cause / order / statute regarding which the petition is made
  • Particulars of the Petitioner
  • Particulars of the Respondents
  • Declaration and undertaking of the Petitioner (that he does not have any personal interest other than public interest in the matter)
  • Facts in brief, constituting the cause
  • Any representations or petitions previously made
  • Documents relied upon
  • Prayers for Relief

In which court can a PIL be filed?

A PIL can be filed in the High Court of any state in India or the Supreme Court of India.

What are the fees for filing a PIL?

Rs. 50 per Respondent (or Govt. Organisation) is the fee for filing a PIL

What law governs a PIL?

High Courts now have separate rules for entertaining PILs

The Supreme Court has issued guidelines on PIL: http://www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in/circular/guidelines/pilguidelines.pdf

Case Laws on Public Interest Litigation

  • State Of Uttaranchal vs Balwant Singh Chaufal & Ors on 18 January, 2010

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