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Locus Standi has widening the scope of Public Interest Litigation

By : MAHESH R HALDE on 14 October 2011 Report Abuse Print Print this
 



Introduction:

In general rule is that right to move to the court is right whose fundamental right is violated. the supreme court can only exercise the for the enforcement of fundamental right under Art. 31 of the Indian constitution. In law, standing orlocus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court in sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party’s participation in the case. Otherwise, the court will rule that the plaintiff “lacks standing” to bring the suit and will dismiss the case without considering the merits of the claim. But the public interest litigations developed the concept of 
public interest standing which is a form to widen the scope of the locus standi. Public Interest litigation demanded for objectivity, forensic skill, procedural gamesmanship and socio-legal perception.
 
The Constitution of India recognises as fundamental rights many of the individual rights that comprises the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right. These include the right to life, to equality, to the freedom of speech and expression and the right to seek judicial redress before the Supreme Court and 21 High Courts of India for enforcement and protection of these rights.

Though the Constitution of India guarantees equal rights to all citizens, irrespective of race, gender, religion, and other considerations, and the "directive principles of state policy" as stated in the Constitution obligate the Government to provide to all citizens a minimum standard of living, the promise has not been fulfilled. The greater majority of the Indian people have no assurance of two nutritious meals a day, safety of employment, safe and clean housing, or such level of education as would make it possible for them to understand their constitutional rights and obligations. Indian newspapers abound in stories of the exploitation - by landlords, factory owners, businessmen, and the state's own functionaries, such as police and revenue officials - of children, women, villagers, the poor, and the working class.

Though India's higher courts and, in particular, the Supreme Court have often been sensitive to the grim social realities, and have on occasion given relief to the oppressed, the poor do not have the capacity to represent themselves, or to take advantage of progressive legislation. In 1982, the Supreme Court conceded 
that unusual measures were warranted to enable people the full realization of not merely their civil and political rights, but the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, and in its far- reaching decision in the case of PUDR [People's Union for Democratic Rights] vs. Union of India , it recognised that a third party could directly petition, whether through a letter or other means, the Court and seek its intervention in a matter where another party's fundamental rights were being violated. In this case, adverting to the Constitutional prohibition on "begar", or forced labor and traffic in human beings, PUDR submitted that workers contracted to build the large sports complex at the Asian Game Village in Delhi were being exploited. PUDR asked the Court to recognize that "begar" was far more than compelling someone to work against his or her will, and that work under exploitative and grotesquely humiliating conditions, or work that was not even compensated by prescribed minimum wages, was violative of fundamental rights. As the Supreme Court noted, The rule of law does not mean that the protection of the law must be available only to a fortunate few or that the law should be allowed to be prostituted by the vested interests for protecting and upholding the status quo under the guise of enforcement of their civil and political rights. The poor too have civil and political rights and rule of law is meant for them also, though today it exists only on paper and not in reality. If the sugar barons and the alcohol kings have the fundamental right to carry on their business and to fatten their purses by exploiting the consuming public, have the charmers belonging to the lowest strata of society no fundamental right to earn an honest living through their sweat and toil? Thus the court was willing to acknowledge that it had a mandate to advance the rights of the disadvantaged and poor, though this might be at the behest of individuals or groups who themselves claimed no disability. Such litigation, termed Public Interest Litigation or SocialAction Litigation by its foremost advocate, Professor Upendra Baxi, has given the court "epistolary jurisdiction".

Concept:

According to the jurisprudence of Article 32 of the Constitution of India, “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this part is guaranteed”. Ordinarily, only the aggrieved party has the right to seek redress under Article 32. In 1981 Justice P. N. Bhagwati in .S. P. Gupta v. Union of India1 , articulated the concept of PIL as follows, “Where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to a determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any constitutional or legal right or any burden is imposed in contravention of any constitutional or legal provision or without authority of law or any such legal wrong or legal injury or illegal burden is threatened and such person or determinate class of persons by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position unable to approach the court for relief, any member of public can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the High Court under Article 226 and in case any breach of fundamental rights of such persons or determinate class of persons, in this court under Article 32 seeking judicial redress for the legal wrong or legal injury caused to such person or determinate class of persons.”

The rule of locus standi have been relaxed and a person acting bonafide and having sufficient interest in the proceeding of Public Interest Litigation will alone 
have a locus standi and can approach the court to wipe out violation of fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain or private profit or political motive or any oblique consideration.

The Supreme Court in Indian Banks’ Association, Bombay and ors v. M/s Devkala Consultancy Service and Ors ., held that “In an appropriate case, where the petitioner might have moved a court in her private interest and for redressal of the personal grievance, the court in furtherance of Public Interest may treat it a necessity to enquire into the state of affairs of the subject of litigation in the interest of justice. Thus a private interest case can also be treated as public interest case”.

In Guruvayur Devaswom Managing Commit. And Anr. v. C.K. Rajan and Ors , the Supreme Court held, “The Courts exercising their power of judicial review found to its dismay that the poorest of the poor, depraved, the illiterate, the urban and rural unorganized labour sector, women, children, handicapped by 'ignorance, indigence and illiteracy' and other down trodden have either no access to justice or had been denied justice. A new branch of proceedings known as 'Social Interest Litigation' or 'Public Interest Litigation' was evolved with a view to render complete justice to the aforementioned classes of persona. It expanded its wings in course of time. The Courts in pro bono public granted relief to the inmates of the prisons, provided legal aid, directed speedy trial, maintenance of 
human dignity and covered several other areas. Representative actions, pro bono publico and test litigations were entertained in keeping with the current accent on justice to the common man and a necessary disincentive to those who wish to by pass the, real issues on the merits by suspect reliance on peripheral procedural shortcomings… Pro bono publico constituted a significant state in the present day judicial system.

They, however, provided the dockets with much greater responsibility for rendering the concept of justice available to the disadvantaged sections of the 
society. Public interest litigation has come to stay and its necessity cannot be overemphasized. The courts evolved a jurisprudence of compassion. Procedural
propriety was to move over giving place to substantive concerns of the deprivation of rights. The rule of locus standi was diluted. The Court in place of disinterested and dispassionate adjudicator became active participant in the dispensation of justice”.

Writ Jurisdiction under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950:

The Writ Jurisdiction of Supreme Court can be invoked under Article 32 of the Constitution for the violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Part – III of 
the Constitution. Any provision in any Constitution for Fundamental Rights is meaningless unless there are adequate safeguards to ensure enforcement of such provisions. Since the reality of such rights is tested only through the judiciary, the safeguards assume even more importance. In addition, enforcement also depends upon the degree of independence of the Judiciary and the availability of relevant instruments with the executive authority. Indian Constitution, like most of Western Constitutions, lays down certain provisions to ensure the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. These are as under:
 
(a) The Fundamental Rights provided in the Indian Constitution are guaranteed against any executive and legislative actions. Any executive or legislative action, which infringes upon the Fundamental Rights of any person or any group of persons, can be declared as void by the Courts under Article 13 of the Constitution.

(b) In addition, the Judiciary has the power to issue the prerogative writs. These are the extra-ordinary remedies provided to the citizens to get their rights enforced against any authority in the State. These writs are - Habeas corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo-warranto. Both, High Courts as well as the 
Supreme Court may issue the writs

(c) The Fundamental Rights provided to the citizens by the Constitution cannot be suspended by the State, except during the period of emergency, as laid down in Article 359 of the Constitution. A Fundamental Right may also be enforced by way of normal legal procedures including a declaratory suit or by way of defence to 
legal proceedings.

However, Article 32 is referred to as the "Constitutional Remedy" for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. This provision itself has been included in the Fundamental Rights and hence it cannot be denied to any person. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar described Article 32 as the most important one, without which the Constitution would be reduced to nullity. It is also referred to as the heart and soul of the Constitution. By including Article 32 in the Fundamental Rights, the Supreme Court has been made the protector and guarantor of these Rights. An application made under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court, cannot be refused on technical grounds. In addition to the prescribed five types of writs, the Supreme Court may pass any other appropriate order. Moreover, only the questions pertaining to the Fundamental Rights can be determined in proceedings against Article 32. Under Article 32, the Supreme Court may issue a Writ against any person or government within the territory of India. Where the infringement of a Fundamental Right has been established, the Supreme Court cannot refuse relief on the ground that the aggrieved person may have remedy before some other court or under the ordinary law.

The relief can also not be denied on the ground that the disputed facts have to be investigated or some evidence has to be collected. Even if an aggrieved 
person has not asked for a particular Writ, the Supreme Court, after considering the facts and circumstances, may grant the appropriate Writ and may even modify it to suit the exigencies of the case. Normally, only the aggrieved person is allowed to move the Court. But it has been held by the Supreme Court that in social or public interest matters, any one may move the Court. A Public Interest Litigation can be filed before the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution or before the High Court of a State under Article 226 of the Constitution under their respective Writ Jurisdictions. There are mainly five types of Writs – (i) Writ of Habeaus Corpus, (ii) Writ of Mandamus, (iii) Writ of Quo-Warranto, (iv) Writ of Prohibition, and (v) Writ of Certiorari.

(I)Writ of Habeas Corpus:

It is the most valuable writ for personal liberty. Habeas Corpus means, "Let us have the body." A person, when arrested, can move the Court for the issue of Habeas Corpus. It is an order by a Court to the detaining authority to produce the arrested person before it so that it may examine whether the person has been detained lawfully or otherwise. If the Court is convinced that the person is illegally detained, it can issue orders for his release.

(II)The Writ of Mandamus:

Mandamus is a Latin word, which means "We Command". Mandamus is an order from a superior court to a lower court or tribunal or public authority to perform an act, which falls within its duty. It is issued to secure the performance of public duties and to enforce private rights withheld by the public authorities. Simply, it is a writ issued to a public official to do a thing which is a part of his official duty, but, which, he has failed to do, so far. This writ cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It is the discretionary power of a court to issue such writs.

(III)The Writ of Quo-Warranto:


The word Quo-Warranto literally means "by what warrants?" It is a writ issued with a view to restraining a person from acting in a public office to which 
he is not entitled. The Writ of quo-warranto is used to prevent illegal assumption of any public office or usurpation of any public office by anybody. For example, a person of 62 years has been appointed to fill a public office whereas the retirement age is 60 years. Now, the appropriate High Court has a right to issue a Writ of quowarranto against the person and declare the office vacant.
 
(IV)The Writ of Prohibition:

Writ of prohibition means to forbid or to stop and it is popularly known as 'Stay Order'. This Writ is issued when a lower court or a body tries to transgress 
the limits or powers vested in it. It is a Writ issued by a superior court to lower court or a tribunal forbidding it to perform an act outside its jurisdiction. After the issue of this Writ proceedings in the lower court etc. come to a stop. The Writ of prohibition is issued by any High Court or the Supreme Court to any inferior court, prohibiting the latter to continue proceedings in a particular case, where it has no legal jurisdiction of trial. While the Writ of mandamus commands doing of particular thing, the Writ of prohibition is essentially addressed to a subordinate court commanding inactivity. Writ of prohibition is, thus, not available against a public officer not vested with judicial or quasi-judicial powers. The Supreme Court can issue this Writ only where a fundamental right is affected.

(V)The Writ of Certiorari:

Literally, Certiorari means to be certified. The Writ of Certiorari is issued by the Supreme Court to some inferior court or tribunal to transfer the matter to it or to some other superior authority for proper consideration. The Writ of Certiorari can be issued by the Supreme Court or any High Court for quashing the order already passed by an inferior court. In other words, while the prohibition is available at the earlier stage, Certiorari is available on similar grounds at a later stage. It can also be said that the Writ of prohibition is available during the tendency of proceedings before a sub-ordinate court, Certiorari can be resorted to only after the order or decision has been announced. There are several conditions necessary for the issue of Writ of Certiorari, which are as under:

(a) There should be court, tribunal or an officer having legal authority to determine the question of deciding fundamental rights with a duty to act judicially..

(b) Such a court, tribunal or officer must have passed an order acting without jurisdiction or in excess of the judicial authority vested by law in such court, tribunal or law. The order could also be against the principle of natural justice or it could contain an error of judgment in appreciating the facts of the case.

Subjects of Public Interest Litigation.

Public Interest Litigation is meant for enforcement of fundamental and other legal rights of the people who are poor, weak, ignorant of legal redressal system or otherwise in a disadvantageous position, due to their social or economic background. Such litigation can be initiated only for redressal of a public injury,
enforcement of a public duty or vindicating interest of public nature. It is necessary that the petition is not filed for personal gain or private motive or for other extraneous consideration and is filed bona fide in public interest. There are three basic requirement to file the public interest litigation.
 
They are:-

1. Personal Injury
2. Causation
3. Redressability

1. Injury: - The plaintiff must have suffered or imminently will suffer injury- an invasion of a legally protected interest that is concrete and particularized. The 
injury must be actual or imminent, distinct and palpable, not abstract. This injury could be economic as well as non-economic.

2. Causation:
- There must be a casual connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, so that injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of 
the defendant and not the result of the independent action of some third party who is not before the court.

3. Redressability: - It must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that a favorable court decision will redress the injury. Prudential Limitations of Locus 
Standi:- Additionally there are three major prudential limitations or judicially created standing principles. Those principles were widened depending on the
circumstances:

Following are the consider by the court as locus standi before the court:

Petitions received by post even though not in public interest can be treated as writ petitions if so directed by the Hon’ble Judge nominated for this purpose. Individual petitions complaining harassment or torture or death in jail or by police, complaints of atrocities on women such as harassment for dowry, bride burning, rape, murder and kidnapping, complaints relating to family pensions and complaints of refusal by police to register the case can be registered as writ petitions, if so approved by the concerned Hon’ble Judge. If deemed expedient, a report from the concerned authority is called before placing the matter before the Hon’ble Judge for directions. If so directed by the Hon’ble Judge, the letter is registered as a writ petition and is there after listed before the Court for hearing. But this traditional rule was considerably relaxed by the Supreme Court in its recent rulings:

1) Any person

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India
2
- The court now permits Public Interest Litigation or Social Interest Litigation at the instance of " Public spirited citizens" for the enforcement of constitutional & legal rights of any person or group of persons who because of their socially or economically disadvantaged position are unable to approach court for relief. Public interest litigation is a part of the process of participate justice and standing in civil litigation of that pattern must have liberal reception at the judicial door steps.

In the Judges Transfer Case
3
- Court held Public Interest Litigation can be filed by any member of public having sufficient interest for public injury arising from violation of legal rights so as to get judicial redress. This is absolutely necessary for maintaining Rule of law and accelerating the balance between law and justice. It is a settled law that when a person approaches the court of equity in exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction, he should approach the court not only with clean hands but with clean mind, heart and with clean objectives.

Shiram Food & Fertilizer case
4 through Public Interest Litigation directed the Co. Manufacturing hazardous & lethal chemical and gases posing danger to life and health of workmen & to take all necessary safety measures before re-opening the plant.
 
In the case of M.C Mehta V. Union of India5 - In a Public Interest Litigation brought against Ganga water pollution so as to prevent any further pollution of Ganga water. Supreme court held that petitioner although not a riparian owner is entitled to move the court for the enforcement of statutory provisions , as he is the person interested in protecting the lives of the people who make use of Ganga water.

Parmanand Katara V. Union of India
6 - Supreme Court held in the Public Interest Litigation filed by a human right activist fighting for general public interest that it is a paramount obligation of every member of medical profession to give medical aid to every injured citizen as soon as possible without waiting for
any procedural formalities.

2) Voluntary organisation

Council For
Environment Legal Action V. Union Of India7 -: Public Interest Litigation filed by registered voluntary organization regarding economic degradation in coastal area. Supreme Court issued appropriate orders and directions for enforcing the laws to protect ecology.

3) Report of research paper or newspaper

A report entitled "Treat Prisoners Equally HC" published in The Tribe , Aug 23 Punjab & Haryana High Court quashed the provisions of jail manual dividing 
prisoners into A , B & C classes after holding that there cannot be any classification of convicts on the basis of their social status, education or habit of living .This is a remarkable ruling given by High Court by declaring 576-A paragraph of the manual to be " Unconstitutional".

During the last few years, Judicial Activism has opened up a new dimension for the Judicial process and has given a new hope to the millions who starve for their 
livelihood. There is no reason why the Court should not adopt activist approach similar to Court in America , so as to provide remedial amplitude to the citizens of India.

Supreme Court has now realised its proper role in welfare state and it is using its new strategy for the development of a whole new corpus of law for effective and purposeful implementation of Public Interest Litigation. One can simply approach to the Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights by writing a letter or post card to any Judge. That particular letters based on true facts and concept will be converted to writ petition. When Court welcome Public Interest Litigation , its attempt is to endure observance of social and economic programmers frame for the benefits of have-nots and the handicapped. Public Interest Litigation has proved a boon for the common men. Public Interest Litigation has set right a number of wrongs committed by an individual or by society. By relaxing the scope of Public Interest Litigation, Court has brought legal aid at the doorsteps of the teeming millions of Indians; which the executive has not been able to do despite a lot of money is being spent on new legal aid schemes operating at the central and state level. Supreme Court's pivotal role in expanding the scope of Public Interest Litigation as a counter balance to the lethargy and inefficiency of the executive is commendable

From the above discussion following are the important subject in PIL
8

1) Worker’s exploitation Resultants of payment less then minimum wages to the worker’s
9

2) Under trial Prisoners The Indian Express exposing the plight of Bihar under trial prisoners. This under trial prisoners was behind the bar from last Ten Years and violet there right to speedy trial
10.

3) Dehumanized Case Most of the time the police atrocity causes damages to the person health and reputation,

a)Apex Court direction to the provided the medical Aid to police blinding victims
11.

b) Death of a person due to police atrocity provided the compositor amount

4) Eviction of Gudalur farmers

Persons who had many years the been cultivated the land were sought to be summarily evicted without adhering to principle of Natural Justice The case considers to be sympathically and provided the farmer provide the compassionate ground.

5) Child welfare

Release of children below the 16 years of age and gives separate treatment to the undrtrial juvenile offenders
12.

6) Women Atrocity

There is more cases of the Women atrocities in the Nation and PIL Guidline provided to the police officer to launch the cases

a) In cases of the Gange rape Police officer guideline provided to file the cases
13

b) Custodian violence to the Women Ill-treatment and custodian violence to the women prisoners in the police lockup
14

7) Environmental Cases

a) In order to provided the tackle the problem of water pollution Gangs river case supreme court order to close down industries which damage the gangs river by water pollution

b) In order to Tackle the Air pollutionn

Court order that limestone quarries in the mussoories Hills range to save the ecology of the himilayan region and avoid hazard to public health
15

CONCLUSION:

Public interest litigation is social litigation that provided remedies for all, locus standi is concept evolved from America
16, locus standi means standing before the court or file case before the court. This PIL concept is concept of locus standi that whole society not standing before court but the some social worker or jurist file before court behalf of public or society, so locus standi is concept evolved from public interest litigation, which is changing there dimension and concept in broad. Some time latter are consider to be the PIL likewise Newspaper report in the Hussainera Khatoon Case research material of the jurist or student other thing which the Hon’ble judge consider the source of the public interest. so the medium through which the court are consider the matter are public interest litigation and stand before the court. The liberalization of the principle of locus standi make possible for the court to recognize a general interest in any litigant on a matter as sufficient to have locus standi. So the concept of individual interest, changed to special interest, again to class interest and now to sufficient interest.

There is no special person require to the file the case locus standi in this cases are the report which the court are get matter to consider the case as public interest litigation.

Source : ,



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4 Comments for this Article



samina nahid baig

samina nahid baig

Wrote on 10 October 2013

it is not article 31 its 32 in the Introduction chapter. pls. correct it.



Anwesha Saha

Anwesha Saha

Wrote on 23 October 2011

much informative article.. thank you..



Anwesha Bhattacharjee

Anwesha Bhattacharjee

Wrote on 17 October 2011

thsnks for the information












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