(A) Constitution of India, Art.226 - Public Interest Litigation - Maintainability of - Where a legal wrong or legal injury is caused to a person or to determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any Constitutional or legal right and such person or determinate class of persons by reason of poverty, helplessness of disability or socially or economically disadvantaged, unable to approach the Court for reliefs, any member of the public can maintain an application under Art.226 of the Constitution of India.
Right from the decision in the case of S.P. Gupta Vs. Union of India, reported in AIR 1982 SC 149, the Supreme Court has held that it may now be taken as well established principle that where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any constitutional or legal right or any burden as reason of violation of any constitutional or legal provisions or without authority of law or any such legal wrong or legal injury or legal burden is threatened and such person or determinate class of persons by reason of poverty, helplessness of disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position, unable to approach the Court for relief, any member of the public can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. This principle had continued till date and in fact is the origin of public interest litigation. The ingredients of Public Interest Litigation like locus standi to any member of the public, relief against public wrong or public injury, dominant object being public interest or public good and besides that it should also satisfy essentials of a public interest litigation which would justify judicial interference or intervention.
In judicial process regulated by the Constitution, many larger disputes or issues demand judicial intervention and the rule of law requires to ensure that all persons are able to live securely under the rule of law, to promote within the proper limits of the judicial functions and observance and attainment of human rights and administer the law impartially amongst the persons and between persons and the State. (Reference : "Nature of Judicial Process", speech by Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari [(2002)6 SCC (J) 1]). The public interest has been understood as interest of a larger section as opposed to an individual interest and has the element of affecting greater section of the society. The expression 'public interest' means act beneficial to general public. It means action necessarily taken for public purpose. There is thus much in common between public interest and public purpose. The expression public purpose is not capable of precise definition and has not a rigid meaning. It can only be defined by a process of judicial inclusion and exclusion (State of Bihar Vs. Kameshwar Singh, AIR 1952 SC 252). However, a broad test has been formulated and it is that whatever furthers the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of the individuals, must be regarded as a public purpose". The expression interest of the general public embraces public security, public order and public morality. (Emperor Vs. Jeshingbhai Ishwarlal Dhobi, AIR 1950 Bom 363). It will not be out of place to mention here something about public policy. Public policy is a principle of judicial legislation or interpretation founded on the current needs of the community. The interest of the whole public must be taken into account. (Murlidhar Agarwal Vs. State of U.P, (1974)2 SCC 472). (Reference : The Phantom of 'Public Interest', article by Prof. (Dr.) D.C. Jain, 3 SCC (J) 30]). (1986)3 SCC (J) 30, (1974)2 SCC 472, AIR 1952 SC 252 and AIR 1982 SC 149 - Rel. on.
DIGHI KOLI SAMAJ MUMBAI RAHIVASI SANGH VS. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.
2009-ALL MR-4-896 (Paras 10 and 11).