Research and Rules of Public Interest Litigation


Law establishes equality amongst the citizens. As the name suggests, this kind of litigation is for the interest of public. Public Interest Litigation can cover any issues which could include Pollution, Terrorism, Road Safety, Construction Hazards, challenging law and regulations. It is a step undertaken to harmonize the legal standards in the country and also to maintain law and order in the nation. This Judicial Activism has been inspired by United States of America.

Need for Research in PIL

Before filing a PIL, it is necessary to thoroughly research the concerned topic. One may need to find out the problem which is faced by the group. For example, if any wrong construction technique is followed by the contractor, one will have to interact with the nearby residents, the labourers at the construction site work, and maybe the environmental experts if it is affecting that part as well. There has to be a methodical, scientific and practical study so that one can observe and understand the actual problem. Some problems may turn out to be fiduciary as well. The one filing the case should be in a position to explain practical problems on-site in front of the Court. A limited time is provided for explanation to the petitioner by the court. The court should be convinced that it is a matter of public interest and the outcome out of it will be beneficial to the society. The admission of the PIL matter depends upon authorities to authorities. Full preparation shall be must and documentary evidence of the wrong-happenings will just make the PIL stronger.

PIL Rules of Bombay High Court

While filing a PIL in front of the Bombay High Court, the procedures and regulations must be followed. The details a PIL should cover are as followed:

  1. Petitioner’s name, complete postal and e-mail address, phone number, proof regarding personal identification, occupation and annual income, PAN number and National Unique Identity Card, if any
  2. Facts constituting the cause of action
  3. Nature and injury caused or likely to be caused in public
  4. Nature and extent of personal interest of petitioner, if any
  5. Details required any kind of litigation previously, involving petitioners, which has or could have a legal nexus with the issues involved in Public Interest Litigation
  6. Petitioner’s right to appear in a court, except that of filed in Public Law Interest

The Petitioner while filing a Public Interest Litigation Petition shall:

  1. Annexe to the petition an affidavit stating that there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique reason in filing the Public Interest Litigation
  2. File an affidavit undertaking to pay costs as ordered by the Court, if it is ultimately held that the petition is frivolous or has been filed for extraneous considerations or that it lacksgenuineness
  3. File an undertaking that he/it will disclose the source of his/its information, leading to the filing of the Public Interest Litigation, if and when called upon by the Court, to do so.
  4. Annexe to the petition, a copy of the registration certificate and an authorization resolution to file a PIL Petition when the petition is filed by an Association or a like body.

If the Court comes to the conclusion that the petition is genuine but does not come under the scope of Public Interest Litigation, then the Court may divert the petition under the appropriate category and provisions for being dealt with under the law.

It shall also be permissible to the Court to appoint an expert who shall assist the court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact. All the PIL petitions shall be decided by Division Bench which is to be nominated by the Chief Justice.

If it is found by the Court that the petition is frivolous and lacks the genuineness, petitioner shall be liable to pay exemplary costs which could be imposed by the court in order to compensate the party which had to be put to blame due to the procedures undertaken because of the PIL petition. If the ordered costs by the Court are not paid by the petitioner, then the costs shall be reimbursed by the Court through the land revenue.


Filing a PIL is a straightforward and a smooth procedure but needs a lot of research and reasonability. The judicial time has to be protected and therefore the imposition of fine exists. It is not only the requirement of the correct documentation in a Public Interest Litigation matter, but one also has to be equally vigilant and predict the future progress and loopholes which could be extracted.

Article by Mr. Saurabh Pawar in April, 2021 while interning at the Chambers of Advocate Shankarlal Raheja.

Disclaimer: The views herein are personal and while careful attention has been given to ensure that the information is accurate the author assumes no liability or responsibility for any reliance thereon. This article is merely an information-sharing activity and is not a substitute for legal advice. It must be noted that we shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused due to any reliance thereof.