Assignment on Public Interest litigation in Legal World- an analysis an Evaluation

It is ingrained in human nature to stand for the rights of others. This rally justifies the universally accepted premise that human beings are social animals who thrive to uphold the social fabric at all cost for the greater benefit of the society to which they belong. No one wants to see his fellow defenseless, in the face of violation of his inherent and fundamental rights, due to insufficient means. This very notion has led to the revolutionary concept of Public Interest litigation (PIL) which is a brainchild of the west.
The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 provides that it shall be fundamental aim of the government to establish a society free from exploitation. This may always not be possible for a Government like ours to accomplish due to its resource constraints. Hence, it is the social responsibility of people of all strata to work in order to protect the public interest thereby maintaining the social public cohesion. It is a heartening fact that our judiciary has recognized and accepted this relatively new phenomenon in our legal system. The concept denotes cases where conscious citizens or organizations approach the Court in public interest and for the general welfare of the public.

Public interest litigation in its present form constitutes a new chapter in our judicial system. It has acquired a significant degree of importance in the jurisprudence practiced by our courts and has evoked a lively, though somewhat controversial, response in legal circles, in the media and among the general public. In the United States, it is the name "given to efforts to provide legal representation to groups and interests that have been unrepresented or under-represented in the legal process. These include not only the poor and the disadvantaged but ordinary citizens who, because they cannot afford lawyers to represent them, have lacked access to courts, administrative agencies and other legal forums in which basic policy decisions affecting their interests are made". In our own country, this new class of litigation is justified by its protagonists on the basis generally of vast areas in our population of illiteracy and poverty, of social and economic backwardness, and of an insufficient awareness and appreciation of individual and collective rights. These handicaps have denied millions of our countrymen access to justice. Public interest litigation is said to possess the potential of providing such access in the milieu of a new ethos, in which participating sectors in the administration of justice co-operate in the creation of a system which promises legal relief without cumbersome formality and heavy expenditure. In the result, the legal organization has taken on a radically new dimension, and correspondingly new perspectives are opening up before judges and lawyers and state law agencies in the tasks before them. A crusading zeal is abroad, viewing the present as an opportunity to awaken the political and legal order to the objectives of social justice projected in our constitutional system. New slogans fill the air and new phrases have entered the legal dictionary, and we hear of the 'justicing system' being galvanized into supplying justice to the socio-economic disadvantaged. These urges are responsible for the birth of new judicial concepts and the expanding horizon of judicial power. They claim to represent an increasing emphasis on social welfare and a progressive humanitarianism.[1]

It is a fascinating exercise for the Court to deal with public interest litigation because it is a new jurisprudence which the court is evolving, a jurisprudence which demands judicial statesmanship and high creative ability. The frontiers of public are expanding far and wide and new concepts and doctrines which will change the complexion of the law and which were so far embedded in the womb of the future are beginning to be born.[2] This is an innovative strategy which has been evolved by the Supreme Court for the purpose of providing easy access to justice to the weaker sections of humanity and it is a powerful tool in the hands of public-spirited individuals and social action groups for combating exploitation and injustice and securing for the underprivileged segments of society their social and economic entitlements. It is a highly effective weapon in the armory of the law for reaching social justice to the common man.[3]

[1] Pathak, J. in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC 161 (224-25): AIR 1984 SC 802 (83S): (1984) 2 SCR 67.
[2] Per Bhagwali, J. in S.P. Gupta v. Union of India, popularly known as Judges' Transfer case, 1981 Supp SCC 87(219) : AIR 1982 SC 149(195): (1982) 2 SCR 365 ; Forward Construction Co. v. Prabhat Mandal, (1986) 1 SCC 100 (103-04): AIR 1986 SC 391 (392-93).
[3] State of H.P. v. Parent of a Student of Medical College, (1985) 3 SCC 169 (176) : AIR 1985 SC 910 (914); Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC IS (224) : AIR 1984 SC 802 (838) : (1984) 2 SCR 67; M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (1987) 1 SCC 395 : AIR 1987 SC 1086.