The ‘poor’ proxy in public interest litigation4 min read 27 Dec 2017, 04:50 AM IST
The Supreme Court has drifted from its early objective for public interest litigations (PILs), of facilitating access to justice for the poor
It is a familiar story. Courts were faced with the problem that a “large section of the society because of extreme poverty, ignorance, discrimination and illiteracy had been denied justice". These reflections from 2010 in State of Uttaranchal v. Balwant Singh Chaufal describe the Supreme Court’s original intent in permitting public spirited individuals to approach the higher judiciary even in cases where they are not directly affected. The halo around the nearly four-decade-old public interest litigation (PIL) jurisdiction flows from this narrative. Today, however, a dissonance exists between how PILs were envisaged and their current content.
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