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PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION AS A JUDICIAL INSTRUMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION – A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW

By C.S. Ullasan & Dr. Rajesh

Being poor, abused or belonging to socially backward or economically inadequate circumstances, are situations which call for help, support and assistance from the abled sections of the society. “Public Interest Litigation” is a judicial provision, that enables the citizens to legally support their fellow citizens, who are in compromising situations or in need of external backing. ‘Public Interest Litigation’ as it is given by its literal meaning, enables an individual or a group to file a litigation on behalf of or in favor of an individual or a group, in circumstances which include a public cause. Beginning with the explanation about the concept of public interest litigation, the paper attempts to bring in the developmental stages of the concept in the Indian Judicial Spectrum. Peeking into the constitutional provisions that support ‘public interest litigation’, the ad hoc judicial set up as evolved through diverse jurisdictional comments and judgements, the national judicial framework and the procedural setup of public interest litigation is covered in the paper. The authors have attempted to highlight the pros and cons of the public interest litigation, from legal as well as social dimensions. The paper is concluded by highlighting the importance of ethical and righteous interventions by the people, judiciary and the state, to uphold this gracious practice of legal fellowship.

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