How to file a Public Interest Litigation in India? – A guide

Real Estate » How to file a Public Interest Litigation in India? – A guide

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PIL or Public interest litigation is a petition that is filed by any person from the general public for any matter concerning public interest at large to provide justice to the common public. In general, Public Interest Litigation cases are not defined in any statute or in any act, but it was interpreted by judges to consider the intent of large public interest.

Introduction to PIL

Public interest litigation meaning is quite simple. Originally, the term ‘Public Interest Litigation’ was borrowed from the American Jurisprudence, in which it was used to provide legal representation to previously unrepresented categories like the poor, minorities, environmentalists, social workers, etc.

Public interest litigation is the power which is given to the common public by courts through judicial activism. However, anyone filing a PIL in the court must satisfy the court that the petition is being filed for the public interest and not for any personal benefit.

Let us see some matters that are allowed for PIL by courts

  • Non-Payment of wages to workers
  • Exploitation of workers
  • Exploitation of women
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Maintenance of cultural heritage
  • Neglected children
  • Bonded Labour Matters

Difference between Writ Petition and PIL

Generally, people, especially students commonly gets confused between a PIL and a Writ Petition. The basic difference between both is, Writs are filed by individuals or institutions for their personal benefits and not for a public interest, whereas PILs are filed for a larger good.

Also Read: A detailed overview of the types of writs in India

Eligibility to file a PIL

Any Indian citizen can file a PIL, the only condition is that it should not be filed for personal benefit, but for the larger public interest. Sometimes even the Court takes cognizance of a matter if it is of public importance and appoints an advocate to handle the case. LEX Solutions has the best team of experienced advocates who are best at handling PIL cases very effectively.  Any citizen can file a public case by filing a petition:

  • Under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, in the Supreme Court.
  • Under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, in the High Court.
  • Under section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in the Court of Magistrate.

Also Read: Lex Solutions –  Your One-stop destination for all things legal

Where can we file PILs

Any Indian Citizen can file PILs either in the High Court or in the Supreme court.

Procedure for filling a PIL

For filing a PIL, one has to do thorough research and collect all facts. You may also take advice or suggestions from advocates having certain experiences.

  • Before filing PIL, collect all the relevant information and documents to back your case.
  • Collect necessary documents such as title deeds, proof of residence, identity proof, notice, resettlement policy if any and photographs.
  • You can argue in person or appoint an advocate or an organisation to fight the case. In any case, it is advisable to consult an advocate before filing a PIL>
  • List names and addresses of all parties approaching the court.
  • List facts giving rise to a violation of Fundamental Rights.
  • List dates indicating the whole incident.
  • Clearly mention the ‘prayers’ or the relief being sought from the court.
  • If you are filing PIL in the High Court, submit two copies of the petition to the court. Also, a copy of the petition has to be served to each respondent in advance.
  • If you are filing a PIL in the Supreme Court, then you need to submit five copies of a petition before the court. Also, each respondent is to be served with a copy of the petition only when the court issues a notice.

Cost to bear while filing a PIL

As a PIL is for the public good, it is very cheap compared to other court cases. One needs to pay a court fee of Rs 50 for each respondent and affix it to the petition. But, the expense to fight the case depends on the advocate, and the petitioner chooses to fight the case.

Issues that are not eligible to be filed under PIL

As we already know, matters concerning personal interest are not entertained under PIL. The Supreme Court has also issued a set of guidelines according to which the following matters are not allowed under PILs:

  • Service matters
  • Admission to educational institutes
  • Petitions for early hearing of pending cases in Courts.
  • Landlord-tenant matters
  • Matters pertaining to pension and gratuity
  • Matters pertaining to salary
  • Complaints against Central and State government departments and Local Bodies except those relating to items 1 to 10 mentioned in the list of guidelines.

Time taken for closure of a PIL

Time taken for the closure of PILs certainly depends on the case. If the matter argued is of utmost importance pertaining to the lives of humans, human rights violations etc., the court would take up the case immediately, conduct the hearing and dispose of the matter. But generally due to the filing of lots of PILs in the courts, the hearing and closure of the case is a lot time-consuming, and in many cases, it may take years. However, in between the hearings, the court may issue directions to the authorities to perform certain actions as and when needed. Also, in many cases, both parties approach settlements after long hearings. It’s only after the final hearing of both parties that a judgement is given.

As we see, the main aim of PIL is to give the common people access to courts to obtain legal redress. So irrespective of the time taken, people must pursue justice as the courts favour the PILs.

Some remarkable judgements in PILs

  • The Supreme Court in Indian Banks’ Association, Bombay & Ors. vs. M/s Devkala Consultancy Service and Ors held:- “In an appropriate case, where the petitioner might have moved a court in her private interest and for redressal of the personal grievance, the court in furtherance of Public Interest may treat it a necessity to enquire into the state of affairs of the subject of litigation in the interest of justice.” Thus, a private interest case can also be treated as a public interest case.
  • M.C Mehta vs. Union of India: In a Public Interest Litigation act brought against Ganga water pollution so as to prevent any further pollution of Ganga water. The Supreme Court held that petitioner, although not a riparian owner, is entitled to move the court for the enforcement of statutory provisions, as he is the person interested in protecting the lives of the people who make use of Ganga water.
  • Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan: The judgement of the case recognized sexual harassment as a violation of the fundamental constitutional rights of Article 14, Article 15 and Article 21. The guidelines also directed for the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.


Public interest litigation bare act or  Public interest litigation (PIL) refers to litigation undertaken to secure public interest and demonstrates the availability of justice to socially-disadvantaged parties and was introduced by Justice P. N. Bhagwati. It is a relaxation of the traditional rule of locus standi.

According to estimates, 65% of people living in urban areas around the world are tenants. This is also true in India due to the sky-high prices of real estate in the major cities and the large population of migrant workers who live there. Nevertheless, living as a renter can be a peaceful arrangement, but occasionally there are situations where one can run into rental problems and other connected issues, such as receiving an unauthorized eviction notice or the erratic behaviour of the landlord.

Are you, however, a renter who is experiencing such problems or simply curious about what to do if you ever find yourself in a similar situation? In that case, allow us to help you through this blog, which will briefly discuss about the several protections against landowner harassment.

What does illegal eviction of tenants mean?

An illegal eviction, also known as an unlawful termination of tenancy, typically happens when a landowner forbids a tenant from entering a rental property or removes the tenant’s belongings from the property through the use of force, intimidation, or other methods (such as cutting off utilities or changing the locks). However, if the landowners evict you without taking the proper legal action, they are breaking the law.

How Do You Respond When Your Landlord Forcibly Evicts You?

Almost every state has rental control legislation pertaining to tenant protection, and each state has established specific circumstances for which the landlord may lawfully evict the renter. Additionally, a tenant has a legal right under the law to appear in court and defend himself against unlawful eviction, and some of those accessible remedies for tenants are discussed below:

Grounds for eviction

Non-payment of rent, breach of the lease, property damage, and illegal activity are the most typical grounds for evicting a renter. The tenant must therefore review the provisions of the State Rent Control Act to ascertain the grounds for eviction specified in the Act. In addition, if the tenant is being evicted for any reason other than those specified in the Act—which is considered wrongful eviction—they must seek the help of an eviction lawyer and the enforcement agencies to halt this.

Suit for injunction

A renter might be unable to leave a property when asked to do so for a number of reasons, such as having a medical emergency or having his elderly parents live with him. When this happens, the tenant has the option to file a case in the appropriate court to obtain an injunction that will prevent them from being evicted for any other grounds (other than those listed in the State’s Rent Act). Along with the assistance of housing rental lawyers, the renter should take this action, if they are violently evicted without providing them with adequate notice.

Rent Controller

In the event that the tenant receives a notice of eviction on pretences, they should go see the rent controller of the relevant jurisdiction and explain why they believe the notice of eviction is invalid. Additionally, following the tenant eviction laws, the court will summon the tenant, who will then be forced to submit his or her case and the arguments supporting the necessary evidence.

Notice of rent payment

If the landowner claims that he has not received the required rent and lists this as the reason for serving the notice of eviction, the tenant may legitimately ask him or her to send the information to his bank account so that he can conduct the transaction and deposit the outstanding rent. Moreover, after agreeing to it, the landowner must give the tenant the information within 10 days of the date they received the notice.

Also Read: Lex Solutions – Your One-Stop Destination For All Things Legal

Steps that you must follow to legally evict a tenant in India

Because eviction laws differ from state to state, the following are typical recommendations for evicting a renter. Nevertheless, you can contact the tenants lawyer of Lex Solutions if you need any assistance.

Serve the Tenant With a Termination Notice

The tenancy must be terminated before a landlord can evict a tenant for cause, and the landowner shall provide the tenant with the required notice before taking legal action to do so. Three different kinds of termination notices are generally available:

  • Pay Rent or Quit: The tenant is required to pay the rent within a predetermined period (often three to five days) or leave the rented property.
  • Cure or Quit: A breach of the rental agreement or lease must be remedied by the tenant within a set amount of time.
  • Unconditional Quit: Without a chance to correct the offense or pay the rent, the tenant must leave the property.

But to evict a tenant without good reason, the landlord must give the renter a 30- or 60-day notice to leave the premises.

File an Eviction Lawsuit

If the renter does not correct the issue or quit the property within the allotted time, the landowner must initiate an unlawful detainer case in small claims court. Following this, landlords have the right to evict tenants by serving a legal notice to tenants to vacate their premises.

Wait for the Tenant’s Answer

Within the time frame given on the summons, the tenant may “answer” the complaint. The renter may, however, use the response to refute the charges or present a defence. And, for instance, a tenant might claim that the eviction was carried out in retaliation or that the unpaid rent was used to pay for repairs the landlord refused to undertake.

Receive a Judgment for Possession

A default judgment is granted to the landowner if the tenant ignores the eviction notice India. Moreover, the landowner is entitled to take ownership of the property if the renter replies with an answer but the court rules in his or her favor.

Remove the Tenant

Despite having the right to reclaim the property, the landlord is unable to evict a renter without the help of a law enforcement official. Nevertheless, the tenant will be informed of the legal eviction and the number of days they have to leave once such an official receives the judgment and the cost. Moreover, the law enforcement authority may physically evict the tenant if they don’t leave the property in the allotted period.

Also Read: Introduction To The Indian Judicial System And Court Hierarchy

Summing Up

Now that you are aware of the characteristics of evictions and how to deal with them in a nation like India, you must use them as needed. Additionally, as a landowner, you must evict a problematic renter per the law. And, to ensure that you are acting legally, consult a local landlord-tenant law attorney in your area. For such assistance, a legal firm in Chandigarh, lexsolution can offer you a one-stop solution.


  • Can a tenant seek an injunction against the landlord?

According to the state rental rules present in India, a tenant does not have the right to issue an injunction against the landlord. Moreover, injunction procedures are always discretionary, and a court of law cannot grant a perpetual injunction in favour of the plaintiff against the right owner if the plaintiff is only a trespasser.

  • Can police evict a tenant in India?

Even if the renters behave disrespectfully, the police cannot assist in reclaiming the property. However, the only court with the authority to order the eviction of a tenant is the court of the rent controller under whose jurisdiction the property is located. 

  • When a tenant can get the benefit of protection against eviction?

If the tenant can show that the landlord gave his written approval to the subtenant, he is entitled to protection from eviction. Additionally, it disallows any other consent, including implied or oral permission.