Public-Interest Litigation is litigation for the protection of the public interest. In Indian law, Article 32 of the Indian constitution contains a tool which directly joins the public with judiciary. A PIL may be introduced in a court of law by the court itself, rather than the aggrieved party or another third party. In India, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is directly filed by an individual or group of people in the Supreme Court. Here are some PIL cases that changed India.

1. Separate police lockups for women


This resulted in an order facilitating separate police lockups for women convicts in order to shield them from further trauma and brutality.

2. Beginning of green litigation in India


This judgement delivered on 12th January, 1988, lashed out at civic authorities for allowing untreated sewage from Kanpur’s tanneries making its way into the ganges.

3. 27% Reservation for backward classes


On 16th November, 1992, the Supreme court responded to a PIL filed by lawyer Indira Sahwney and introduced 27% reservation for backward classes in posts and services under the government of India.

4. When the court kept its distance from policy decisions


Supreme court said “Public Interest Litigation was not meant to be a weapon to challenge the financial and economic decisions which were taken by the government in exercise of their administrative power” when NDA’s decision to sell 51% stake in BALCO was challenged via PIL

5. The 2G judgement


This was the result of separate PILs by Subramanian Swamy and Prashant Bhushan and it embarrassed the UPA government. Though some saw it through the prism of ‘judicial overreach’, that didn’t stop the court from scrapping 122 2G licenses.