"Via the strategy of Public Interest Litigations (PILs), the Supreme Court has been able to remove all constitutional restraints on its powers. The relief to weaker segments of the society is only the by-product of this strategy." To what extent do you agree with this view? Give reasoned opinion.

Published: March 14, 2017

Over the years, the social action dimension of PIL has been eclipsed by another type of “public cause litigation”. It is a litigation in which court intervenes for correcting the actions or omissions of the executive or departments of government or public bodies. This intervention is seen by the critics as a strategy of court to remove constitutional restraints on its power and relief to weaker segment is just the by-product of this strategy.
 However prima facie, it is  difficult to agree with the above statement as the Supreme Court has merely liberalized the traditional rule of standing  i.e locus standi, but in doing so it has not transgressed any constitutional limitation .
In many cases, the Supreme Court has entered into domain traditionally reserved for the executive or legislature but this was done to influence the quality of administration .Example of this kind of intervention can be seen in directing the executive or legislature

  • To undertake the most complex engineering of interlinking rivers in India
  • To take measures to prevent ragging of college Fresher
  • To take measures to prevent accidents at unmanned level crossing
  • Ordered the exclusion of tourists in the core area of tiger reserve

With PIL, the common man, the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society got easy access to the Court with the help of social activists. Hence relief to the weaker section is not the by-product, rather it is the most important reason for the existence of PIL.

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