SUO MOTU COGNIZANCE OF PIL
- April 12, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
SUO MOTU COGNIZANCE OF PIL
Context: ‘Health emergency’: Gujarat HC initiates PIL over covid situation
Suo Moto Cognizance
- A Suo Moto cognizance is a Latin term which means an action taken by a government agency, court or other central authority on their own apprehension.
- A court takes a Suo Moto Cognizance of a legal matter when it receives information about the violation of rights or breach of duty through media or a third party’s notification.
- In India, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and Article 226 of the Indian Constitution lay down the provisions for filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India in Supreme Court and High Courts respectively.
- This has given rise to the court’s’ power to initiate legal action on their cognizance of a matter.
- Suo Moto’s actions by Indian courts are a reflection of activism by the judiciary and captivated the general public with the speedy delivery of justice by the courts.
Public interest Litigation
- Public interest Litigation (PIL) means litigation filed in a court of law, for the protection of “Public Interest”, such as Pollution, Terrorism, Road safety, Constructional hazards etc.
- Any matter where the interest of public at large is affected can be redressed by filing a Public Interest Litigation in a court of law.
- Public interest litigation is not defined in any statute or in any act. It has been interpreted by judges to consider the intent of public at large.
- Public interest litigation is the power given to the public by courts through judicial activism. However, the person filing the petition must prove to the satisfaction of the court that the petition is being filed for a public interest and not just as a frivolous litigation by a busy body.
- The court can itself take cognizance of the matter and proceed suo motu or cases can commence on the petition of any public spirited individual.
Some of the matters which are entertained under PIL are:
- Bonded Labour matters
- Neglected Children
- Non-payment of minimum wages to workers and exploitation of casual workers
- Atrocities on women
- Environmental pollution and disturbance of ecological balance
- Food adulteration
- Maintenance of heritage and culture.
Who Can File a PIL and Against Whom?
- Any citizen can file a public case by filing a petition:
Under Art 32 of the Indian Constitution, in the Supreme Court.
Under Art 226 of the Indian Constitution, in the High Court.
Under sec. 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in the Court of Magistrate.
- However, the court must be satisfied that the Writ petition fulfils some basic needs for PIL as the letter is addressed by the aggrieved person, public spirited individual and a social action group for the enforcement of legal or Constitutional rights to any person who are not able to approach the court for redress.
- A Public Interest Litigation can be filed against a State/ Central Govt., Municipal Authorities, and not any private party.