The legitimacy of Social Action Litigation in India: Weaponized for Vendetta and Private Gains.

Vignaesh Baskaran

Associate Editor, Legit


The epistolary jurisdiction has been inducted into the Indian judiciary for the poor to be heard. Largely "Epistolary jurisdiction" is evolved around the welfare of masses as against the individuals. However many prying persons are utilizing for their oblique personal gain. Crooked's are accustomed to finding loopholes in every facet of law. The PIL was no exception, an absolute cakewalk. This mischief vandalized the ulterior purpose of the public interest law.

Lobbying at judiciary

Corporates moving PIL in the supreme court and high courts are tainted predominantly. For the sake of private gains, their petitions are camouflaged under the name of social action litigation. In the case of Kalyaneshwari v. Union of India[1], the PIL was initiated on the behest of the petitioner company to take out the Competition. Their business rivalry was the "cause" for the PIL to be initiated. The hidden agenda is for them to gain at all quadrants.

The apex court has made its stand clear against the misuse by activists. These activist disguised as the champion of a public cause. In reality, they are mere lobbyist to large corporations. As supreme court[2] has raised the issue in the case of Centre For Public Interest vs U.O.I.& Ors on 8 April, 2016.

Personal interest

Private disputes are the subject matter of another forum, in-lieu PIL cannot be substituted.

Moving social action litigation as for settling their score in the highest court of law shall be condemned. In Chhetriya Pradushan Mukti Sangharsh Samiti[3] the Court withheld from entertaining PIL for personal animosity. Raunaq International Ltd case[4] the Pil was filed for the sale of a plot by the publication by private parties.


In the aftermath of Justice Loya's death, the supreme court has witnessed the infamous protest by senior-most judges. PIL[5] was filed for probe into Justice Loya's death. Even many politicians presented their pleas before the Hon'ble court. It was initiated, targeting certain judges of the very same court. It had both political and personal vested interest.


Many elites making PIL to their advantage. Elites[6] are the ones who have the final say from filing the pills to controlling and bending it according to their needs, priorities. Cleary SAL[7] has become self-centred around elites. The elites are playing epistolary jurisprudence for oblique gain. At last Judicial betrayal being carried out by these meaningless social action litigation (SAL).


The social interest litigation from guiding force to silent revolution went rogue in the recent past. The lobbyists, elites and wayfarers are the benefactors of this new public interest law. Therefore this dark phase shall cease to exist for epistolary jurisdiction's resurgence.


[1] WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 260 OF 2004, Kalyaneshwari vs U.O.I. & Ors on 21 January, 2011 [2] [3] Chhetriya Pardushan Mukti ... vs State Of U.P And Ors on 13 August, 1990 [4] Raunaq International Ltd vs I.V R. Construction Ltd. And Ors on 9 December, 1998 [5] Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union Of India on 19 April, 2018 [6] Chapter 7(i) titled "Criticism of PIL" Shodhganga [7] Social action litigation - "SAL"

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