There are 1,598 public interest litigations pending before Supreme Court with the oldest of them having been filed 23 years ago, the apex court has said in its response to an RTI query.
The oldest pending PIL with WP(C) 537/1992 was filed by Sureshwar D Sinha and relates to water pollution linked to industries, domestic sources, sewage, river and sea.
In response to Lucknow-based RTI applicant Sanjay Sharma’s query, SC said, “Total number of pending public interest litigation cases as on July 20, 2015, is 1,598 out of which 553 writ petitions pertaining to public interest litigations are pending.
“As per records, the oldest public interest litigation whose status is pending for disposal is WP(C) 537/1992 and its date of filing is July 15, 1992,” it said.
Data “which could be retrieved” from the apex court’s computers show that from two PILs filed in 1994, the number had touched 905 in 2014 and, in 2015, till the time of the reply to the RTI application, a total of 348 PILs had been filed.
The rate of disposal of PILs by the apex court has also shot up — from one PIL disposed of in 1996 to 889 disposed of during the last year. Thus far in 2015, SC said, 357 PILs have been disposed of.
Supreme Court had defined the term ‘Public Interest Litigation’ in SP Gupta Vs Union of India allowing parties other than the aggrieved ones to approach courts to seek legal remedy in cases where public interest is at stake.
The principle of PILs is founded on Article 39A of the Constitution to protect and deliver prompt social justice with the help of law.