Friday, November 13, 2009

PIL Increasingly Favouring Advantaged Groups

Varun Gauri has a new paper out that systematically goes through all public interest litigation decided by the Supreme Court since the 1980's. As Gauri writes "the analysis finds that win rates for fundamental rights claims are significantly higher when the claimant is from an advantaged social group than when he or she is from a marginalized group, which constitutes a social reversal, both from the original objective of public interest litigation and from the relative win rates in the 1980s."

I hope this stirs even more debate about what the purpose of PIL is. If it is primarily for disadvantaged groups that often have difficulty securing their rights through India's other political institutions then how can the Court get back to focusing on this goal. Unfortunately, the details of all these cases aren't readily available from the Supreme Court so it's difficult to come to too many conclusions about why this trend has happened - i.e. is it the quality or type of claims being brought by the respective groups that accounts for some of this change. However, the paper does broadly support those critics of the Court who say it now has a middle class bias and is less receptive to the marginalized then it was just 10 or 20 years ago. A synopsis of the paper can be found here and the actual paper here.

5 comments:

Alok said...

Better a court with a middle class bias than one which clears out its schedule for 4 weeks to hear a matter which is basically a fight between two brothers for government property and who gets to profit from it...


It could also be a damning indictment of how the Court could not (and possibly cannot) do much when it comes to the utterly marginalized sections of society...

tagskie said...

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Pranav Sachdeva said...

thanks for this post.

Tom Bailey said...

I had no idea some of this stuff was going on. This is my first visit to your blog. It is interesting reading.

captainjohann said...

After the Erawady tragedy when 28 mentallyill persons were burnt alive,the Supremecourt took suo moto action in year 2001 and passed an interim order in 2002.The main provisions like inclusion of mentalillness in the National trust act 1998, creation of mental health institutions like NIMHANS are yet to be carried out in year 2009.What is the use of orders if NOT implemented?