In India, the PIL came in fhe late 1970s but acquired its particularly useful shape in the 1980s in the hands of judges like Justice P.N. Bhagwati and Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.
Justice Iyer calls PIL a process of obtaining justice for the people, by voicing people’s grievance through the legal process. The aim of PIL is to give to the common people of this country access to the courts to obtain legal redress.
Article 32 guarantees the right to legal redressed and the Supreme Court might be directly petitioned if any of the fundamental rights are violated.
Article 32(2) empowers the Supreme Court to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo warrantor whichever may be appropriate for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution. It is the duty of the Supreme Court and other courts to do complete justice.
Article 226 empowers the High Courts to issue orders or writs to any person or authority, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warrantor and certiorari for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III (Fundamental Rights) and for any other purpose. A PIL may be filed either in any of the High Court or the Supreme Court.
The Constitution vests these higher courts with enough powers to address the cause of justice through entertaining the PILs.
There is no prescribed format or rules governing the filing of a PIL and there have been occasions when even a postcard was treated as a PIL.
One may send a letter by registered post or file a petition through the free legal service committee of court, or with the help of a lawyer, or through an NGO.