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Article 32(1):

The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of fundamental rights is guaranteed.

".... Where a member  of the public acting bona fide moves the Court for enforcement of a fundamental right on behalf of a person or class of persons who on account of poverty or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position, cannot approach the Court for relief, such member of the public may move the Court even by just writing a letter, because it would not be right or fair to expect a person acting pro bono publico to incur expenses out of his own pocket for going to a lawyer and  preparing a regular writ petition of being filed in Court for enforcement of the fundamental right of the poor and deprived sections of the community and in such a case, a letter addressed by him can legitimately be regarded as an 'appropriate' proceeding."

- The Supreme Court of India in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 Supreme Court Cases* 161 (at 187).

Comment

Since the early 1980s, the Supreme Court, conscious of its role under Article 32 of the Constitution, has expanded the conventional boundaries of locus standi to empower large sections of the Indian people-bonded labour, women, children, pavement dwellers, undertrials, etc. - to  access it through letters, postcards and press reports which have all been treated as writ petitions  filed before the Court. Formal writ petitions are then drafted by the Supreme Court Legal Services Cell, acting as a catalyst between the litigant and the Court. Through public interest litigation, the Court has shown procedural flexibility unknown to traditional private law litigation, the Court has shown procedural flexibility unknown to traditional private law litigation, without ignoring the fundamental principle of judicial procedure. The role of the Bar in this regard has been indispensable in initiating and assisting the process of redefining fundamental rights by expanding the frontiers of access to justice.

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