PILs important, but should not be filed at the drop of a hat: VP Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Sep 02, 2018, 12:24 PM IST
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File photo of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are important in ensuring protection of civil rights, but they should not be filed at the drop of a hat, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said Saturday.

Urging lawyers to play a much larger role than their conventional duties, the vice president asked them to make people aware of their rights and duties as well as remedies which are available to them. 

In today's world, lawyers will have to undertake several roles in society and have to discharge several jobs directly or indirectly connected with law, he added.

"Let me make it clear. I am not a votary of filing of public interest litigations (PILs) at the fall of a hat. But PILs filed in the Supreme Court or High Court for enforcement of fundamental rights are important in ensuring civil rights. 

"That would mean that the lawyers have to play a much larger role than the conventional roles assigned to them. They have to make the people aware of their rights and duties as well as remedies which are available to them when they are exploited," the vice president said.

He was addressing the gathering after presenting Tenth Law Teachers Day Awards at a function organized by Society of Indian Law Firms & Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training (SILF-MILT).

Attorney General of India K K Venugopal, his predecessor Mukul Rohatgi, Prof S Sivakumar, member, Law Commission, were present on the occasion.

Pointing out that new types of cases like anti-dumping and intellectual property violations need holistic knowledge of economics of pricing and the market conditions, among others, he said legal education has to be alive to these problems to address the changing roles of a legal practitioner.

He also emphasised the need to reform and impart quality legal education.

Referring to the scant attention paid to law of torts in India, he said it protects people who become victims of negligence by another party. 

"In many developed countries like the US, it is an important branch of law. All of us are aware of how pharmaceutical and tobacco companies have to part with huge damages if negligence is proved in the court of law. May be the time has come for us to invoke such liabilities in the Indian context as well to protect the genuine interests of consumers," he said.