The working conditions in a stone quarry in Himachal Pradesh was inhuman. When a voluntary organization challenged the same before the High Court, the quarry owner questioned the locus standi of the voluntary organization, Decide.
In ‘Bandhu Mukti Morcha Vs. Union of India’, an organization dedicated to the cause of release of bounded labours informed the Supreme Court through a letter that they conducted a survey of the stone-quarries situated in Faridabad District, in the State of Haryana and found that there were a large number of labours working in these stone-quarries under “inhuman and intolerable conditions” and many of them were bonded labours.
The petitioners prayed that a writ be issued for proper implementation of the various provisions of the Constitution and statutes with a view to ending the misery, suffering and helplessness of these labours, and release of bonded labourers.
The Court treated the letter as a writ-petition, and appointed a Commission consisting of two advocates to visit these stone-quarries and make an inquiry and report to the Court about the existence of bonded labourers.
The Court held that where a public interest litigation alleging the existence of bonded labourers is filed, it is not proper on the part of the Government to raise preliminary objection. On the contrary, the Government should welcome an enquiry by the Court so that if it is found that there are bonded labourers or workers living inhuman condition, such a situation can be set right by the Government.
In the above problem, the quarry owner cannot question the locus standi of the voluntary organization, as it is a matter relating to the interest and welfare of the section of the public.
Further, in 1982, the Supreme Court conceded that the public interest litigations are unusual measures were warranted to enable people the full realization of not merely their civil and political rights, but the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights.
In the case of People’s Union for Democratic Rights Vs. Union of India, AIR 1983 SC 1473, the Supreme Court held that a third party could directly petition the Court and seek its intervention in a matter where another party’s fundamental rights were being violated.