Till 1960sand70s the concept of litigation followed a primitive approach. It was considered as a private pursuit for fulfilling private vested interest.
The litigants were supposed to have affected or would be affected from the act to be impunged . This principle is commonly known as locus standi or standing of use. Locus standi is a Latinphrase meaning ” place to stand”. according to Black’s law Dictionary locus standi means the right to bring an action or tbe heard in the given forum.
this concept of locus standi had become a major hurdle for underprivileged section of the society. Poverty, ignorance and disability made realisation of justice a distant dream for them.In Municipal Council, Ratlam vs Vardichand, 1980 case, the residents of a locality within the limits of Ratlam municipality were accorded standing to move the magistrate under section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code to direct the municipality to do its duty under section 123 of the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act 1961 and cover open drains and clean up the stench in their area.
Justice Krishna Iyer J made a significant observation in that case He said:”… shifting the centre of gravity of justice from the traditional individualism of locus standi to the community orientation of public interest litigation is a constitutional mandate enshrined in the preamble.”Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Prafulchandra Natwarlal Bhagwati was one of the torchbearer in libralizing the concept of locus standi. Bhagwati in SP Gupta v Union of India, 1981 expressed the concept of public litigation as follows:” Where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to a determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any constitutional or legal right or any burden is imposed in contravention of any constitutional or legal provision or without authority of law or any such legal wrong or legal injury or illegal burden is threatened and such person or determinate class of persons by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position to approach the court for relief, any member of public can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the High Court under Article 226 and in case any breach of fundamental rights of such persons or determinate class of persons, in this court under Article 32 seeking judicialredress for the legal wrong or legal injury caused to such person or determinate class of persons.” Indian judiciary system influenced the environmental jurispredence by interprating various regulations of Indian Constitution and giving judgements to protect the environment.It also adopted innovating appoaches to make sure that the judgements do not remain empty promises and dicta are enforced.