ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the misconception of some lawyers and journalists that public interest litigation is unnecessarily cluttering up the files of the apex court, the Supreme Court has observed that it gives an opportunity to redress an injustice done to the poor and weaker sections of the community whose welfare is and must be the prime concern of the state or the public authority. International Commission of Jurists last month while commending the Supreme Court for its concern for human rights including the institution of suo moto procedures, in its reports stated that the apex court of Pakistan is exceeding the limits of a reasonable use of this procedures, which leads to a corrosion of the rule of law and a blurring of the constitutional separation of powers. The ICJ observed that the members of the bars appeared divided over the use of suo moto proceeding by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, as some lawyers have supported it, while some others and even the retired judges felt that the Supreme Court had gone too far and that the practice endangered the rule of law. However, the court in judgement on Karachi target killing, delivered on October 6, 2011, stated that some people criticising the judiciary said that staggering arrears of cases which were pending for long years, should be taken up by the court. But the Chief Justice held that that was totally perverse view smacking of elitist and 'status quoist approach. Those who are decrying public interest litigation do not seem to realise that courts are not meant only for the rich and the well-to-do, for the landlord and the gentry, for the business magnate and the industrial tycoon, but they exist also for the poor and the down-trodden the have-nots and the handicapped and the half-hungry millions of our countrymen, the court added. It also said that so far the courts have been used only for the purpose of vindicating the rights of the wealthy and the affluent and only these privileged classes, which have been able to approach the courts for protecting their vested interests. The court held that it is only the moneyed, who have so far had the golden key to unlock the doors of justice. But, now for the first time the portals of the court are being thrown open to the poor and the down- trodden, the ignorant and the illiterate, and their cases are coming before the courts through public interest litigation which has been made possible by the recent judgment delivered by this Court in Judges Appointment and Transfer cases. The court observed that the task of restructuring the social and economic order is necessary so that social and economic rights become a meaningful reality for the poor and lowly sections of the community is one which legitimately belongs to the legislature and the executive, but mere initiation of social and economic rescue programmes by the executive and the legislature would not be enough and it is only through multidimensional strategies including public interest litigation that these social and economic rescue programmes can be made effective. Public interest litigation, as we conceive it, is essentially a co-operative or collaborative effort on the part of the petitioner, the State or public authority and the court to secure observance of the constitutional or legal rights, benefits and privileges conferred upon the vulnerable sections of the community and to reach social justice to them. The State or public authority against whom public interest litigation is brought should be as much interested in ensuring basic human rights, constitutional as well as legal, to those who are in a socially and economically disadvantaged position, as the petitioner who brings the public interest litigation before the Court. The state or public authority which is arrayed as a respondent in public interest litigation should, in fact, welcome it, as it would give it an opportunity to right a wrong or to redress an injustice done to the poor and weaker sections of the community whose welfare is and must be the prime concern of the State or the public authority.