Being a Public Interest Litigation maven, he has filed more than 50 PILs in the Supreme Court and different High Courts of India. Known for securing the significant public interests and fighting for social economic and political justice, particularly for vulnerable, socially, economically disadvantaged sections of society, Ashwini Upadhyay has been making every endeavor to take up wider issues affecting the public at large through taking recourse to the constitutional statutory rights of citizens.
He is unwaveringly committed to fight for the defense of the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights. He is always on his mettle to fight for the sanctity of the constitution and law of the land. A stalwart in his own right, Upadhyay is reckoned to be an admiring figure for PIL activists and known as the PIL Man. Beside Electoral Reform, Education Reform, Police Reform and Judicial Reform, Upadhyay is also striving for Gender Justice, Gender Equality and Dignity of Women.
Ashwini Upadhyay is a firm believer in the equal access to jurisdiction particularly about millions of destitute and backward masses stricken by illiteracy, poverty and ignorance. He possesses the courage of his convictions and is the bitter opponent of corruption and judicial vilification, besides being the proponent of judicial activism. Though Upadhyay is a BJP Spokesperson, yet he gives a miss to attending news conference, because he is rattling engrossed in fighting PILs which have wider and consequential impact on the Indian society. He is disposed to pursue the most pragmatic streak; therefore, his most of the PILs has been accepted and has never earned Court’s chastisement for moving frivolous PILs.
Ashwini Upadhyay is adept at not only successfully and efficiently dealing with all forms of Writs and Special Leave Petition (SLPs) but also tactfully handling Civil Suits, Criminal Appeals as well as Constitutional matters within the Supreme Court as well as several High Courts encompassing Delhi High Court, Allahabad High Court, Rajasthan High Court, Uttarakhand High Court, Punjab & Haryana High Court. Being a Member of the Supreme Court Bar Association, he has notched up insight into the nuances and nitty-gritty of National Human Rights Commission, Arbitration as well as various Commissions and Tribunals.
Despite having his affiliation with Bharatiya Janata Party, he has never filed any politically motivated PIL but socially oriented landmark Petitions, which have widespread implications on Indian society and spearheaded revolution in the arena of litigation pertaining to larger public issues, especially in the fields of human rights. Upadhyay stands on the fence therefore some of his PILs have not gone down well with his party, though he remains a favorite PIL activist whose litigations kick-started in the Supreme Court several significant observations on the issues which are dear to BJP and the Sangh Parivar.
Advocate Upadhyay has manifested fearlessness and his judicial legerdemain in filing a number of supremely important Public Interest Litigation, a few worth to name:
• PIL to declare Article 35A and 370 of the Constitution invalid, void and unconstitutional. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court with Centre yet to file its response.
• PIL to declare Constitution and Flag of the J&K invalid and void. Matter is pending in Supreme Court. Government has yet to file response.
• PIL to declare Triple Talaq invalid and void. SC declared it invalid and void and accordingly the Central Government brought an ordinance.
• PIL to declare Polygamy, Nikah-Halala, Nikah-Mutah, Nikah-Misyar and Sharia Court invalid and void. The Apex Court is waiting for Centre’s response.
• PIL to implement Uniform Civil Code in spirit of the Article 44 for all citizens throughout country. Supreme Court directed to approach Government and accordingly matter is referred to the Law Commission.
• PIL to deport illegal immigrants including Bangladeshis and Rohingyas within year and make illegal immigration a cognizable offence.
• PIL to declare Hindu as ‘Minority’ in 8 States i.e. Lakshadweep (2.5%) Mizoram (2.75%) Nagaland (8.75%) Meghalaya (11.53%) J&K (28.44%) Arunachal Pradesh (29%) Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%). Matter is pending before National Minority Commission.
• PIL to make “Two Child Norm” a mandatory criteria for contesting elections, forming political party, becoming political office bearer and applying for jobs in all government department including judiciary. Supreme Court directed Upadhyay to approach Central Government.
• PIL to establish Special Courts to decide criminal cases related to Legislators and Public Servants within one year.
• PIL to debar convicted persons from contesting election, forming political party and becoming political office bearer for lifetime. Presently there is only six years ban on contesting election but no ban on becoming office bearer. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court. Election Commission is supporting the PIL but Government is opposing it.
• PIL to prescribe minimum qualification and maximum age limit for contesting election. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
• PIL to link movable and immovable property documents with AADHAAR to curb Corruption, Black Money generation and Benami Transaction. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court because Central Government has not filed its reply till date
• PIL to appoint a Lokpal at Centre, Lokayukta in States and provide a Citizen Charter in every department to ensure time bound delivery of goods and services and redressal of grievances in time bound manner.
• PIL to de-register the political parties, which do not contest election, or accept donation in cash more than 2000 rupees per person per year; or accept total donation of either more than 10 crore rupees or more than 10% total donation in cash, whichever is less. Supreme Court directed Upadhyay to approach Election Commission.
• PIL to repeal Police Act 1861 and implement Model Police Act 2006 and Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 22.09.2006 on Police Reform. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
• PIL to frame National Policy to promote and propagate Hindi language and make its study compulsory for all the children aged 6-14 years (students of I – VIII standard) throughout the Country. Supreme Court directed Upadhyay to approach Central Government.
• PIL to restrict misuse of religion by contesting candidates and political parties for electoral gain and debar such person from contesting election, forming political parties and becoming political office bearer.
• PIL to implement Right to Equal Education (RTEE) in place of Right to Education (RTE) for children aged 6-14 years throughout the Country.
• PIL to implement “One Nation One Education Board” in substitution of existing multi-board system viz. Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Board and Central Board of Secondary Education Board.
• PIL to introduce common textbook having chapters on Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties, Directive Principles and make its study compulsory for all the children aged 6-14 years throughout the country.
• PIL to use Common Electoral Rolls for Parliament, State Assembly and Local Body Elections and Totalizer for counting the votes and Post Offices as the Nodal Agency for voter registration and verification. Matter is pending in the Supreme Court and the Centre is opposing the plea.
• PIL to reduce pendency of cases from 15 to 3 years and plan Annual Calendar in such a way so that the Courts including Supreme Court function at least 225 days per year and 6 hours per day. SC declined it.
• PIL to prohibit production and sale of liquors and other intoxicating drinks and drugs throughout the Country. SC declined it.
• PIL to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as “Health Day” in place of “Polio Day” for educating citizens about ill-effects of cigarette, tobacco, liquors and other intoxicating drinks and harmful drugs.
• PIL to publish Name, Qualification, Criminal Antecedents and Property Details in three Newspapers and three News Channels. Election Commission directed political parties and candidates to comply it.
• PIL to establish All India Judicial Services for the appointment of Judges in District Court on the lines of IAS and IPS.
Also Read: THE 50 LANDMARK PILs OF PIL MAN OF INDIA