Delhi: Overturning a Himachal High Court decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (20.4.2011) cautioned High Courts against meddling or quashing cabinet decisions of state governments on policy matters.
Double bench of the apex court consisting of Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan allowed an appeal of the state government against the Himachal High Court judgment of quashing of a decision that there would be no admission to three courses being taught by HP Nizi Vyavsayik Prishikshan Kendra Sangh.
In this case, the state cabinet had taken a decision restraining private education institutes from running the curses in three streams â€“ Arts & Craft, Library Science and Physical Training on the ground that those were no longer relevant in modern day context.
The High Court, acting on a petition from the Sangh, quashed the cabinet decision not to permit the institutes from offering these courses and also issued directions to the state government.
Writing for the bench Justice Sathasivam said:â€œWe are satisfied that the High Court was not justified in interfering with the cabinet decision which was not the issue or challenge in the petition.”
“The court does not substitute its views in the decision of the state government with regard to policy matters. Infact the court must refuse to sit as appellate authority or super legislature to weigh the wisdom of legislation or policy decision of the government unless it runs counter to the mandate of the constitution.”
“The decision of the cabinet generally ought not to be interfered with in judicial review so lightly as has been done in the present case.”
“The quashing of the cabinet decision, without analyzing the pros and cons in the manner seeks to restrict the states constitutional authority and power to frame policy especially in such vital areas like imparting technical education is not acceptable,” said the bench.
“As for human resource, especially manpower requirement in various professional and technical fields, â€œthe government is free to frame its policy, alter or modify the same as the needs of society. In such matters, the courts cannot interfere lightly as if the government is unaware of the situation.”
“The High Court has lost sight of the fact that education is a dynamic system and courses/ subjects have to keep changing with regard to market demand, employability, availability of infrastructure etc. No institute can have a legitimate right or expectation to run a particular course forever as it is the pervasive power and authority vested in the government to frame policy and guidelines for progressive and legitimate growth of society and create a balance in the arena inclusive of imparting technical education from time to time,” the bench observed.
Someone in this country is trying to draw lines of influence and turf definition as for the roles of executive and judiciary or executive, judiciary and the legislature. The defining lines have become hazy due to undesirable usurpation by the more active organs of the State on the territory of the others. It is a great decision and judicial machinery apparatus at various levels should take note of the fact that their role is to interpret the laws of the land as laid down by the Legislature. The judicial machinery will be within its territory and rights to pull up the executive for not effectively carrying out the implementation of the laws of the land, and the matter should rest at that.