Bom HC | If Judges interfere in academic matters or step into other Organs of State, would that amount to Judicial Over-Reach? Court addresses

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and Ravindra V. Ghuge, J., while addressing a Public Interest Litigation held that stepping into the other domains of State Organs would result into Judicial Over-Reach.

The instant PIL was instituted before this Court by a social activist seeking a direction upon the respondents to spread awareness of the contents of Constitution of India, The Right to Information Act and the Consumer Protection Act among the masses by including such laws as compulsory subjects of education at a higher level of studies.

Taking note of the above stated, Bench pointed out that in Justice K.K. Mathew’s ‘Democracy, Equality and Freedom’, the forward was penned by the former Chief Justice Y.Y. Chandrachud, wherein it was expressed that

“in our present dispensation, a Judge cannot, except for honourable exceptions, lay plausible claim of legal scholarship.”

Bench while considering the above expressed that

“We certainly are not exceptions and, therefore, would never dream of claiming legal or any other scholarship.”

“As Judge, we primarily don the hat of an adjudicator.”

Bench while expressing its’ opinion in the instant matter with regard to the administrative work, added that:

“Having regard to the manifold activities in relation to administrative work that we perforce are bound to discharge, we also don other hats.”

Judicial Over-reach

Further, the Court stated that the petitioner has made an attempt to make the Bench don the hat of an academician and interfere in academic matters, a field where they have little or no expertise.

The above action could be a judicial over-reach and stepping into the domain of the other organs of the State.

Hence, while disposing of the present petition,  Court opined that the matter must be left to the discretion of the experts in the educational field. [Sanjay Bhaskararo Kale v. Union of India,  2021 SCC OnLine Bom 89, decided on 20-01-2021]


Advocates for the parties:

Ms P.S. Talekar, Advocate on behalf of Talekar & Associates for petitioner;

Mr Bhushan Kulkarni, Standing Counsel for respondents 1 & 2; Mr A.R. Kale, A.G.P. for respondents 4 & 5

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