At a time when judicial activism is a much-talked about issue, the Delhi high court has said that even if courts shall not interfere in policy matters of the government, they are “catalyst for change”.
“While courts cannot be and should not be makers of policy, they can certainly be catalysts, when there is a need for a policy or a change in policy,” said a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri.
“Where an issue involving public interest has not engaged the attention of those concerned with policy, or where the failure to take prompt decision on a pending issue is likely to be detrimental to public interest, courts will be failing in their duty if they do not draw attention of the authorities concerned to the issue involved in appropriate cases”, the bench added.
The court was hearing a PIL demanding grant of rail travel concession to all persons suffering from disability.
At present it is extended only to orthopedically handicapped/paraplegic, mentally challenged, blind, deaf and dumb.
Questioning the theory of the railway ministry that concession to disabled was limited on grounds of financial constraints, court asked how it justified concession to a limited category.
The court is of the view that all disabled who need an escort on train be extended concession.
“We would like to clarify that if a particular kind of disability is brought before the court and if it finds that such a disability falls in the same class for which the railways have already granted concession, then in those cases, the court would not be powerless in extending the concession.
“We thus make it clear that we are not accepting the argument of the railway that the concession granted is a policy matter per se predicted on financial implication”, the court added.