In April 2008 when a five-judge bench headed by Justice KG Balakrishnan upheld 27% reservation for OBC in higher education institutions, Justice Dalveer Bhandari was the lone dissenting voice. While he gave the then HRD minister Arjun Singh a clean chit to implement the reservation for OBCs, he criticised the government for straying away from the constitutional mandate to build a casteless and classless society.
While reprimanding the government for not fulfilling its duty to provide free compulsory education, he had then observed: "Government cannot be trusted; that is precisely why we divide its powers into separate organs…Separation of powers is an axiom of democracy."
The bench headed by him has been vigorously pursuing the cause of the homeless and those living below the poverty line. It was at his instance that the government was forced to initiate steps and prevent the rotting of foodgrain. "Give it to the hungry poor instead of it (grains) going down the drain," he had told the government during a hearing. He has passed a detailed order to revamp the existing public distribution system (PDS) and plug the loopholes.
His bench banned construction of new religious structures on public land. Calling them encroachments, the court had warned local officials would be punished if unauthorised structures came up. The court agreed with the government suggestion not to remove the existing illegal shrines in view of law and order problems.
His court has been monitoring the construction of night shelters. The approach adopted by the bench has brought relief to several homeless sleeping on cold pavements. "Razing night shelters in peak winter is insensitive," he had said, while pulling up the DDA for pulling down shelters.