Delhi

Framing policies is the domain of govt. and not courts: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to constitute a special commission on environment to frame a policy on the principle of ‘one person one tree’, noting that framing policies is the domain of the government and not the courts.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh remarked that, “making a policy with respect to environmental protection and/or issuing guidelines thereunder is purely a matter of policy decision of the government and a very complex phenomenon”.

“It is no longer res integra (points of the law which have not been decided) that a court will not interfere in policy making as the policies are framed based on expert knowledge of the persons concerned in the respective fields,” the Bench said.

It added, “Courts are not equipped with the necessary expertise to substitute their own views and direct formulation of policies tailor-made to suit the requirements of the petitioner in a given case”.

The High Court’s observation came while hearing a petition by one Rahul Bhardwaj, who sought direction to constitute a special commission on environment for bringing the policy on sustainable development including the ‘one person one tree’ scheme.

Mr. Bhardwaj had argued that there should be penalty of not abiding the rules related to protection of environment. He also sought direction to the authorities to fix higher liability on Forest Departments of Union and all States so that penalty can be enforced on citizen who does not maintain a tree in his whole life.

After hearing Mr. Bhardwaj, the Bench said, “It is a settled law that framing policies is the domain of the government and it is not for this court to direct framing of any policy”.

The Bench further said that courts can certainly examine a policy or an action of the Executive, if it is unreasonable, unfair, arbitrary or unlawful or if it is unconstitutional, but cannot issue directions to frame a policy in a particular manner.

Separation of power

“There is a clear separation of power in the scheme of the Constitution of India and the duty to formulate policy is entrusted to the Executive. Predominant role of the court is to expound and interpret the law and not to legislate,” the Bench said.

“In this view, prayers relating to formulation of the policy relating to environmental protection and directing that it be made on the principle of ‘one person one tree’, as suggested by the petitioner cannot be allowed,” the High Court said.

It, however, said that Mr. Bhardwaj could make a comprehensive representation to the authorities towards protection of the environment.


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Printable version | May 28, 2022 6:51:58 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/framing-policies-is-the-domain-of-govt-and-not-courts-delhi-hc/article38315864.ece