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Friday, January 9, 2015

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9996 OF 2014 [Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No. 480 of 2012] Census Commissioner & Others ... Appellants Versus R. Krishnamurthy ... Respondent

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9996 OF 2014
               [Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No. 480 of 2012]


      Census Commissioner & Others                 ... Appellants
                                   Versus
      R. Krishnamurthy                                        ... Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T

      Dipak Misra, J.
           The present appeal depicts  and,  in  a  way,  sculpts  the  non-
      acceptance of conceptual limitation in every  human  sphere  including
      that of adjudication.  No adjudicator or a Judge can conceive the idea
      that the sky is the limit or for that matter there is  no  barrier  or
      fetters in one’s individual perception, for judicial vision should not
      be allowed to  be  imprisoned  and  have  the  potentiality  to  cover
      celestial zones.  Be it ingeminated,  refrain  and  restrain  are  the
      essential virtues in the arena of adjudication because they  guard  as
      sentinel so  that  virtuousness  is  constantly  sustained.   Not  for
      nothing,  centuries back Francis Bacon[1] had to say thus:-
           “Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more  reverend  than
           plausible, and more advised than confident.   Above  all  things,
           integrity is their portion and proper virtue......Let the  judges
           also remember that Solomon’s throne was  supported  by  lions  on
           both sides: let them be lions, but yet lions under the throne.”


  2. Almost half a century  back  Frankfurter,  J.[2]  sounded  a  note  of
     caution:-
           “For the Highest exercise of  judicial  duty  is  to  subordinate
           one’s personal pulls and one’s views to the law of which  we  are
           all guardians-those impersonal convictions that make a society  a
           civilized community, and not the victims of personal rule.”


  3. In this context, it is seemly to reproduce the warning of Benjamin  N.
     Cardozo in The Nature  of  the  Judicial  process[3]  which  rings  of
     poignant and inimitable expression:-
            “The Judge even when he is free, is still not wholly  free.   He
            is not to innovate at pleasure.   He  is  not  a  knight  errant
            roaming at will in pursuit of his own  ideal  of  beauty  or  of
            goodness.  He  is  to  draw  his  inspiration  from  consecrated
            principles.  He is not to yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague
            and unregulated benevolence.  He is  to  exercise  a  discretion
            informed by tradition, methodized  by  analogy,  disciplined  by
            system, and subordinated to ‘the primordial necessity  of  order
            in social life’.”


  4. In Tata Cellular V. Union of India (1994) 6  SCC  651,  while  dealing
     with the concept of judicial review, this Court referred to a  passage
     worded by Chief Justice Neely, which is as follows:-
        ‘I have very few illusions about my own limitations as a judge  and
        from those limitations I generalize to the inherent limitations  of
        all appellate courts reviewing rate cases.  It must  be  remembered
        that this Court sees approximately 1262  cases  a  year  with  five
        judges.  I am not an accountant,  electrical  engineer,  financier,
        banker, stock broker, or systems management  analyst.   It  is  the
        height of folly to expect judges intelligently  to  review  a  5000
        page  record  addressing  the   intricacies   of   public   utility
        operation.’


  5. The fundamental intention of referring to the aforesaid statements may
     at various times in the  history  of  law  is  to  recapitulate  basic
     principles that have to be followed by a Judge, for certain sayings at
     times become necessitous to be told and re-narrated.  The present case
     exposits such a situation, a sad one.
  6. The chronology has its own relevance in the instant case.  One Dr.  E.
     Sayedah preferred W.P No. 25785 of 2005 in the High  Court  of  Madras
     for issue of a writ of certiorari for quashment of the order passed by
     the  Central  Administrative  Tribunal  in  O.A.  No.3/2002   on   the
     foundation that when there is no Scheduled  Tribe  population  in  the
     Union  Territory  of  Pondicherry  and  there   is   no   Presidential
     notification under Article 342 of  the  Constitution  of  India  there
     cannot be any reservation  for  Scheduled  Tribe  in  the  said  Union
     Territory and, therefore, the appointment  of  the  applicant  in  the
     Original Application who was appointed solely  on  the  base  that  he
     belonged to Scheduled Tribe was  illegal.   However,  the  High  Court
     declined to interfere with the appointment considering the  length  of
     service but observed that the  appointee  was  not  entitled  for  any
     reservation in promotion.  The High Court also recorded certain  other
     conclusions which are really not relevant  for  the  present  purpose.
     The direction that really propelled the problem is as follows:-
           “When it is the position that after 1931, there  had  never  been
           any caste-wise enumeration or tabulation and when there  can  not
           be any dispute that  there  is  increase  in  the  population  of
           SC/ST/OBC manifold after  1931,  the  percentage  of  reservation
           fixed on the basis of population in  the  year  1931  has  to  be
           proportionately increased, by conducting caste-wise census by the
           Government in the interest of the weaker sections of the society.
            We direct the Census Department of the Government  of  India  to
           take all such measures towards conducting the  caste-wise  census
           in the country at the earliest and in a time bound manner, so  as
           to achieve the goal of social justice in its true sense, which is
           the need of the hour.”


      7.    At this juncture, to continue the chronology, it is pertinent to
      mention that a Writ Petition No. 21172/2009 was filed before the  High
      Court of Judicature at Madras, which was  disposed  of  on  21.1.2010.
      While disposing of the writ petition, the High Court had  directed  as
      follows:
           “6.   The second respondent, has filed a counter and in paragraph
           5 thereof, it is stated that the second respondent have taken  up
           the matter with the Ministry of Social Justice  and  Empowerment,
           as the issues relating to SCs,  STs  and  OBCs;  are  within  the
           domain  of  that  Ministry.   The   learned   counsel   for   the
           respondents,  on  the  instructions  of  the  Regional  Director,
           Chennai from the office of the second respondent, states that the
           petitioner will got a reply from  the  respondents  within  eight
           weeks from today.  We hope that the respondents will consider the
           representation of the petitioner Association in  all  seriousness
           and send them an appropriate reply.”


      8.    Be it stated, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner  was
      the respondent no.2 therein.  After the writ petition was disposed of,
      the representation preferred by  Mr.  K.  Balu,  President,  Advocates
      Forum for Social Justice, was disposed and the order was  communicated
      to the writ petitioner.  It reads as follows:-
           “2.   Caste-wise enumeration in the census has been given up as a
           matter of policy from 1951 onwards.  In pursuance of this  policy
           decision, castes other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
           have not been enumerated in all  the  Censuses  since  1951.   In
           Census 2011 also no question on enumeration of castes other  than
           Scheduled Castes and Scheduled  Tribes  has  been  included.   As
           such, the first phase of Census  2011  enumeration,  namely,  the
           Houselisting and Housing Census  is  commencing  on  the  1st  of
           April, 2010.    The forms required for this phase of  the  Census
           has already been printed in many States and  Instruction  Manuals
           required for training the enumerators has also been finalized and
           printed.  The second phase of  Census  2011,  namely,  Population
           Enumeration, is due to be conducted in February 2011.   The  data
           gathered in the first phase (April to September 2010)  is  linked
           to the data to  be  collected  in  February-March  2011.   Hence,
           enumerating castes other  than  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled
           Tribes will not be possible in that phase also.  As such,  it  is
           not possible to include any question relating to the  enumeration
           of Castes other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the
           Census of India 2011.


           3.    As regards the policy decision whether  castes  other  than
           the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should  be  enumerated,
           the manner in which such enumeration should be done and by  whom,
           the matter has been referred to the nodal Ministry, i.e. Ministry
           of Social Justice and Empowerment.”


     9.     At this juncture, it may be noticed that the  Writ  Petition(C)
     No. 132/2010 was filed before this Court by one Kishore Govind Kanhere
     Vidharbha and Another seeking the similar relief, which  was  disposed
     of on 13.09.2010 by passing the following order:
           “Learned counsel for the petitioners states that as  the  purpose
           of the writ petition stands worked out, he would like to withdraw
           the petition.  The writ petition is,  accordingly,  dismissed  as
           withdrawn.”


     10.    Presently, we shall proceed to state how  the  purpose  of  the
     writ petition had worked out.  The respondent,  R.  Krishnamurthy  had
     preferred Writ Petition(C) No. 10090/2010 which stood disposed  of  by
     Division Bench by the impugned order.  As is  manifest,  the  Division
     Bench has referred to its  earlier  decision  passed  in  W.P.(C)  No.
     25785/2005 and after reproducing the paragraph from the said judgment,
     opined as follows:-
           “Since the relief sought for in the present  writ  petition  has
           already been answered in the affirmative by issuing a  direction
           to the authorities to take all measures towards  conducting  the
           caste-wise census in the  country,  we  are  of  the  considered
           opinion that this petition  is  also  entitled  to  be  allowed.
           Accordingly, this writ petition is allowed on the same terms.”


      11.   Criticizing the aforesaid direction, it is submitted by Mr. R.S.
      Suri, learned senior counsel  that  the  High  Court  on  the  earlier
      occasion had issued a direction without making the Census Commissioner
      as a party and further there was no justification for issuance of such
      a direction.  As far as the impugned order is concerned, it  is  urged
      by  Mr.  Suri  that  the  direction  issued  by  the  Division   Bench
      tantamounts to interference in  a  policy  decision  as  framed  under
      Section 8 of the Census Act, 1940, (for brevity ‘the Act’) as  amended
      in 1993.   Learned  senior  counsel  would  contend  that  the  policy
      stipulates for carrying out the census which includes scheduled castes
      and scheduled tribes, but not the other castes.  He  would  urge  that
      many a High Court have dismissed similar writ petitions and, in  fact,
      this Court in WP(C) No. 133/2009 have declined to  interfere  and  the
      same was dismissed as withdrawn.  It  is  proponed  by  him  the  view
      expressed by the  High  Court  is  absolutely  vulnerable  and  hence,
      deserved to be lancinated.
      12.   Despite service of notice,  there  has  been  no  appearance  on
      behalf of the respondent.
      13.   To appreciate the submissions canvassed by the  learned  counsel
      for the appellant, it is necessary to refer to Section 8 of  the  Act,
      which reads as follows: -
           “Section 8 – Asking of questions and obligation to answer


           (1)   A census officer may ask all such questions of all  persons
           within the limits of the local area for which he is appointed as,
           by instructions issued in this behalf by the [Central Government]
           and published in the Official Gazette, he may be directed to ask.


           (2)   Every person of whom  any  question  is  asked  under  sub-
           section(1) shall be legally bound to answer such question to  the
           best of his knowledge or belief:


                 Provided that no person shall be bound to state the name of
                 any female member of his household, and no woman  shall  be
                 bound to state the name of her husband or deceased  husband
                 or of any other person  whose  name  she  is  forbidden  by
                 custom to mention.”


      14.   On the foundation of  the  aforesaid  provision,  the  competent
      authority  of  the  Central  Government,  in  exercise  of  the  power
      conferred by sub-section(1) of section 8 of the Census Act, had issued
      a Notification on 13.1.2000 which relates to  instructions  meant  for
      Census Officers.  Clause 8 of the said Notification being relevant  is
      reproduced below:
           “8.   Information relating to the head of the household
            (a)  Name of the head of the household
            (b)  Male – 1/Female – 2
           (c)   If SC(Scheduled Caste) or ST (Scheduled Tribe)  or  Other?
                 SC(Scheduled Caste)-1/ST(Scheduled Tribe)-2/Other-3”


      15.   After the said census  was  carried  out,  another  Notification
      dated 25.2.2010 was issued.  Clause 10 of the said Notification  reads
      as follows:
           “10.  If Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Others.
      16.   After the Notification in the year 2010 was issued,  the  Office
      of  the  Registrar  General  and  Census   Commissioner   issued   the
      Instruction Manual for Houselisting and Housing Census.  In  Paragraph
      1.2, the historical background has been stated.  It is as follows:
            “Historical background of Indian Census
           1.2 The Indian  Census  has  a  rich  tradition  and  enjoys  the
           reputation of being one of the  best  in  the  world.  The  first
           Census in  India  was  conducted  in  the  year  1872.  This  was
           conducted at different points of time in different parts  of  the
           country. In 1881 a  Census  was  taken  for  the  entire  country
           simultaneously. Since then, Census has been conducted  every  ten
           years, without a break. Thus, the Census of India  2011  will  be
           the fifteenth in this unbroken series since 1872 and the  seventh
           after  independence.  It  is  through  the  missionary  zeal  and
           dedication of Enumerators like  you  that  the  great  historical
           tradition of  conducting  the  Census  uninterruptedly  has  been
           maintained in spite of several adversities like wars,  epidemics,
           natural calamities, political unrest, etc. Participation  in  the
           Census by the people of India is indeed a true reflection of  the
           national spirit of unity in diversity.”


      17.   Thereafter, the Instruction Manual provides  for  objectives  of
      conducting a census.  We think it appropriate to reproduce the same:
           “1.3  India is a welfare State.  Since  independence,  Five  Year
            Plans, Annual  Plans  and  various  welfare  schemes  have  been
            launched for the benefit of the common man.  All  these  require
            information  at  the  grass  root  level.  This  information  is
            provided by the Census.


         4.  Have  you  ever  wondered  how   the   number   of   seats   in
            Parliamentary/Assembly  Constituencies,  Panchayats  and   other
            local bodies are determined? Similarly, how  the  boundaries  of
            such constituencies are demarcated? Well the answer to  that  is
            also the Census. These are just a few examples. Census  provides
            information on a large number of areas. Thus, you are not merely
            collecting information; you are actually a  part  of  a  massive
            nation building activity.


         5. The Houselisting and Housing Census has immense  utility  as  it
            will provide comprehensive  data  on  the  conditions  of  human
            settlements,  housing  deficit  and  consequently  the   housing
            requirement to be taken care of in the  formulation  of  housing
            policies. This will  also  provide  a  wide  range  of  data  on
            amenities and assets available to  the  households,  information
            much needed by  various  departments  of  the  Union  and  State
            Governments and other non-Governmental agencies for  development
            and planning at the local level as  well  as  the  State  level.
            This would also provide the base for Population Enumeration.


         6. Population Enumeration provides valuable information  about  the
            land and its people at a  given  point  of  time.   It  provides
            trends in the population and its various characteristics,  which
            are an essential  input  for  planning.   The  Census  data  are
            frequently required to develop  sound  policies  and  programmes
            aimed at fostering the welfare of the country  and  its  people.
            This data source has  become  indispensable  for  effective  and
            efficient public administration besides  serving  the  needs  of
            scholars, businessmen, industrialists,  planners  and  electoral
            authorities,  etc.   Therefore,  Census  has  become  a  regular
            feature in progressive counties,  whatever  be  their  size  and
            political set up.  It is  conducted  at  regular  intervals  for
            fulfilling  well-defined  objectives.   One  of  the   essential
            features of  Population  Enumeration  is  that  each  person  is
            enumerated and her/his individual particulars are collected at a
            well-defined point of time.”

      18.   From the aforesaid, it is graphically vivid that at no point  of
      time, the Central Government had  issued  a  Notification  to  have  a
      census conducted on the caste basis.   What  is  reflectible  is  that
      there is census of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,  but  census
      is not done in respect of other  castes  or  on  caste  basis.    That
      apart, the instructions elaborately spell out the  necessity  and  the
      purpose.  It is reflectible of the concern pertaining to  assimilation
      of certain  datas  that  would  help  in  nation-building,  trends  of
      population,  availability  of  requisite  inputs  for   planning   and
      fostering the welfare of the country.  Be it noted, the  Notifications
      dated 13.01.2000  and  25.02.2010  enumerate  collection  of  many  an
      information  including  household  number,  total  number  of  persons
      normally residing in the household (persons, males, females), name  of
      the head of the household, ownership status of the  house,  number  of
      married couple(s) living in the household,  main  source  of  drinking
      water, availability of drinking water source, main source of lighting,
      latrine within the premises, type of latrine  facility,  waster  water
      outlet,  bathing   facility,   kitchen,   fuel   used   for   cooking,
      Radio/Transistor,   Television,   Computer/Laptop,    Telephone/Mobile
      phone, Bicycle, Scooter/Motor Cycle/ Moped, Car/Jeep/Van, and availing
      banking services, etc.  Thus, the  Central  Government  has  framed  a
      policy and the policy,  as  is  demonstrable,  covers  many  an  arena
      keeping in view certain goals and objectives.
      19.   As we evince from the sequence of events, the High Court in  the
      earlier judgment had issued the  direction  relating  to  carrying  of
      census in a particular manner by adding certain facets though the  lis
      was absolutely different.  The appellant, the  real  aggrieved  party,
      was not arrayed as a party-respondent.  The issue was squarely  raised
      in the subsequent writ petition where the Census  Commissioner  was  a
      party and the earlier order was repeated.   There can be no shadow  of
      doubt that earlier order is not binding on the appellant as he was not
      a party to the said lis.  This view of ours  gets  fructified  by  the
      decision in H.C. Kulwant  Singh  and  others  V.  H.C.  Daya  Ram  and
      others[4] wherein this Court, after  referring  to  the  judgments  in
      Khetrabasi Biswal V. Ajaya Kumar Baral & Ors.[5],  Udit  Narain  Singh
      Malpaharia V. Board of Revenue[6], Prabodh Verma & Ors. Vs.  State  of
      U.P. & Ors.[7] and Tridip Kumar Dingal &  Ors.  V.  State  of  W.B.  &
      Ors.[8] has ruled thus:
           “..... if a person who is likely to suffer from the order of  the
           court and has not been impleaded as a party has a right to ignore
           the said order  as  it  has  been  passed  in  violation  of  the
           principles of natural justice.”


      20.   The earlier decision being not a binding precedent,  it  can  be
      stated with certitude that the impugned judgment has really  compelled
      the appellant to question the defensibility of the same.
      21.   The centripodal question  that  emanates  for  consideration  is
      whether the High Court could have issued such  a  mandamus  commanding
      the appellant to carry out a census in a particular manner.  The  High
      Court has tried to inject the concept of social  justice  to  fructify
      its direction.  It is evincible  that  the  said  direction  has  been
      issued without any deliberation and being oblivious of  the  principle
      that the courts on very  rare  occasion,  in  exercise  of  powers  of
      judicial review, would interfere with a policy decision.  Interference
      with the policy decision and issue of a mandamus to frame a policy  in
      a particular manner are absolutely different.  The Act  has  conferred
      power on the Central Government to issue  Notification  regarding  the
      manner in which the census has to  be  carried  out  and  the  Central
      Government has issued Notifications, and the competent  authority  has
      issued directions.  It is not  within  the  domain  of  the  Court  to
      legislate.  The courts do interpret the law and in such interpretation
      certain  creative  process  is  involved.    The   courts   have   the
      jurisdiction to declare the law as unconstitutional.  That too,  where
      it is called for.  The court may also fill  up  the  gaps  in  certain
      spheres applying the doctrine of constitutional silence  or  abeyance.
      But, the courts are  not  to  plunge  into  policy  making  by  adding
      something to the policy by way of issuing a writ of  mandamus.   There
      the judicial restraint is called for remembering what we  have  stated
      in the beginning.  The courts are required to  understand  the  policy
      decisions framed  by  the  Executive.   If  a  policy  decision  or  a
      Notification is arbitrary, it may invite the frown of  Article  14  of
      the Constitution.  But when the Notification was not under assail  and
      the same is in consonance with the Act, it is really unfathomable  how
      the High Court could issue directions as to  the  manner  in  which  a
      census would be carried out by adding  certain  aspects.   It  is,  in
      fact, issuance of a direction for  framing  a  policy  in  a  specific
      manner.  In this context, we may refer to a three-Judge Bench decision
      in Suresh Seth V. Commr., Indore Municipal  Corporation[9]  wherein  a
      prayer was made before this Court to issue directions for  appropriate
      amendment in the M.P. Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 so that a person
      may be debarred  from  simultaneously  holding  two  elected  offices,
      namely, that of a Member of the Legislative Assembly  and  also  of  a
      Mayor of a Municipal Corporation.  Repelling the said submission,  the
      Court held:
           “In our opinion, this is a  matter  of  policy  for  the  elected
           representatives of people to decide  and  no  direction  in  this
           regard can be issued by the Court.  That apart this Court  cannot
           issue any direction to the legislature  to  make  any  particular
           kind of enactment.  Under out  constitutional  scheme  Parliament
           and Legislative Assemblies exercise sovereign power to enact laws
           and no outside power or authority can issue a direction to  enact
           a particular piece of legislation.  In Supreme  Court  Employees’
           Welfare Assn. v. Union of India[10] (SCC para  51)  it  has  been
           held that no court can direct a legislature to enact a particular
           law.   Similarly,  when  an  executive  authority   exercises   a
           legislative power by way of a subordinate legislation pursuant to
           the  delegated  authority  of  a  legislature,   such   executive
           authority cannot be asked to  enact  a  law  which  it  has  been
           empowered to do under the delegated legislative authority.   This
           view has been reiterated in state of J & K v A.R. Zakki[11].   In
           A.K. Roy v. Union of India[12] it was held that no  mandamus  can
           be issued to  enforce  an  Act  which  has  been  passed  by  the
           legislature.”


      22.   At this juncture, we may refer to certain authorities about  the
      justification  in  interference  with  the  policy   framed   by   the
      Government.  It needs no special emphasis to state  that  interference
      with the policy, though is permissible in law, yet the policy  has  to
      be scrutinized with ample circumspection.   In N.D. Jayal and Anr.  V.
      Union of India & Ors.[13], the Court has observed that in the  matters
      of policy, when the  Government  takes  a  decision  bearing  in  mind
      several aspects, the Court should not interfere with the same.
      23.   In Narmada Bachao Andolan V. Union of  India[14],  it  has  been
      held thus:
                 “It is now well settled that the courts, in the exercise of
           their jurisdiction, will not transgress into the field of  policy
           decision. Whether to have an infrastructural project or  not  and
           what is the type of project to be undertaken and how it has to be
           executed, are part of policy-making process and  the  courts  are
           ill-equipped to adjudicate on a policy  decision  so  undertaken.
           The court, no doubt, has a duty to see that in the undertaking of
           a decision, no law is violated and  people’s  fundamental  rights
           are not transgressed upon except to the extent permissible  under
           the Constitution.”




      24.   In this context, it is fruitful to refer  to  the  authority  in
      Rusom Cavasiee Cooper V. Union  of  India[15],  wherein  it  has  been
      expressed thus:


           “It is again not for this Court to consider the  relative  merits
           of the different political theories or economic policies...  This
           Court has the power to strike down a law on the ground of want of
           authority, but the Court will not sit in appeal over  the  policy
           of Parliament in enacting a law”.


      25.   In Premium Granites V. State of Tamil  Nadu[16],  while  dealing
      with the power of the courts in interfering with the policy  decision,
      the Court has ruled that it is not the domain of the court  to  embark
      upon unchartered ocean of public policy in an exercise to consider  as
      to whether a particular public policy  is  wise  or  a  better  public
      policy could be evolved. Such exercise must be left to the  discretion
      of the executive and legislative authorities as the case may  be.  The
      court is called upon to consider the validity of a public policy  only
      when  a  challenge  is  made  that  such  policy  decision   infringes
      fundamental rights guaranteed by the  Constitution  of  India  or  any
      other statutory right.
      26.   In M.P. Oil Extraction and Anr. V. State of M.P. &  Ors.[17],  a
      two-Judge Bench opined that:


           “.......... The executive authority of the State must be held  to
           be within its competence to frame a policy for the administration
           of the State. Unless the policy framed is  absolutely  capricious
           and, not being informed by any reason whatsoever, can be  clearly
           held to be arbitrary and  founded  on  mere  ipse  dixit  of  the
           executive functionaries  thereby  offending  Article  14  of  the
           Constitution  or  such  policy   offends   other   constitutional
           provisions or comes into conflict with any  statutory  provision,
           the Court cannot and should not outstep its limit and tinker with
           the policy decision of the executive functionary of the State.”


      27.   In State of M.P. V. Narmada Bachao  Andolan  &  Anr.[18],  after
      referring to the State of Punjab V.  Ram Lubhaya Bagga[19], the  Court
      ruled thus:
           “The Court cannot strike down a  policy  decision  taken  by  the
           Government merely because it feels that  another  decision  would
           have been fairer or more scientific  or  logical  or  wiser.  The
           wisdom and  advisability  of  the  policies  are  ordinarily  not
           amenable to judicial review unless the policies [pic]are contrary
           to  statutory  or  constitutional  provisions  or  arbitrary   or
           irrational or an abuse of power. (See Ram Singh Vijay  Pal  Singh
           v. State of U.P.[20],  Villianur  Iyarkkai  Padukappu  Maiyam  v.
           Union of India[21] and State of Kerala v. Peoples Union for Civil
           Liberties[22].)”


      28.   From the aforesaid pronouncement of law, it is clear as noon day
      that it is not within the domain of  the  courts  to  embark  upon  an
      enquiry  as  to  whether  a  particular  public  policy  is  wise  and
      acceptable or whether a better policy could be evolved.  The court can
      only interfere if the policy framed is absolutely  capricious  or  not
      informed by reasons  or  totally  arbitrary  and  founded  ipse  dixit
      offending the basic requirement of Article  14  of  the  Constitution.
      In certain matters, as often said, there can be opinions and  opinions
      but the Court is not expected to sit as an appellate authority  on  an
      opinion.
      29.   As has been stated earlier, the Central Government had issued  a
      Notification prescribing the series of informations  to  be  collected
      during the census.  It covers many  areas.   It  includes  information
      relating to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and does  not  refer
      to any other caste.  In such a situation, it is extremely difficult to
      visualize that the High Court, on the first occasion, without having a
      lis before it in that regard, could even have  thought  of  issuing  a
      command to the Census Department to take  all  such  measures  towards
      conducting the caste-wise census in the country  so  that  the  social
      justice in its true sense, which is the need of  the  hour,  could  be
      achieved.  This, irrefragably, is against the power conferred  on  the
      court.  The High Court had not only travelled beyond the  lis  in  the
      first round of litigation, but had really  yielded  to  some  kind  of
      emotional  perspective,  possibly  paving  the  adventurous  path   to
      innovate.  It is legally impermissible.  On the second occasion, where
      the controversy squarely arose, the High Court did not confine to  the
      restrictions put on the jurisdiction and further without any  kind  of
      deliberation,  repeated  the  earlier   direction.    The   order   is
      exceptionally  cryptical.   That   apart,   it   is   legally   wholly
      unsustainable.  The High Court, to say the least, had no justification
      to pave such a path and we have no hesitation  in  treating  the  said
      path as a colossal transgression of power of judicial review, and that
      makes the order sensitively susceptible.
      30.   Consequently, the appeal is allowed, the  judgments  and  orders
      dated 24.10.2008 and 12.5.2010 passed in W.P.(C)  No.  25785/2005  and
      W.P.(C) No. 10090/2010  respectively are set aside.  There shall be no
      order as to costs.


                                                  ........................J.
                                                               (DIPAK MISRA)




                                  ........................................J.
                                                     (ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)




                                          ................................J.
                                                          (UDAY UMESH LALIT)
      NEW DELHI;
      NOVEMBER 07, 2014
-----------------------
[1] BACON, Essays: Of Judicature in I The Works of Francis Bacon (Montague,
Basil, Esq. ed., Philadelphia: A Hart, late Carey & Hart, 1852), pp. 58-59.

[2] FRANKFURTEER, Felix in Clark, Tom C., “ Mr. Justice Frankfurter: ‘A
Heritage for all Who Love the Law’” 51 A.B.A.J. 330, 332 (1965)
[3]  Yale University Press 1921 Edn.,  Pg- 114
[4] JT 2014 (8) SC 305
[5] (2004) 1 SCC 317
[6]  AIR 1963 SC 786
[7]  (1984) 4 SCC 251
[8]  (2009) 1 SCC 768
[9] (2005) 13 SCC 287
[10] (1989) 4 SCC 187
[11] 1992 Supp (1) SCC 548
[12] (1982) 1 SCC 271
[13] (2004) 9 SCC 362
[14] (2000) 10 SCC 664
[15]  (1970) 1 SCC 248
[16]  (1994) 2 SCC 691
[17]  (1997) 7 SCC 592
[18]  (2011) 7 SCC 639
[19]  (1998) 4 SCC 117
[20] (2007) 6 SCC 44
[21] (2009) 7 SCC 561
[22] (2009) 8 SCC 46

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