Matters Within Policy Domain Of State That Are Not Statutory In Nature Cannot Be Overstepped By Writ Courts: Patna HC
While considering a PIL seeking direction to the Respondents for proper implementation of a scheme of Free-ship Cards to the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, whereby the maximum amount of Post Matric Scholarship, including tuition fees and other non-refundable fees payable to eligible beneficiaries under the Scheme was arbitrarily limited by the Bihar Government, the Patna High Court ruled that Writ Courts cannot by a judicial order direct implementation of the Scheme formulated by the Central Government which can be implemented only at the option of the State Government.
Pointing out that optimum disbursal of funds ensuring maximum coverage of all marginalized sections of the society cannot be brushed aside, the Division Bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandra and Justice Partha Sarthy observed that “These are all matters coming within the policy domain of the State; in which this Court would not interfere and issue directions to overstep the wisdom of the Executive Government”.
Advocate Vikash Kumar Pankaj appeared for the Petitioner, whereas ASG K.N Singh appeared for the UOI.
After considering the submission, the Bench observed that the Guideline is for implementation of a Scheme framed by the Central Government; which is not statutory in nature and there is no mandate on the State Government to implement it; especially if better schemes are available for the targeted category.
The Bench pointed that if the scheme is implemented, there is a sharing of the financial liability by the Centre and the State at 60:40, as the objective of the Scheme is to increase the gross enrolment ratio of the scheduled caste students in higher education, with a focus on those from the poorest households and the awardees are selected by the State Government/ Union Territory to which the applicant belongs.
The role of the State Governments as per the Scheme, the Bench highlighted is to adopt a methodology suitable to the local conditions for identification of students and to additionally make special efforts to identify the poorest households from various sources to enrol the eligible students under the Scheme in a mission mode.
Hence, the High Court refused to interference to the Scheme already formulated by the State Government and issue any positive directions based on the Guidelines.
Cause Title: Rajeev Kumar and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors.