Judicial boundaries

The wider interpretation by the courts of the right to life has widened the scope of welfare policy—but pushing for flights to specific cities is quite another matter


Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

The Supreme Court is upset about the lack of flights from New Delhi to Shimla. It has asked the civil aviation ministry to get back with a plan to connect the national capital with the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The apex court has also pointed out that the government is going soft on airlines that promised flights to towns with poor connectivity.

This intervention could go down in the annals of judicial overreach. Supporters of an activist judiciary argue that it has had to interfere in a growing number of issues because of the failure of the legislature and executive to perform their constitutional tasks. The wider interpretation by the courts of the right to life, guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution, has widened the scope of welfare policy. But pushing for flights to specific cities is quite another matter.

There is a risk to credibility—in case citizens see the apex court not as a place where constitutional rights are protected but where specific policies are decided.

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