CJI asks judges to adopt ways to enhance social welfare

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Hyderabad, Feb 6 (PTI) Asking the courts to implement aminimum core approach to help the needy, Chief Justice ofIndia S H Kapadia today said the paramount duty of judges isto adopt ways to enhance social welfare.

He also favoured a government policy to provide foodsecurity to people below the poverty line.

"It is enforceability, which is the very essence of ruleof law, that is important," he said at the 17th CommonwealthLaw Conference here earlier inaugurated by Prime MinisterManmohan Singh.

The Chief Justice urged the Prime Minister to considerestablishing the Indian Regulatory Service, on the lines ofIAS and IPS, with experts in regulatory laws.

Delivering his address on "Emerging Economies and the Ruleof Law: Challenges and Opportunities", he said, "It was theparamount duty of judges to adopt an approach that wouldenhance social welfare."

"Equal access to food can''t be given to all but we have tonow apply the Minimum Core Approach as well as the BasicSocial Goods Approach.

"The government cannot say it will not provide expectedrelief to the deprived classes (people below the povertyline)," the Chief Justice observed.

Justice Kapadia noted that they (courts) were notsubstituting their opinion for the legislature.

"We are also not putting our values or societal values. Itis just a shift in the approach which brings in a newjurisprudence that makes enforceability. It is enforceability,which is the very essence of rule of law, that is important,"he said.

"It was the paramount duty of judges to adopt an approachthat would enhance social welfare," he remarked.

Asking the jurists from Commonwealth countries, who weretaking part in the five-day conference to ponder if povertycould be the ground for judicial review, the Chief Justicewondered if they could not evolve a judicious principle toensure basic needs like food, education and healthcare reachedthe deprived sections.

"As the UNO suggested, we have to read equality in termsof deprivation. If food cannot be provided to all, can it notbe provided to people falling below the poverty line? Ifhealthcare can''t be given to all, can you not evolve ajudicious principle," he asked.

Providing the answer himself, Justice Kapadia said theminimum core approach was the principle evolved and it was forthe courts to implement it.

"Given the limited resources at our command, you cannotexpect the government to provide food, education andhealthcare to all. We have to give priority in terms ofequality. Equality as understood under the Constitution.

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