Untouchability

The primary function of the Courts is to interpret and apply the laws according to the will of those who made them and not to transgress into the domain of policy-­making. It is not for the Court to pronounce policy. It cannot term a particular policy as fairer than the other. Courts must exercise restraint.

Untouchability though intended to be abolished, has not vanished in the last 70 years. We are still experimenting with ‘tryst with destiny’. The plight of untouchables is that they are still denied various civil rights; the condition is worse in the villages, remote areas where fruits of development have not percolated down. One thing is sure that we have not been able to eradicate untouchability in a real sense as envisaged.

The answer can only be found by soul searching. 

In Khadak Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh, AIR 1963 SC 1295, this Court has observed that the right to life is not merely an animal’s existence. Right to live with human dignity is included in the right to life as observed in Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory Delhi, Administrator, AIR 1981 SC 746; Olga Tellis v. Bombay Corporation, AIR 1986 SC 180.

There is no presumption that the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes may misuse the provisions of law and it is not resorted to by the members of the Upper Castes or the members of the Elite Class.”

Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra, Union of India v. State of Maharashtra, [Criminal Appeal No. 416 of 2018].ABC.jpg