New Delhi: Amidst criticism of judicial activism, the Supreme Court has said judiciary cannot encroach into the powers of the legislature or the executive as it would be violative of Constitutional rules on separation of powers between the different wings of democracy.

"There is broad separation of power in the Indian Constitution. As held by this court in Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club & Anr Vs. Chander Hass & Anr case, it is not proper for the judiciary to encroach into the domain of the legislature or the executive," the bench said.

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and C K Prasad passed the order while quashing two separate judgements of the Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat High Courts which had upheld the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for regularisation of casual employees in the Railways.

In the first case, the Madhya Pradesh  High Court had upheld the plea of Ram Singh Thakur and other employees for regularisation of services in the Railway Employees Consumer Co-operative Society Ltd. It upheld the May 30, 2001, CAT's direction to the Railway Board Chairman to formulate a suitable scheme for induction of Singh and similarly placed employees of other co-operative societies in regular Group 'D' posts and alternatively also as casual Group 'D' employees in the railways.

Aggrieved, the Centre appealed in the apex court.

"In our opinion, the order of the Tribunal as well as the impugned judgements of the High Court were totally unwarranted and illegal," the apex court said while quashing the judgements.

According to the apex court, framing of a scheme such as the one done by the Tribunal and approved by the High Court was a purely executive function and could not validly be done by the judiciary.( "Moreover, in view of the judgement of this court in Union of India [Railway Board] & Ors. Vs. J.V. Subhaiah & case, the employees of a co-operative society are not employees of the government.

"In our opinion, the direction to frame a scheme for appointment can only be given by the executive (and that too according to Article 16 and other provisions of the Constitution)," the bench said.

The bench also quashed judgements of the CAT and the Gujarat High Court for regularisation of mess employees.

"It appears that the respondents were working in a Mess run by the trainee officers in the Railway Staff College. That Mess was not run by the railways but was run by the trainee officers themselves so that they could get proper meals.

"It is evident that the respondents were not railway employees but a direction has been given that they be regularised in railway service. In our opinion, a direction regarding regularisation in service is a purely executive function and such a direction cannot validly be given by the judiciary," the bench added.

Agencies