SC says train timings can’t be adjudicated in PIL

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that changing train timings or providing new train connectivity between two locations falls under the domain of the Indian Railways, thereby asserting that courts should not interfere in such policy matters.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph was of the view that such issues cannot be treated and adjudicated as Public Interest Litigations (PILs).
The top court’s order came on an appeal by the Indian Railways challenging a PIL filed before the High Court of Uttarakhand.

The High Court Bar Association of Uttarakhand had moved the PIL in the High Court seeking direction to the Indian Railways to reschedule the departure time of a train named Kathgodam Dehradun Express running from Kathgodam, preferably to 10:40 p.m. The bar association had also sought direction to introduce a train between Kathgodam to Varanasi via Sultanpur/Badlipur.

The Centre said that under compelling circumstances, an affidavit was filed on behalf of the Indian Railways before the High Court to the effect that necessary orders would be passed in the matter of the train’s timing in question and steps will be taken to provide the new service.

On the basis of the affidavit, the High Court had closed the PIL. However, the Centre later approached the apex court against this verdict.

“It is our considered view that matters of train timings and providing new train connectivity between two locations are essentially matters of policy, to be decided by the competent authority on a consideration of host of relevant facts and circumstances and further that such matters are not appropriate for adjudication in a PIL,” the apex court bench said while quashing the High Court order.