The curtains have been drawn for a show that promises to be quite interesting.The PM Manmohan Singh’s suggestion yesterday that judiciary should not breach the thin line dividing judiciary and legislature and asking the courts to follow some guidelines before accepting PILs was followed by the CJI,KG Balakrishnan’s asserting the judiciary’s independence and its power to review the actions of Parliament and legislatures.
There were a good number of incidents where there was a confrontation between the two systems-the Bihar assembly dissolution, Jharkhand government formation, expulsion of MPs in cash-for-query scam, reservation in promotions, 9th schedule and now the stay on implementation of 27% OBC quota.The legislature responded favourably only in the case of cash-for-query scam.
Its natural for the ruling class to be irked by the constant ‘interference’ by courts in what they consider to be their own domain,but its very much essential for the smooth functioning of the democracy.As the CJI rightly said,there may be some tensions between the legislature and the judiciary some times,but its a sign of a healthy democracy.There were many clashes between the two forces earlier too,the most famous being the Allahabad High Court’s ruling that declared the then PM of India,Indira Gandhi’s election as void.Indira Gandhi retorted by imposing Emergency,a blot on Indian democracy.Now though we can be sure of such situations being repeated,thanks to a much politically-aware society and the media revolution and the emergence of internet as the most popular means of communication, answerability of the legislature to public is still a distant dream.
The PILs are one of the few options left to the public to question the policies of the Govt.The Govt has tried to tamper with the other option,RTI act,but was met with stiff resistance by the public.If all the policies are made in the larger interest of the public and not for political mileage or personal benefits,why does the Govt want the courts to restrict PILs?Absolute power in the hands of a few people will be disastrous for everybody.And healthy discussions are an absolute necessity for a flourishing democracy.Just because you are elected by the public (?) doesn’t mean you are immune from from judicial review gentlemen.There is a rule of law in this country and let it be there.
And why does the Supreme Court still wants to be out of the purview of RTI?