oppn parties Unnecessary Squabbling Between Pillars of Democracy

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
Unnecessary Squabbling Between Pillars of Democracy

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Debate is the backbone of democracy and when there is debate then there will be difference of opinion. The consensus emerging from taking into account various threads of thought is what makes for a robust society. But there is a time and place for airing one’s opinions. The way two pillars of democracy – the executive and the judiciary - faced-off during the National Law Day celebrations in New Delhi was embarrassing, to say the least. The judicial fraternity was out there in force and we had the Union law minister openly accusing the judiciary of meddling in what he thought was the exclusive domain of the legislature and the executive.

The government is piqued that the judiciary entertains too many PILs and pronounces judgments which nullify legislation. It accuses the judiciary of overreach. But aren’t PILs borne out of the government’s inability to enforce and apply the given laws efficiently? The legislature makes laws which the executive is expected to apply and enforce. If citizens are aggrieved, they approach the judiciary for redress. In normal circumstances, a citizen has to be directly affected by a law to file a case in court. But what happens when a law is not applied or applied incorrectly and it adversely affects a large number of citizens? It is then that activist lawyers and civil society activists petition the court to change the situation through a correct interpretation of law.

Since the judiciary is there to interpret the laws, it cannot out rightly reject PILs. There is a mechanism to filter out frivolous PILs. Still, most of the PILs that do get admitted are not to the liking of the government in power as most often they are against its shortcomings or unnecessary interference in the lives of citizens. This is not to say that there is no judicial overreach. The ways of the judiciary are strange – banning liquor vends, making singing of national anthem in cinema halls to cite a few examples – and very often such decisions are seen as making laws instead of interpreting them.

All three pillars of democracy need to develop a healthy respect for each other. The government has to apply and enforce laws equitably. It has to maintain law and order. Additionally, it has to redress the grievances of citizens as and when they surface with patience and compassion. Highhandedness often results in alienating the citizens and then filing of PILs. The courts would be amiss in their duty if they do not entertain PILs aimed at redressing the grievances of citizens. The legislature, on its part, needs to review old laws and rectify their lacunae and draft new laws after taking into consideration the concerns of citizens. If all wings do their work with diligence and with a respect for the work of other wings then there will be lesser problems of encroaching on each others’ turf.