Monday, September 25, 2006

The Ubiquitous Chair - continued


Judicial Activism

Recently in the Times of India, Bangalore edition, there was a letter to the editor on the subject. I felt I should react to it since I too have been following the judicial activism in recent times. Of course in a democracy it should be the elected representatives of people that should pass laws needed for the good of the society. But look at our democracy? Who are the people that elect the representatives? How are the political parties winning the elections? Political parties are primarily concerned with how to come to power and RULE (RUIN) the country? They are busy with schemes that fetch returns to their coffers. They are busy in toppling Governments. They are only concerned about protecting their chairs. What right things are going on in the country? Or what right decisions are being taken by the government. Even the privatization of PSUs is put on hold. To save their chairs, the Office of Profit bill was introduced in the re-convened house which was earlier prorogued and got it passed with all parties supporting even after the President sent it back with suggestions. Look at the reservations issue. To garner votes and rule the country with populist measures, the bill was passed. Look at the States, the political parties are spending as if it is their Party fund, they give free power, free television sets, distribute agriculture land and so on. Whose money is it that the government is spending? Per se, judicial activism might seem rather undesirable. However, one should understand why judiciary interferes with the government decisions. On their own the interference is perhaps minimal. However, when there is a PIL or a similar approach to the courts, it is but natural that the courts adjudicate. Here again, they just don’t express their opinion without reason. They do hear the arguments from both sides and then only give their judgment. We all know what happened with the Bihar government in the recent past.

Now let us look at happenings in the country. When the CBI and the Ministry of Law joined together to reactivate the accounts of a suspect (?) the PM’s naïve statement was that the CBI is independent and he had no hand in that. Does one believe that any action by any Department is without the involvement of the Minister concerned or the PM? Look at the murder investigations in the Capital? Courts cannot be content with judging with what is presented before it by the government? Judiciary can’t be silent spectator to botches and cover-ups. Do we have a good government or a party to give good governance to its people? For a very long time it is known that the MPs take money to put questions in the Parliament. However only recently such MPs were suspended. But why such an action was not taken with reference to the OoP? Under the Office of Profit complaints, the Election Commission has taken action against only one MP and when there were several other complaints, which included even the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the EC seems to have slept over the issue until a revised bill is passed by the Parliament. We have been seeing increased terrorism in the country and no body talks of intelligence failure or failure to take action on the intelligence reports referred to the governments. What are we doing? We only see on the TV channels extensive debates without any conclusive remarks of what is lacking in the country and what the government has to do to protect its people. We certainly know one how kind the government is in giving money to the victims or their families whenever such man-made calamities take place. Money is in no short supply and therefore the State gives and the Center gives – of course whether this reaches the families or the victims is another question.

With such apprehensions, one should think seriously whether judicial interference is needed or not. If the governance is faulty, it surely needs interference from the judiciary and there is no doubt about it.

The country in the present circumstances needs judicial activism is perhaps one opinion that I would share. By this I do not hold that Judiciary is god sent and what it says is always sacrosanct.


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