Cautioning judges against taking over the functions of the legislature, Chief Justice Mr SH Kapadia today said that judiciary should maintain self restraint and respect separation of power. “We must refuse to sit as a super-legislature to weigh the wisdom of legislation. We must remember that our Constitution recognises separation of powers and that the legislatures and the government can be made accountable for their legislation and actions by the electorate if they err,” Mr Justice Kapadia said.

“In many PILs, the courts freely decree rule of conduct for government and public authorities which are akin to legislation. Such exercises have little judicial function in them,” he further said.

Mr Kapadia said that the function of courts is to review the acts of the legislature and not to substitute their own policies on the society or the legislature.

“The judges of the Supreme Court of India should revisit the original constitutional proposition that courts do not substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies, who are elected to enact laws. We are not concerned with the wisdom, need or appropriateness of the legislation,” he said.

“Judicial activism which is not grounded on textual commitment to the Constitution or the statute, unlike activism in cases of human rights and life and personal liberty raises questions of accountability of judiciary whose members are not chosen by any democratic process and whose members are not answerable to the electorate or to the legislature or to the executive,” he said.

He said that courts should be circumspect in understanding the thin line between law and governance while justifying their interference in policy matters.

“Courts justification is that the other branches of government have failed or are indifferent to the solution of the problem. In such matters, I am of the opinion that the courts should be circumspect in understanding the thin line between law and governance.

“In such matters, the courts must try to ascertain whether the issue has a legal content or a political content. In the latter case, the courts should invoke the doctrine of deference,” he said. He, however, said that holding a law unconstitutional does not amount to legislation and it is the duty of the judges to pass such orders.

“Judges who invoke the Constitution to protect the rights of people and who declare a statute unconstitutional are not legislating from the Bench, nor are they thwarting the will of the majority. They are merely carrying out their oath of office and following the rule of law,” he said.

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0 responses to “Judges should not sit as super legislature – CJI”

  1. MRkGANDHI says:

    While it is true in a Constitutional frame work judges are only to interpret; not to legislate, but the fact remain that the comments of the Chief Justice of India will act as deterrent to the spirit of the Judges who are handling very sensitive cases. When thousand of crores go into the deep pockets of politician and their henchmen through orchestrate scams, the rulers of the day remained silent; the only hope of light left is judiciary of the country. The Chief Justice should avoid dampening comments; so that activist judges who take initiative to bring culprits to book are not hindered. Thin line of difference between interpretation and law making is so fragile, opinions can fluctuate amongst intellectuals. I wish the learned Chief Justice does not act a SPEED BREAKER when he cannot speed up dispensation of justice.

    • V.K.Singhal says:

      With due respect and due apoligies, I beg to differ with the views of Mr. Gandhi. I am very much delighted to read through the comments of Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. In our country court of laws are meant to decide the issues only within the framework of various laws and Hon’ble Judges are expected to decide the matters within the same framework, irrespective of the fact whether there is a loss of revenue or prestige of any political individual or Govt.machinery. If it is against the provisions of the law, the Hon’ble Judges must decide it as provided in law. Rececntly, I have come across a judgement saying that if we accept the arguments of Petitioner’s advocate, pending more than thousands cases would become infructuous and Govt. would stand to loose corers of Rupees.,hence the petitioners case was dismissed. Is it correct to pass this type of verdict. Somewhere the demarcation boundries are to be drawn and each institution will have to work in its own field without harping on other.
      I would like to avail this oppourtunity to congratulate for bold statement of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, made recently in his inaugral address of M.C.Setalwad memorial lecture.
      With best regards,

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