JUDICIAL ACTIVISM AND JUDICIAL DOMINANCE
A democracy has three basic components, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. All the three, mentioned above, are equally important for a democracy to function smoothly. They are all entitled with certain rights and duties that are necessary to run a democratic nation. India, the largest democratic nation in the world, also functions around the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
The legislature in India is divided into two categories – the Rajya Sabha (the Higher house) and the Lok Sabha (the Lower house). The Rajya Sabha comprises of indirectly elected 245 members where as the Lok Sabha comprises of the directly elected 543 members. The function of the legislature is to constitute laws in the benefit of the people. They can draft a bill and debate over it. If a bill is passed in both the houses with a majority, it is then taken to the President for his approval.
The executives are responsible for looking after the proper application of the laws. The executive powers are enjoyed by the President of India who is a nominal head. He has a Cabinet of Ministers who assists him in looking after the executive functions of the nation. The cabinet has a total of 36 ministers with the Prime Minister as its head. The next group in the executive is the Civil Servants. The Government of India selects a handful of Indian citizens after a series of tests; these are called the civil servants. The Civil Servants are the ones who look after proper observation of the laws of the government in different districts in the nation. The right hand of the President is the Cabinet Secretary who is the most important bureaucrat of the nation. It is solely the duty of the executive to take measures to ensure that the people of India abide by the rules and the regulations.
The third pillar of the democracy is the Judiciary which comprises of the Supreme Court, High Courts, District/Session Courts and other lower courts. The role of the judiciary is to ensure that in case of breach of law, stringent steps are taken against the culprit. The power to deem an accused guilty of the charge or non-guilty vests completely in the hand of the judiciary of India. The judiciary also enjoys the right to review the laws formulated by the government. It is also direct the legislature’s attention to certain issues of the society for public benefits.
The judiciary of India is independent of the other components of the democracy. The legislature and executive have little or no influence of the decisions of the judiciary. The judiciary, though, depends on the executive for providing an investigation report in order to pursue with the cases. It has the power to instruct necessary changes in the laws constituted by the legislature, but it cannot participate in constituting or passing the law. Certain powers rest in the hand of the executive and the legislature that cannot be controlled by the judiciary. But even though the rights and duties of all the components of the democracy are demarked, the judiciary enjoys relatively greater powers.
In the recent days, especially after the concept of filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) gained momentum, the judiciary has tried to make many amendments in the functioning of the government. The legislature and the executive, in India, enjoy very little independence. They are widely dependent on each other and the judiciary, but with the increased intervention of the judiciary in oodles of decisions of the government, the executive and the legislature are unable to perform their best. There are, no doubt, many loopholes in the way the government is run but the judiciary should not step in every time to drive a change.
The method of lodging the PIL by an individual, the court or an organisation has brought many changes in the existing laws in past few decades. The common man has realised that one of the best ways to fight the increasing corruption and the laid back attitude of the government is to move to the court and file a PIL. The judiciary cannot take action until approached by an aggrieved. But since there has been an increase in number of PIL lodged, the court has gotten a wider area to intervene in. The PIL provide the
judiciary with supreme power to make changes in the legislature and the executive. This has given it an upper hand and a power to dominate in the nation.
However, if the intensity of the activism goes on increasing, there might come a time when the other aspects of the democracy; namely, executive and the legislature, will lose their identity. It is necessary to ensure that the powers vested in the hands of any of the components are not abused. It will begrime the integrity of the nation’s constitution if the judiciary enjoys sovereign power.
There are no second thoughts associated to the importance of the presence of provisions that add a check on the probability of potential wrong in any nation. But if all the power vests in the hand of only one component of the democracy, it will be difficult to strike a balance in the nation. All the aspects of the democracy are equally important. Therefore, it will not be wrong to state that the power that has come in the hand of the judiciary through the judicial activism might disrupt the balance, if it becomes over active.
It is a widely accepted maxim that excess of anything is bad. Therefore, excess intervention of the judiciary in the functioning of the legislature cannot be deemed good. It is, no doubt, important to review the laws that are passed by the government, but it is incorrect to interfere with every decision that the government makes. If the common people choose the PIL to step into the functioning of the nation, it will be next to impossible for the legislature to function. In order to prevent confusion and obstruction in the path of the government functions, it is necessary to trust the decisions that are taken by the legislature.