Supreme Court Chief Justice SH Kapadia on Friday urged the courts to refrain from interfering in the governance of the country as otherwise they would become like a bull in a china shop.
Chief Justice Kapadia, who touched on several issues in the course of his address on the National Law Day, told the courts to be "careful and strict" in entertaining public interest litigations. He said that frivolous PILs should be discouraged.
On another count, Justice Kapadia said that "judicial review is a tool box that should be opened in genuine cases only".
There should be a "correct and coherent" interpretation of the constitution, the Chief Justice of India said in an obvious reference to Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati who had pointed to the increasing tendency of courts to reopen old judgments by referring them to the larger bench.
At the function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Justice Kapadia said that while 300 million people were benefited by the high economic growth, the other 700 million people were in difficulty. In a growing economy, competition was welcome but the matter gets derailed when greed coupled with corruption comes into play, he added.
Expanding on the subject of the rule of law, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said that for a stable society the rule of law is like what oxygen is to atmosphere.
The rule of law ensures that its violators are made to account for it, said Moily. The minister said the rule of law does not come from one quarter but from all quarters of the state and that makes it a system.
He said that three components of the rule of law are that it provides stability to society, environment for economic activities and in the settlement of disputes.
In his welcome address, SCBA president Ram Jethmalani said the rule of law is wholly repugnant to the rule of scam.
While on one hand 37% of the population has to go without proper food, shelter sand healthcare, billions and billions of rupees are stashed away in tax havens, he said.
Jethmalani said that $1,500 billion were illegally stashed away outside the country. If that money is brought back, it would wipe out all the debts of the country, each family would get Rs 2.5 lakh and there would be a tax-free budget for the next 30 years.
He urged the courts to demonstrate their anxiety in making the government to recover and bring back the ill gotten money.
Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati said that the country was passing through troubled times and the rule of law was under stress. He described the situation as "grim".
He said this strain could be seen in the working of the executive, legislature and judiciary. Every one of these institutions was reeling under intra-institutional pressure, the attorney general said.
Vahanvati said that for preserving the rule of law, "there should be a respect for law by the government and respect of the lawful government by the citizens".