The judiciary was constrained to undertake an activist’s role after its verdict in the ADM Jabalpur case of 1975-77 in which the Supreme Court held no one could approach courts to enforce their rights during the Emergency period, a senior judge said on Monday.
Justice Dipak Misra said at the fifth LM Singhvi Memorial Lecture that the judgment corroded the balance the judiciary struck in the preceding years to retain the concept of federal structure.
In a transformed role, the judiciary changed its perception and took a pro-poor and pro-right stand.
In his keynote on “Indian Justice System: Thoughts for progressive orientation,” he traced the development of jurisprudence.
“In the first 15 years, the court was quite conservative. Thereafter, there was the era which concentrated on rights, but the interpretative process was not progressive.”
In the 1970s, the court played a balancing role and the concept of federal structure was maintained. The post-Emergency era, Justice Misra said, recorded numerous cases that involved progressive interpretation of the Constitution.
“It adopted a ‘progressively interventionist’ role in the state’s affairs, especially with regard to socio-economic rights,” he said.
He lauded the 2015 top court verdict that struck down a controversial provision under the information technology law, which punished those posting “offensive material” on social media. “It was a very significant development in the field of cyber law,” he said.
In her address, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan called for judicial reforms in the country.
The law commission’s recommendations concerning disposal method, appointment of judges and creation of courts merit serious considerations and action, she said.