The issue of "judicial activism" came into focus again on Saturday when Union Minister P Chidambaram regretted that the executive’s delay in taking decisions "yielded" space to the judiciary which has been issuing orders on matters like tackling pollution, encroachment, dengue, chickunguniya, loan recoveries and forest conservation.
"Executive has yielded a lot of place to judiciary…it is a very sad development," he said while speaking at a function held to celebrate 60 years of the Constituent Assembly.
The celebration, which coincided with the 60th birthday of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was organised by the AICC’s Legal and Human Rights Cell, which is chaired by MC Bhandare. Among those who attended the function were party treasurer Motilal Vora and Chaudhary Ranbir Singh Hooda, the living member of the Constituent Assembly.
Chidambaram and his Cabinet colleague Kapil Sibal used the occasion to recall that the Constitution has demarcated the roles of the legislature, executive and judiciary and it was important to maintain that balance.
According to the Finance Minister, it was for Parliament to intervene if the executive encroached upon the legislature’s domain. In the case of encroachment by the judiciary, public opinion would come into force. "If executive uses its authority, it does not mean there is no place for judiciary," he said, alluding to the government’s reported moves to bring laws to deal with the objections raised by courts on various issues.
According to Sibal, while implementing and interpreting a law, the executive and judiciary have to ask the question whether it meets the aspirations of the common man.
He referred to a recent Supreme Court order that there was no need for prior sanction to prosecute public servants and said that this principle should apply to the judiciary as well. "It has to be applied for all…The issue of sanction should not be an impediment as long as there is corruption," he said.