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Judicial activism duty of superior courts: SC

Judicial activism or overreach? As the debate rages, the Supreme Court has said superior courts would fail in their constitutional duty if they decline to entertain genuine petitions espousing the cause of the underprivileged.

delhi Updated: Jul 15, 2011 02:07 IST
Satya Prakash

Judicial activism or overreach? As the debate rages, the Supreme Court has said superior courts would fail in their constitutional duty if they decline to entertain genuine petitions espousing the cause of the underprivileged.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said whenever “directions are given for the implementation of laws enacted for the benefit of the have-nots, a debate is started by raising the bogey of judicial activism or overreach”.

Directing the Delhi Jal Board and civic agencies to ensure minimum safety and health standards for its unorganised workers, the bench said, “It will be a sad day when the courts shut their doors to those who without any motive for personal gain or other extraneous reasons seek the protection… of the disadvantaged sections of society”.

The remarks come at a time when the political class and the media have been talking of judicial overreach in the wake of recent verdicts (see box).

“If the system can devote months to hear the elitist class of advocates engaged by those accused of evading taxes… or accused of heinous crimes…, some time can be devoted to hear the grievances of the silent sufferers,” the court said.