‘Judicial review should be within limits of Constitution’
Amidst growing debate over the court’s power to review executive decisions, the Supreme Court has cautioned judiciary and said it should exercise this right within the bounds of the Constitution.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia advised courts to use this power with restraint while holding that Parliament cannot make laws on extra-territorial matters that have no impact on the interest of the country.
The Constitution bench judgment came on an appeal filed by a private company challenging the validity of an Income Tax Act provision that mandated a company to withhold part of its payment to a foreign country. The company had moved the SC against the Andhra Pradesh high court judgment upholding the validity of the provision.
Allowing the appeal, the bench said: “Legislative powers are granted to enable the accomplishment of goals of the nation. Powers of judicial review are granted to ensure that legislative and executive powers are used within the bounds specified in the Constitution.”
“Judicial restraint is necessary in dealing with the powers of another coordinate branch of the government, but restraint cannot imply abdication of the responsibility of walking on that edge,” the bench said. Any extra-territorial law enacted by Parliament would be ultra-vires if it did not impact or have any nexus with India, it held.