In defence of judicial activism

I differ with Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s views in his address, under the caption “No single authority is supreme” (April 28). It seems the politician in the Speaker has taken the better of him when he terms judicial review as judicial activism.

Though the functions and responsibilities of the three pillars of democracy are well demarcated, the legislature craves for unbridled power. Since the lawmakers are elected by the people, they have to protect their vote banks.

Of late, the lawmakers tend to go overboard to make laws to please or benefit a particular section of society. In the process, they cross the Lakshman Rekha. And when the judiciary steps in to discharge its constitutional obligation, it is termed as judicial activism. For a democracy, the judiciary must be active rather than passive.

Lt SUKHDEV SINGH GILL (retd),Jagraon



The judiciary had intervened only when the legislators had violated the Constitution while enacting laws. The controversies over Office of profit and demolition of unauthorised structures in Delhi are recent examples. Even in the case of the OBC quota, the legislators ought to remember that equality, not reservations, forms the basic structure of the Constitution.

Reservations are a departure from the basic structure. The creamy layer’s non-exclusion is a clear violation of the concept of helping the backward, and yet the politicians are not ready to see reason because the dalits in power are affected. Sadly, the politicians are not fighting for principles. They feel that if laws stand in the way of their plans, it is the law that should be questioned and not the legislature!

The legislature has completely subordinated and overshadowed the executive. They are now after the judiciary and will soon have judges of their choice posted in their constituencies, just as they insist on having DCs and SPs posted so. The move must be resisted tooth and nail.

Dr D.R. SHARMA, Sloan


I endorse Mr Chatterjee’s view that the Constitution does not contemplate a super-organ. But he seems to forget that the court’s authority is an essential feature of our federal polity. The Constitution vests with the courts the final power to interpret the Constitution and nullify any action on the part of the federal and the state governments or their different organs which violate the provisions of the Constitution.

I request the Lok Sabha Speaker to first remind Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh that the country was divided in 1947. Is he planning to include Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as well in his 27 per cent quota plan? Why else use 1931 census as the basis of quota?

If Mr Arjun Singh is so concerned, why doesn’t he frame policies to help the Bhils, the Gonds and the Nagas who are really backward? Over 85 per cent of Bhils are illiterate. The Gonds suffer from malnutrition and survive on snakes and ants.



In a democracy, all citizens have equal rights under the law irrespective of one’s race, religion, caste or class. The judiciary is very much a part of the democratic set up and has a role to play besides interpreting the law and dispensing justice. This, however, does not make judiciary supreme. Parliament or state legislatures can point out lapses in the functioning of the judiciary. For the success of the democracy, all the organs should learn to work in concert.

Democracy began in England in 1215. In the US, the Declaration of Independence in 1776 incorporated all the ideals that should inspire a democratic nation. Our founding fathers never thought that democratic values would be compromised by the powers that be. Otherwise, they would have introduced some more checks in the Constitution. Both the legislature and the judiciary should work in harmony and serve the nation.



The Constitution has not given unbridled powers to those entrusted with the responsibility of managing public affairs. We are living in a democratic set-up where things have to be done within the parameters of the Constitution. We are not living in a Communist state where all institutions are subordinated to the government.

In the corrupt Indian society, where people have lost faith in the credibility of the legislature and the executive, the judiciary is the only hope. The duty of interpreting the Constitution lies not with Parliament but with the judiciary. Its refusal to buckle under the pressure of unscrupulous politicians deserves to be appreciated.

IQBAL SINGH, Jalandhar City

Transfer of ownership

The Chandigarh Administration has allowed CHB flats’ transfer on GPA holders’ names. But its two conditions — the production of two guarantors and no violation in the original architecture by the applicant — are too difficult to comply with. The CHB should ease the conditions to help GPA holders transfer the units on their names.

The GPA holders of discretionary quota allotment are banned from availing themselves of the benefit. The CHG bylaws prevent original allottees from selling houses for 10 years, but the buyers won’t be able to know the conditions in the allotment letter until the deal is finalised through the property dealers and the house cost at market value is paid to the original allottee. The buyer alone knows the allotment, DQ conditions and other details and it is too late to return.

In this scenario, the original DQ allottees make huge profits and the needy buyers suffer most. The CHB should take a lenient view of the buyers’ lapse, if any, and help them transfer the property on their names.

V. S. DOBHAL, Chandigarh



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