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Parliament versus judiciary

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s article, “Parliament vs judiciary” was interesting. Our courts are not merely courts of law but courts of justice too; they can’t remain silent spectators when the provisions of the Constitution are subverted by the legislature.

Untrammeled power for the executive is the surest road to tyranny. Where there is injustice, judiciary is bound to correct it; where there is violence, it should punish; and where there is neglect, it should provide care. In English law, C.J. Coke proclaimed in 1965 that the courts’ power was not only to correct errors and misdemeanours but all manners of misgovernment so that no wrong or injury, private or public, can be done. The judges must be conscious of the limits of such power; they must exercise judicial restraint when called for.

Independence of judiciary, being a part of the basic structure of the Constitution, can’t be abridged even by a constitutional amendment. In fact, Article 142 empowers the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction to pass an order for doing complete justice in a case before it.


The powers of judicial review over the functioning of the legislature and executive for enforcing the fundamental and other rights of the citizens under the Constitution is with the judiciary.

The extent of judicial review, especially in the field of public interest litigation, primarily depends on the standards of governance which would invariably affect the people’s rights, thereby warranting judicial intervention. While examining the violations of fundamental rights, the court may have to probe the executive domain in the interest of justice and constitutional parameters.

Indeed, PIL has done great service to the people. It is a potent weapon in the hands of the poor, oppressed and the downtrodden for the vindication of their rights. No remedy was available during the Emergency and the power of detention was vitiated by mala fides when the legislature and the executive have no power to deprive a person of his life or personal liberty without the authority of law.

UMED SINGH GULIA, Supreme Court Advocate, Faridabad


I have great respect for Mr Chatterjee who is committed to progressive ideas. But he was self-contradictory in the article. For instance, he says, “the doctrine of separation of powers provides for checks and balances among the organs of the state, i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary. In our constitutional scheme, there is no exclusive primacy for any one organ”.

In the next breath, he says, “ultimately the fact remains that the legislature must be supreme and must not be interfered by the court of law. No Supreme Court and no judiciary can stand in judgement over the sovereign will of Parliament.” The two statements are self-contradictory.

The writer infers that in a democracy, the ultimate safeguard against the arbitrary exercise of power is the people’s vigilance, implying that the people are supreme. He adds that all constitutional entities should ever remain sensitive to the people’s hopes and aspirations. Then, why is he unhappy when the people laud the judiciary for its interventions?



“No state organ should overstep its limits”, says Mr Somnath Chatterjee. But have legislators confined themselves to legislation and laying down policies leaving the executive free to implement the policies thus laid down? No.

The legislators have demoralised the executive and today no civil servant dares to give an honest opinion on any subject. Surely, the Constitution does not provide that the legislators will control the postings and transfers of IAS officers, doctors, engineers and clerks.

Mr Chatterjee admits that “judiciary is applauded for its intervention”, but he does not go into the reasons thereof. Parliamentarians have enough powers and privileges and stand in no danger of losing the same. judges and civil servants are decent and educated enough to know the limits they are requested to work.

Dr L. R. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Judges and judicial officers work hard during the court time and unlike legislators, do not waste time. Dereliction of duty by the legislators, despite too many allowances and perquisites, is well known. However, in the absence of the right to recall the legislators, the electorate is helpless, according to Mr Chatterjee.

The taxpayer’s money goes down the drain because of the non-functioning of Parliament and state legislatures. Parliament passes fiscal demands of various ministries without any debate. The nation’s conscience is disturbed due to these reasons.

V. M. SETH, Sonepat

Beijing Olympics

China objected to the recent visit of our Prime Minister to Arunachal Pradesh. It considers Arunachal as part of their country. In the past too, it has often denied visas to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh to visit China.

What will happen if China denies visas to sportsmen from Arunachal Pradesh who qualify for the Beijing Olympics? If China behaves irrationally, India must boycott the Beijing Olympics. After all, it is a matter of our own territorial integrity and honour.

ANUPAM SAMRAAT, Bathian Brahmana (Hoshiarpur)

Traffic rules

The letter, “Driving, Punjab style”, highlights the enforcement of traffic rules in Chandigarh UT. However, I would like to present you the other side of the story.

If the Chandigarh cops see a vehicle bearing other state’s registration number, like HP, then the person is indiscriminately booked for violation of traffic rules on one pretext or the other.

Even if all the documents are in proper order, the person is booked for overspeeding. Traffic rules should be followed by all, but this should not be used as a tool to harass the law-abiding citizens.



Strategy for social security

Social security should be provided to every citizen, minor or major, male or female. All taxes paid by a person should be totalled and such category of persons should get reimbursement in case of any loss due to business, trading or manufacturing irrespective of 4-8 years carry forward losses and after attaining 60-65 years of age.

On becoming senior citizen, he or she should get a minimum 10 per cent pension plus free medical treatment of the total taxes paid by him, being the share of the government and interest which the government has earned from taxes. If he/she dies before becoming a senior citizen, the next of the kin should be given these benefits.

Those who don’t pay income-tax should be given free medical treatment towards social security. This benefit should not be given to registered firms and companies who have avoided or saved paying income-tax by tax planning or to those who have saved tax by taking deduction under section 80C, etc.




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