Restrain on Judicial Review – UPSC GS2

Instances of Judicial intervention:
  • A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court observed that it will “hang any person” who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals in Delhi.
  • A bench of the Madras High Court said on April 27 that the Election Commission is singularly responsible for the second wave. It should probably be tried on murder charges for its failure to ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
  • Delhi HC directed the government to prioritize younger people over older ones when it came to administering Amphotericin-B, a drug used to treat mucormycosis.
Problems associated with Judicial intervention:
  • It undermines the spirit of the constitution by violating the doctrine of separation of powers.
  • It disrespects people’s sovereignty, as the legislature is elected by the people. Further, any lacunae in functioning can be duly checked by people in the next elections rather than by the unelected judiciary.
  • Intervention also disregards former judgments of the apex court.
    • Census Commissioner & others v. R Krishnamurthi Case: The Supreme Court (SC) held that it is not within the domain of the court to legislate.
    • The courts have the jurisdiction to declare the law as unconstitutional, but not to plunge into policy-making by adding something to policy by way of issuing a writ of mandamus.
    • Union of India v. Indian Radiological & Imaging Association: It was held that the wisdom of the legislature in adopting the policy cannot be substituted by the court in the exercise of the power of judicial review.
  • Persistent intervention creates distrust between organs of government and impedes smooth governance.
  • Courts didn’t intervene in policy formulation nor took upon themselves the task of arranging oxygen, medicines, and vaccines in any other country owing to the trust of the legislative/executive organ.
Way Ahead:
  • There is a need for judges of superior courts to exercise restraint over their powers of judicial review.
  • Judiciary should focus on curtailing the rising pendency of cases. This would be a more useful and purposive use of the courts’ time than to encroach into the arena of the Executive/Legislature.

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