Why in News?
The Madras High Court in a recent hearing held ECI as singularly responsible for the 2nd wave of COVID-19 due to its failure to enforce COVID safety guidelines.
Syllabus– GS2: Bilateral Relations
- When EC approached the SC, it has showcased Judicial Statesmanship by dissolving the conflict between EC & HC without pronouncing positively either side.
- It protects the media’s right to report accurately the court’s proceedings even if not made a part of the record.
- It also recorded an appreciation of the performance of the EC & nullified the effect of oral observations of Madras HC.
- But it expressed its displeasure on HC remarks & held that
- Judges need to exercise caution in off-the-cuff remarks in open court which may be susceptible to misinterpretation.
- Also, language on the Bench & in Judgments must confirm with ‘Judicial Propriety’.
- The SC also warns the judges not to misuse their authority by intemperate comments, undignifies banter, or scathing criticism.
Need for Judicial Restraint & Discipline:
- The degree of caution & circumspection by a HC has a direct co-relationship with the nature of judicial review entrusted to it under the Constitution.
- In the words of Justice K Jagannath Shetty, the Judge’s Bench is the seat of power.
- And Judicial Restraint & Discipline are as necessary to the ordinary administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of the army.
- The courts cannot impose their arbitrary decision on the executive simply on being convinced.
- Because they lack machinery & sources to monitor the exact situation on the ground.
- They cannot issue directions & continue making orders sitting in the court’s chambers when the situation demands 24*7 monitoring, diplomacy & strategy.
- The liberally interpreted Judicial activism could be counter-productive & would fail in achieving its laudable purpose if it assumes the judicial governance role.
- The courts have to be cautious that they do not wittingly or unwittingly become a source of obstruction in the performance of the state’s obligations.
- Scathing observations act as disincentives to honest & dutiful officials.
- In the Indian federal structure, the centre has to rise &fulfill the requirements of the states as the Constitution.
- At same time, it has to balance & equanimities the conflicting demands of states as the resources are limited.
Way Forward: –
- The public confidence in the impartial administration of justice would be sustained by firmly upholding the constitutional rights of the people without sacrificing sobriety.
- Judges need to display the qualities of social leadership as they are the keepers of the rule of law.
- The need is for quality of enthusiasm but not for misdirected enthusiasm as it is rarely consistent with impartiality.
- The strength of the judiciary is in understanding their limitations as judicial policy & philosophy are fundamental to the judiciary since they guide the judiciary in the most difficult hours.
- The fundamental principles of the judicial review power over the administrative actions are that the courts review the decision-making process & not the decision itself unless the decision is unconstitutional or perverse.
Restraint & Humility are a constant theme of judge’s power by which they command respect & protect the independence of the judiciary. Discuss.