President Pranab Mukherjee has cautioned judges against the perils of “judicial activism”.
“Each organ of our democracy must function within its own sphere and must not take over what is assigned to the others…Judicial activism should not lead to the dilution of separation of powers, which is a constitutional scheme. The balance of power between the three organs of the state is enshrined in our Constitution,” he said, while maintaining that “the Constitution is supreme”.
The President warned the judges in his speech during the inauguration of the fourth retreat of the Supreme Court judges at the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal.
President Mukherjee stressed that the independence and integrity of the judiciary is “of the highest importance, not only to the judges but also to people at large who seek judicial redress against perceived legal injury or executive excess”.
He also lauded the judiciary for “enlarging the scope of justice” in a developing country like India.
“For the enforcement of our developing country, our judiciary has enlarged the scope of justice. For the enforcement of fundamental rights, the Supreme Court, through judicial innovation and activism, has expanded the common law principle of ‘locus standi’,” he said.
In this regard, the President also spoke about the how various courts were “overburdened” with over three crore pending cases.
President Mukherjee said pending cases must be “quickly cleared” through multi-dimensional efforts, using statutory and procedural norms in areas like process service, adjournments and delivery of judgements.
“Use of information technology and e-governance can make a positive impact” in the speedy dispensation of justice, said the President.
Talking about vacancies in courts, he rued that the high courts in the country were functioning with only 60 per cent of their sanctioned strength and lauded Chief Justice TS Thakur for speedily filling up vacancies in the high courts and the apex court.
He also showered praises on the apex court, saying it has earned a global reputation for its superior standards.
“Landmark judgements passed by this court have not only strengthened the legal and constitutional framework of our country but are widely cited by the judiciary in many other countries seeking to build progressive jurisprudence. The bench of the Supreme Court is known for its intellectual wisdom and legal scholarship,” he said.
The President was speaking at the fourth Retreat of Supreme Court Judges, the first one was held in 2005.
CJI Thakur, Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court Justice AM Khanwilkar and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were all present at the event.
(With inputs from PTI)