This refers to the article “Lessons in judicial restraint” (July 20). The purpose of judicial activism was to increase access to justice. The U.S. is a mature democracy where the legislature and the executive function strictly in their domain. We can’t say the same thing about India. We know our political culture. It is dominated by emotions, and parties win elections using vote banks and identity politics.
Most of our people do not even know when they are in a problem. Agreed, the law-making body should not be undermined. But Parliament meets for only a few days in a year, with some sessions adjourned due to several reasons. The encroachment of the judiciary in the legislative and executive domain is justified if it ensures people’s welfare.
Saumya Agarwal, New Delhi
Like many others, I too hope the article will send the right signal to the judiciary in Pakistan and elsewhere. The judiciary has the power to pass orders but it is for the executive to implement them. The setting aside of Indira Gandhi’s election by the judiciary led to the proclamation of Emergency. But the subsequent general elections threw both Indira Gandhi and the Congress out of power. The common man did what a court order could not do. Judicial activism has its limitations. It should not encroach into the legislature’s domain.
A. Subbalakshmi, Bangalore
The balance of power among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive is meaningful only in a country which has a fairly long tradition of democracy. It is difficult for the constitutional actors to appreciate the delicate balance of power in a country where dictatorship, military rule or monarchy is the order. The Constitution is what the judiciary interprets it to be. But the spirit of the Constitution is “we, the people” and it cannot be changed to “we, the judges.” Constitutional standards are evolving. Judicial verdicts should reflect the law, established conventions and prevailing public opinion, more so in a democratic set-up. Judicial activism is a slippery slope.
S. Arunajatesan, Chennai
Keywords: judicial activism