It is disheartening to read many letters favouring the Supreme Court ruling that the laws included in the Ninth Schedule are open to judicial review. It appears that the judiciary is assuming the ultimate authority of deciding what is in the interest of the common man. This is not a welcome trend. Every law that gives shape to the economic policies of elected governments could well be struck down on the ground that it violates the fundamental rights of one section or the other.
The very fact that legislators have found it convenient to shove 284 laws in the Ninth Schedule shows they had apprehensions about their constitutional validity. If Parliament alone is supreme and the judiciary should not test the validity of the laws passed by it, the Constitution is best amended to place all the laws outside the scope of judicial review. The word `supreme' prefixing the court is best dropped since it would no longer be appropriate to refer to it as such.
The Ninth Schedule was a well thought out constitutional mechanism. It sprung from the recognition of the need for quick implementation of certain critical laws for the establishment of a just social order. However, over the years, the Schedule became a convenient shield to keep laws out of judicial purview.
But it is also true that social discrimination continues to be as acute as ever. The fundamental right of dignified life is denied to many even now. In the interest of social justice, the protection of laws under the Ninth Schedule should continue. What is needed is the laying down of objective yardsticks for inclusion of laws in the Schedule to ensure that it is not misused.