State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Prabhat Patnaik has said that selective judicial activism was worse, as it works against the interests of the people.
In his address at the inauguration of the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Law Reforms at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) at Kaloor here, Prof. Patnaik said that the judiciary has not been equally assertive against economic policies followed in the country. He said that the legal profession has not been able to take a position against the implications of the economic regime, which is producing huge disparities in the society.
Recalling that the legal profession and judiciary were successful in taking a stance against Emergency in 1975, Prof. Patnaik said that it had then pointed out that our constitution has an essence and any violation cannot be permitted. He said that the judiciary and the legal profession now do not view economic assault as a violation of democracy. Prof. Patnaik said that the significant impoverishment of large sections of the population has implications for the political democracy, as it will affect its functioning.
Stating that the legal profession shies away from addressing economic policies that need to be rectified, Prof. Patnaik said that the present Emigration Act does not address the problems being faced by the migrants.
Urging the legal profession to put pressure on the government to convene a meeting of nations in the Gulf to discuss the problems being faced by the non-resident Indians, Prof. Patnaik said that many workers were living in abysmal conditions in the Gulf.
Suggesting that attempts should be made to activate the Indian embassies in such countries, Prof. Patnaik said that the authorities should set up a legal defence mechanism that would help the emigrants in ensuring their human rights.
K. Sukumaran, former judge of the Kerala High Court, delivered the keynote address at a workshop on ‘making the Emigration Act 1983 more migrant friendly’ held on the occasion. N. K. Jayakumar, Vice Chancellor of NUALS, said in his presidential address that the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Law Reforms was part of the four new centres of learning initiated by the university. Others include Centre for Law and Development, Centre for Law and Agriculture and Centre for Police Studies.