KERALA

Judiciary helped country tackle Emergency challenge: Judge

Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: K.A. Abdul Ghafoor, Judge of the Kerala High Court, has said that whenever the judiciary intervenes to correct any violation of the Constitution, the same should not be interpreted by the administration as an instance of judicial activism but as a move to protect the democratic rights of people.

He was delivering the keynote address on `Role of the judiciary in protecting democracy' at a function organised to commemorate the 11th death anniversary of the advocate Puthur Gopalakrishnan here on Saturday.

Mr. Ghafoor said the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should function within the parameters of the Constitution, and if there was a violation of it, the judiciary was duty bound to intervene.

During the last 55 years, India had cultivated a democratic culture. The people enjoyed not only voting rights but also freedom of expression and equality. Whenever there was a threat or challenge to democracy, it had come from the administration. The Emergency, during the mid-Seventies, was the biggest such challenge.

Yet, the people triumphed in overthrowing that challenge, mainly because the Constitution was upheld by the judiciary with the support of people. This truth had been proved often.

Mr. Ghafoor said that to protect democracy, the judiciary was prepared to face any threat. Many landmark judgments were pronounced in this connection.

He said the post-Emergency period saw aspects such as human rights get a new lease of life. The judiciary complemented that by ordering a new philosophy called the public interest litigation (PIL), through which the voiceless and the downtrodden gained voice.

The PIL became a powerful weapon for those denied human rights. That again was another role of the judiciary in protecting democracy, he said.

He opined that the true base of the free judicial system was the lawyers. Hence, the lawyers had a basic role to play in building up a free and impartial judicial system. The judiciary could protect democracy through impartial judgments, upholding the Constitution and give priority to public interest. To avoid delay in getting justice, there should be legislation for arbitration, instead of dragging all cases to courts.

Mayor N. Padmalochanan delivered the commemorative address. President of the Kollam Bar Association M.A. Salam presided. District Judge S.S. Satheesh Kumar distributed scholarships from the Puthur Gopalakrishnan Endowment.