Home Judiciary JUDICIAL OVERREACH: A DISQUISITION WITH REGARD TO STAY ORDER ON FARM LAWS

JUDICIAL OVERREACH: A DISQUISITION WITH REGARD TO STAY ORDER ON FARM LAWS

JUDICIAL OVERREACH- AN OVERVIEW

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws - Stay on the farm laws - question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

It is of vital importance to note that there exists a feeble line between what is called judicial activism and judicial overreach and when this line seems to shrink, then arises a question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

Judicial Overreach could be best called a scenario wherein the judiciary exercises excessive powers and seems to interfere in the working mechanism of the legislature as well as the executive. This not only undermines the democracy of a country but also renders the powers of the two organs as inferior to that of judicial autonomy. Such a predicament is highly undesirable and unhealthy in a system of checks and balances where each organ is expected to establish independent procedures.

HAULT ON FARM LAWS

In a recent farmers uprising in relation to the three farm laws passed by the parliament, the apex court acted indistinguishably from that old man in the village who acts as an arbitrator and makes peace between the combatting parties. It passed a landmark judgement whereby it ordered a stay on the implementation of these farm laws indefinitely. Not only this but it also constituted a 4 member committee constituting experts in this field to hear the grievances to which the farmers are being subjected to.

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws - Stay on the farm laws - question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

This intervention turned out to go in utter vain because the disagreement in farmers union about the constitution of such a committee as it had already come to notice that the 4 nominated members had prejudged opinions and expressed their conformity with the pro reforms point of view. The announcement of their names caused a menace and acted like fuel to the burning fire. Hence the farmers became increasingly hostile and this settlement offered by the Apex court was doomed to fail.

A CRITIQUE ON THE STAY DECISION

The halting order of the supreme court presents unfathomable concerns. The myriad of disputes hereby include the lack of participation of the affected party before passing of such a legislation that affects them to undisputable depths and the apprehension of the supreme court acting as a mediator in the situation in question. The appointment of the expert committee also aggravates the instability and raises a serious question that why wasn’t such a committee constituted prior to the enactment of the farm laws?

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws - Stay on the farm laws - question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

However, the larger issue that causes a feeling of dismay amongst us is that whether it was within the ambit of the powers of supreme court to issue such an order? Was the passing of this order a Judicial Overreach kind of situation?

The answer to this question is somewhat in affirmation. The following reasons could be given out in conformation of such an affirmation

  • The court gave such an order in the wake of certain petitions filed with the court regarding the farm laws. a few among which held that these laws were unconstitutional while others supported the “validity of this law” – something which is a fundamental presumption in the domain of judicial review.
  • The reading of the order discloses that the circumstances which coerced the bench’s implementation of the staying order were that the negotiations between the farmers group and the government has been fruitless and a negotiator in the form of an expert committee would “create a congenial atmosphere” that some of the farmer groups agreed to go before a committee.
  • IN the words of J. Markandey Katju “It follows that when a law is made by Parliament, it is only Parliament which can repeal or suspend its operation by making another law. The Court can no doubt declare a law ultra vires if it finds it unconstitutional, but it has no power to temporarily stay its enforcement even without recording a finding that it is prima facie unconstitutional” (OPINION: Can Supreme Court stay implementation of a law? – The Week) but in this case there is no reference made by the bench holding the farm laws as unconstitutional.
  • Only because the farmers find the law to be going against their economic interests but it could however not be held that the entire law is unconstitutional. People are always welcomed to raise their voices even against a valid law which they believe could impinge them adversely and get it changed.

henceforth, ex-facie unconstitutionality and factors like balance of ease, irrevocable injury and community interest are considered by the court to grant such a stay. the court has however been a failure at proving even one firm point to hold the farm law unconstitutional.

THE ADVERSE EFFECT OF THIS JUDICIAL OVERREACH PRECEDENT

Firstly, the bench that upheld this decision has not only led the hampering and hijacking of the law making process and left it as a mere foreplay in the hands of judiciary but has also quoted a bad precedent in the eyes of the protestors. The situation has been such that the laws made by the elected representatives of the parliament are now being held invalid by the unelected set of judges. Moreover it is not court’s role to advise the protestors to go back to their livelihood and is a role to be played by the legislature and the executive.

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws - Stay on the farm laws - question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

Another vital argument which sets the base for calling this decision as a judicial overreach is that it has given out the precedent which has set in minds of the protestors that if pressure is borne out and a chaos is created, the governmental mechanism will be forced to bow down to even the unreasonable demands of the affected and their demands will surely be met.

CONCLUSION

All these questions raised above show the mis-hits by the Indian Judiciary and raise a serious enquiry on the judicial function. Irrespective of the personal view points of varying individuals on the aspect of farm laws , it is imperative to note that ignorance of the doctrine of presumption of constitutionality, the supreme court has acted with immense indemnity to pass an order without providing any legal justification for its decision. The Supreme Court here has apparently acted as per its whims and fancies and has thereby somewhat aided the reduction of its majesty by falling to the stature of a self appointed patriarch of the nation.

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers. Judicial Overreach on the issue of Farm Laws – Stay on the farm laws – question on the constitutional validity of the principle of separation of powers.

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