IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 23rd Jan
EDITORIAL HUNT #322 :“Legislature versus Judiciary : Farm Bills | UPSC”
Anuj Bhuwania and Arun Thiruvengadam
Legislature versus Judiciary : Farm Bills | UPSC
Are courts encroaching on the powers of the executive?
The courts are increasingly intervening in matters without providing sound legal reasoning
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Judiciary
The apex court of India has stayed the implementation of Farm Laws. Is there a case for the Supreme Court, or for the High Courts for that matter, to be more proactive in matters of governance? Comment -(GS 3)
- What is the recent order ?
- The intent of Court to resolve the Farmer’s issues
- Judicial Review
- Way Forward
THE ORDER : On January 12, 2021, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws passed in September 2020.
FORMULATION OF COMMITTEE : The apex court ordered the constitution of a committee of experts to negotiate between the farmers’ bodies and the Government of India.
A LEGISLATIVE TILT : Rather than deliberating on the constitutionality of the three laws, the court appears to be trying to move some of the parties towards a political settlement.
THE INTENT OF COURT : In the present instance of the court staying the farm laws and forming a committee is to break the deadlock between the farmers and the government.
JUDICIAL CHECK : As the court itself noted in its January 12 order, there are three sets of petitions: one is challenging the constitutionality of the laws and the others are with regard to the protests.
CHANCES OF NEGOTIATION : None of them ask the court to negotiate between the two parties.
SECURITY ASPECTS : Court also said that the police alone can take a call on the security aspect.The court is not even framing these cases before it in legal terms.
MARATHA RESERVATION CASE : The court gave the precedent of the Maratha reservation case in which it had issued a stay, but in that instance, the stay was given on constitutional grounds.
ROOTS OF CONTROVERSY : The issues are of federalism, of agriculture being a State subject, as well as the manner in which the voice vote was passed in the Rajya Sabha, which was controversial.
CLEAR LEGAL BASE : The court cites “assuaging hurt feelings” of a section of people who are protesting against the laws as a reason to stay a parliamentary law, the order does not seem to have a clear legal basis.
JUSTIFY LEGAL MANDATES : Courts are, of course, competent to issue stay orders on parliamentary laws, but they need to set out legal reasons.
JUDICIAL OVERREACH : This question of judicial overreach is a phenomenon that has been observed in multiple contexts in various countries.
THE POWER TO REVIEW : The idea that judges can exercise review powers to overturn laws enacted by democratically elected governments and Parliaments is of fairly recent origin.
POPULARITY OF JUDICIAL REVIEW : It is only in the post-World War II era that this idea has become dominant around the world. This has also led to changes in thinking about the role of courts.
AVOIDING MISCOMMUNICATION : So, the court can point out that a law that Parliament has passed is inconsistent with the Constitution to a particular extent, and can allow Parliament time to fix the identified problem.
MISSING ELEMENTS : What we’re seeing recently is the court is very reluctant to take up constitutional challenges to similarly politically controversial moves.
CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACIES : The classic justification for taking up these cases is to uphold the interests of a group which cannot prevail in a majoritarian system of elections, which are important but not the only concern of constitutional democracies.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES : The constitutional challenge to the farm bills involves far more people and far more serious questions than only the farmers who have gathered at the borders of Delhi.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Legislature versus Judiciary : Farm Bills | UPSC