IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 28th Sep 2020
Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.– Bob Riley
EDITORIAL HUNT #159 :“Supreme Court and the Pandemic | UPSC“
Supreme Court and the Pandemic | UPSC
Dushyant Dave is a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and is President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Where is the sentinel guarding our rights?
The Supreme Court has increasingly come under the public gaze for its repeated failures
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Judiciary : SC
Critically examine the role of Master of the roaster in the times of Pandemic , Uplifting the most vulnerable and weaker section of the society. -(GS 2)
- Exercise of Power
- Functioning of the Court
- P.K. GHOSH V. J.G. RAJPUT (1995) : SC- “Credibility in the functioning of the justice delivery system is relevant to ensure impartiality of the judiciary.
- RIGHT TO GET REDRESS : The right to get redress from the Court is itself a fundamental right, and the Court cannot abandon its own duty in this regard.
EXERCISE OF POWER
- REPEATED DOWNFALLS : The Court has increasingly come under the public gaze not for its role as the protector of the Constitution but for its repeated failures.
- ALLOCATION OF BENCHES : Chief Justices have used their powers to constitute Benches and allocate cases to such Benches in a highly selective manner.
- PURPOSE OF LAW : This defeats the fundamental principle of the rule of law.
- CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP : There is no doubt that the Chief Justice must be the administrative head.
- FAIRNESS : But he must exercise his powers in a fair and just manner.
- TOTAL JUDGES : The Supreme Court consists of a maximum of 34 judges although it generally functions with around 30.
- REALLOCATION : Yet, constitution of Benches and allocation of cases have left much to be desired in the last five years.
- CONTROVERSIES : Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul’s suicide note, which otherwise is an admissible piece of evidence, carried serious allegations against “two senior-most judges” of the Supreme Court.
- ENQUIRY SQUASHED : Pul’s wife requested an inquiry, which Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and his colleagues stopped.
- CONTRAST : Supreme Court ordering an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, where no suicide note was found.
- JUSTICE LOYA CASE : The same Court declined to order any inquiry into the demise of judge B.S. Loya, thereby failing to reassure the subordinate judiciary that it stands with it.
- HIGH HANDEDNESS : The entire judiciary and executive demonstrated their high-handedness in the case.
FUNCTIONING OF THE COURT
- REDUCED OUTPUT : Since the lockdown, the Supreme Court has been functioning in a truncated manner.
- VIRTUAL HEARINGS : Despite repeated requests from the Bar, virtual hearings have not improved.
- EFFICACY : While the High Courts have been using better systems, the Supreme Court persists on using a system which does not allow all the judges to sit every day.
- IRRATIONALITY : The Court, which in March stated that the migrant exodus was triggered by panic created by fake news/ broadcasting false / vilifying a section of Indians.
- PROTECTOR OF FR : The working of the Court is far from satisfactory although the Court claims that sufficient number of matters are being heard.
- UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE : The Court needs to re-address its role assigned under the Constitution.
- REASSERT SENSITIVITY : The Supreme Court must reassert emphatically that it is truly the sentinel on the qui vive as regards the fundamental rights of all citizens.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Supreme Court and the Pandemic | UPSC