The term ‘judicial overreach’ may not be common in other democracies of the world, but here in India, it is widely known. It refers to the ability of our courts to strike down any legislative law or executive action deemed unconstitutional. Supreme Court of our country has quashed several legislative and executive acts in recent years, some of them includes the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, licenses issued for coal mining and more recently banning the sale of liquor on National Highways.
Besides, it has also increasingly assumed to itself a lot of role which was never envisaged by the constitution. For example, ordering the govt. to set up a body to minimize road fatalities, file status report on the progress of Ganga Clean Up Project, framing guidelines to probe fake encounter cases, black money investigation, ruling on govt. schemes where Aadhar will be mandatory or not and so on. Clearly, these are executive domains and we already have parliamentary committees to keep a watch on them. Still, one may feel that it is good that the judiciary is keeping an eye on everything because it will ensure accountability on the part of the executive. However, this is the very problem affecting our governance.
The failure on the part of the government to govern effectively invites judicial interference. Here, the larger question is, is the judiciary right in its interference, even if its in public interest? Neither they are equipped in doing so nor are they constitutionally empowered. Then why does it keep on interfering? Herein, lies the conflict. The incompetency on the executive’s part invites judicial interference, which creates a crisis and ultimately the common man suffers. Moreover, no one is there to question the judiciary which has led some to call it a ‘super-executive’.
In order to change it, we need to substantially improve our quality of governance, something which has been missing for a long time. A new innovative thinking is the need of the hour. When we standardize our administration, the level of judicial interference will automatically reduce, and so will the conflict between the two. Government must address this urgently.