Supreme Court of India 

Supreme Court of India 

Author : Mr. Aniket Dwevedi

 

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India and came into being on 28 January 1950. It is known to everyone that the Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution and, as such, its guardian. The authority of the Court is further enhanced by the provision that “the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts within the territory of India.”                                       

 

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India and came into being on 28 January 1950. It is known to everyone that the Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution and, as such, its guardian. The authority of the Court is further enhanced by the provision that “the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts within the territory of India.” (Art 141). An enumeration of various powers of the Supreme Court will show how impressive and formidable they are. To recount the most important of them: The Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. As the final interpretational authority of the Constitution, its power embraces not only the interpretation of the Constitution but also that of the laws of the Union, the States and local authorities.

 

  1. 1. What are some dark truths about the Supreme Court of India?

 

  • A number of judges:
    The total number judges of Supreme Court are 31 and still takes a long vacation and works for 193 days in each year – these summer vacations are from the colonial era and should have ended with the country getting independence. But the judiciary headed by the SC hasn’t thought it fit to get rid of these things even now even though the speed at which the cases are being disposed are too slow to clear up even the current lot of pending case. The total number of pending case is 60000. There is a need to reduce the vacations of judges and they should sit for the whole day so that the maximum numbers of cases can be disposed of.
  • Right to speedy justice:
    It is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution but all the delay and lack of accountability amount to a daily mockery of the fundamental right to speedy trial.
  • Intervention in lower courts:
    The fact that the SC rarely intervenes when seriously questionable judgments are made by the different lower level courts in the country. Isn’t it expected of the SC to pull up judges and juries at the lower level courts when it is abundantly clear that the legal process has been thwarted?
  • Transparency:
    There is a need for a more transparent process for selecting judges/justices.

 

  1. Is the Supreme Court of India reliable or corrupt?

  • In my opinion is yes. The job of the Judiciary is to interpret the laws. The SC has done that well. The SC has also shown a good amount of balance between Judicial activism and Judicial restraint. The SC has not meddled into Politics and many times has dismissed the petitions that involved ‘Doctrine of the Political question’. The SC has also been very active where there is a need.  The SC has issued guidelines (Like the Vishakha guidelines which were issued to curb sexual harassment at workplace, before the law was enacted. Now, the law is mostly based on the guidelines itself) where it saw executive inaction.

 

  • The SC has time and again interpreted the Constitutional amendments designed to defeat the very spirit of the Constitution by the then rogue government.  The SC gave us the ‘Basic Structure doctrine’ which literally salvaged the Constitution which would have otherwise become a dead document.  Now, the Constitution of India is ever dynamic and has the right balance of being flexible as well as true to its essence.  

 

  • These two are just among the very many interesting ways in which the SC has shown judicial activism. So yes, the SC is a glorious institution which is upholding the spirit of our Constitution.

 

  • The corruption at Supreme Court is very rare and it is difficult to convince both judges of the bench by way of corruption. It is very difficult to get a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court by corrupt practice.

 

  1. Why is Supreme Court called as protective guardian?

 

  • Supreme court is the guardian of our “Constitution”.
  • Because it comes under The Constitution of India and it is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its supreme institution.
  • Supreme court has the authority to declare any law, that is not in compliance with the constitution as, ultra vires.
  • If our fundamental rights are denied we can directly approach the Supreme court.
  • Some of the Judgements of the Supreme court are a watershed moment in Indian history. “Kesavananda Bharati vs the State of Kerala”. The judgement that saved the Indian constitution. The Supreme court ruled that ” Indian Parliament has the right to change any part of the constitution until it doesn’t violate the basic structure of the constitution”.
  • When the executive fails it is the Judiciary that comes to rescue. Supreme court is the last ray of hope for the common man.

 

  1. Why is the Indian Judicial System so sluggish?

 

  • Shortage of judges is one of the formidable challenges which the judiciary is facing for a long time now. This problem appears to have gotten so dire that there aren’t easy policy prescriptions to fix it. The reforms required to fix the problem by increasing the number of judges. As per the calculation of an expert, in case no new case is filed at the court, then also it would take 3 to 4  years to decide all the pending cases.
  • However, in spite of the introduction of Fast Track Courts, there was no apparent speeding up of judicial setup. One of the reasons for this was staff crunch, which prevented the courts from functioning in a time-bound manner. Also, it led to an excessive burden on public prosecutors. There are instances when a prosecutor had two or more cases being listed at the same time but in different courts.
  • Also, the gap between the dates of hearing extends to several years, thereby increasing the pendency of cases. Moreover, an increase in the reporting of certain crimes such as crime against women has led to a rise in the workload of the judiciary.

 

  1.  What are the problems faced by the Supreme Court of India?

There are certain inherent problems in working of Supreme Court which show the weaknesses and defects of the system. Some of them are-

  • Corruption in Judiciary:  Corruption in Indian judiciary is considered pervasive: over 45% of Indians believe the judiciary is corrupt, a view shared by external assessments. Not only is corruption rampant in the lower courts, some have alleged that this corruption reaches the highest levels. There are many lawyers who may be greedy, unscrupulous, many lawyers who act against their client for money taken from the other side. There are many corrupt lawyers in India who creates an illusion in mind of judges just for sake of money which resulted in wrong decision making. Even Police play an important role in corruption in the judiciary. The rich and powerful people can bring the police to their sides, and the police can harass or silence inconvenient and poor persons, during the long ordeals in the courts.
  • Lack of transparency: Another problem facing the Indian judicial system is the lack of transparency. It is seen that the Right to Information (RTI) Act is totally out of the ambit of the legal system. Thus, in the functioning of the judiciary, the substantial issues like the quality of justice and accountability are not known properly.
  • No interaction with the society: It is very essential that the judiciary of any country should be an integral part of the society and its interactions with the society must be made regular and relevant. It is also seen that there is involvement of common citizens in judicial decision-making in several countries. However, in India, the Indian judicial system has no connection with the society, something which it had inherited from the British judicial set-up. But, things should have changed over the last 60 years. Even today, the law officers have not been able to come close to the ground to meet the common people.

 

An enumeration of various powers of the Supreme Court will show how impressive and formidable they are. To recount the most important of them: The Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. As the final interpretational authority of the Constitution, its power embraces not only the interpretation of the Constitution but also that of the laws of the Union, the States and local authorities.

 

  1. 1. What are some dark truths about the Supreme Court of India?

 

  • A number of judges:
    The total number judges of Supreme Court are 31 and still takes a long vacation and works for 193 days in each year – these summer vacations are from the colonial era and should have ended with the country getting independence. But the judiciary headed by the SC hasn’t thought it fit to get rid of these things even now even though the speed at which the cases are being disposed are too slow to clear up even the current lot of pending case. The total number of pending case is 60000. There is a need to reduce the vacations of judges and they should sit for the whole day so that the maximum numbers of cases can be disposed of.
  • Right to speedy justice:
    It is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution but all the delay and lack of accountability amount to a daily mockery of the fundamental right to speedy trial.
  • Intervention in lower courts:
    The fact that the SC rarely intervenes when seriously questionable judgments are made by the different lower level courts in the country. Isn’t it expected of the SC to pull up judges and juries at the lower level courts when it is abundantly clear that the legal process has been thwarted?
  • Transparency:
    There is a need for a more transparent process for selecting judges/justices.

 

          Is the Supreme Court of India reliable or corrupt?

  • In my opinion is yes. The job of the Judiciary is to interpret the laws. The SC has done that well. The SC has also shown a good amount of balance between Judicial activism and Judicial restraint. The SC has not meddled into Politics and many times has dismissed the petitions that involved ‘Doctrine of the Political question’. The SC has also been very active where there is a need.  The SC has issued guidelines (Like the Vishakha guidelines which were issued to curb sexual harassment at workplace, before the law was enacted. Now, the law is mostly based on the guidelines itself) where it saw executive inaction.

 

  • The SC has time and again interpreted the Constitutional amendments designed to defeat the very spirit of the Constitution by the then rogue government.  The SC gave us the ‘Basic Structure doctrine’ which literally salvaged the Constitution which would have otherwise become a dead document.  Now, the Constitution of India is ever dynamic and has the right balance of being flexible as well as true to its essence.  

 

  • These two are just among the very many interesting ways in which the SC has shown judicial activism. So yes, the SC is a glorious institution which is upholding the spirit of our Constitution.

 

  • The corruption at Supreme Court is very rare and it is difficult to convince both judges of the bench by way of corruption. It is very difficult to get a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court by corrupt practice.

 

 

         Why is Supreme Court called as protective guardian?

 

  • Supreme court is the guardian of our “Constitution”.
  • Because it comes under The Constitution of India and it is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its supreme institution.
  • Supreme court has the authority to declare any law, that is not in compliance with the constitution as, ultra vires.
  • If our fundamental rights are denied we can directly approach the Supreme court.
  • Some of the Judgements of the Supreme court are a watershed moment in Indian history. “Kesavananda Bharati vs the State of Kerala”. The judgement that saved the Indian constitution. The Supreme court ruled that ” Indian Parliament has the right to change any part of the constitution until it doesn’t violate the basic structure of the constitution”.
  • When the executive fails it is the Judiciary that comes to rescue. Supreme court is the last ray of hope for the common man.

 

  1. Why is the Indian Judicial System so sluggish?

 

  • Shortage of judges is one of the formidable challenges which the judiciary is facing for a long time now. This problem appears to have gotten so dire that there aren’t easy policy prescriptions to fix it. The reforms required to fix the problem by increasing the number of judges. As per the calculation of an expert, in case no new case is filed at the court, then also it would take 3 to 4  years to decide all the pending cases.
  • However, in spite of the introduction of Fast Track Courts, there was no apparent speeding up of judicial setup. One of the reasons for this was staff crunch, which prevented the courts from functioning in a time-bound manner. Also, it led to an excessive burden on public prosecutors. There are instances when a prosecutor had two or more cases being listed at the same time but in different courts.
  • Also, the gap between the dates of hearing extends to several years, thereby increasing the pendency of cases. Moreover, an increase in the reporting of certain crimes such as crime against women has led to a rise in the workload of the judiciary.

 

  1.  What are the problems faced by the Supreme Court of India?

 

There are certain inherent problems in working of Supreme Court which show the weaknesses and defects of the system. Some of them are-

  • Corruption in Judiciary:  Corruption in Indian judiciary is considered pervasive: over 45% of Indians believe the judiciary is corrupt, a view shared by external assessments. Not only is corruption rampant in the lower courts, some have alleged that this corruption reaches the highest levels. There are many lawyers who may be greedy, unscrupulous, many lawyers who act against their client for money taken from the other side. There are many corrupt lawyers in India who creates an illusion in mind of judges just for sake of money which resulted in wrong decision making. Even Police play an important role in corruption in the judiciary. The rich and powerful people can bring the police to their sides, and the police can harass or silence inconvenient and poor persons, during the long ordeals in the courts.
  • Lack of transparency: Another problem facing the Indian judicial system is the lack of transparency. It is seen that the Right to Information (RTI) Act is totally out of the ambit of the legal system. Thus, in the functioning of the judiciary, the substantial issues like the quality of justice and accountability are not known properly.
  • No interaction with the society: It is very essential that the judiciary of any country should be an integral part of the society and its interactions with the society must be made regular and relevant. It is also seen that there is involvement of common citizens in judicial decision-making in several countries. However, in India, the Indian judicial system has no connection with the society, something which it had inherited from the British judicial set-up. But, things should have changed over the last 60 years. Even today, the law officers have not been able to come close to the ground to meet the common people.

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