ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Supreme Folly

The higher judiciary should desist from the temptation to play god.

Over the past few decades, with the executive unable to play its role properly and the legislature in a regular logjam, the courts have come forward to grant relief to the citizenry and order the government to carry out the tasks which it had failed to. The judiciary has de facto come to exercise some powers which ideally should have never been its remit. Therefore, given the extra responsibility that has been thrust on the courts due to the acts of omission and commission of the other two legs of the republic, it is even more necessary for the judiciary to act with caution and restraint.

However, it is distressing to fi nd that in a number of cases the judges of the higher courts have been slipping into policymaking and implementation. In the latest disturbing act of overstepping judicial boundaries, the Supreme Court has ordered the Government of India to implement the river interlinking project. And to ensure that the government does implement this order, the Court has “issue[d] a mandamus to the Central and the State Governments concerned to comply with the directions contained in this judgment effectively and expeditiously and without default”. Further, the Court has given the power of filing contempt of court cases in the event of default or non-compliance of this order.

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