NEW DELHI: Countering a popular view of the judiciary foraying into legislative and executive domains, Chief Justice N V Ramana on Saturday said judicial scrutiny of the actions of other two organs is the “heart and soul” of the Constitution and keeps people’s faith in the system.
Often the ruling party politicians have termed the stringent scrutiny of the legislative and bureaucratic action by the constitutional courts as the “tyranny of the unelected”, thus referring to the judges as unaware of the social and constituency pressure behind the decision-making process by legislature and executive.
Delivering the inaugural Justice S B Sinha memorial lecture at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, the CJI said, “One gets to hear that judges, being unelected, should not get into legislative and executive arenas. But this ignores the constitutional responsibilities that are placed on the judiciary.”
“Judicial review of legislative and executive actions is an integral part of the constitutional scheme. I would go as far as to state that it is the heart and soul of the Constitution. In my humble view, in the absence of judicial review, people’s faith in our Constitution would have diminished. Judiciary is the organ which breathes life into the Constitution,” he said.
The CJI also met head on the criticism about too many vacations in the SC and the HCs. While the SC works for around 200 days in a year, the HCs work for around 225 days and trial courts for 245 days. He said these are views of those who are unaware of the backbreaking workload for judges. “It is not easy to prepare for more than 100 cases every week, listen to novel arguments, do independent research, and author judgments, while also dealing with the various administrative duties of a judge, particularly of a senior judge,” he said.
“A person who has no connection with the profession cannot even imagine the number of hours that go into preparation. We continue to work even during weekends and court holidays to do research and author pending judgments,” he said. “In this process, we miss out on many joys of our lives. At times, I wonder if my grandchildren would recognise me at all after failing to see them for days together. Therefore, when false narratives are created about the supposed easy life led by judges, it is difficult to swallow,” he said.