New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that it is "helpless" amid critical comments by the government functionaries against it for judicial activism.
"What do we do? We are helpless," remarked a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur. The court was hearing a PIL relating to conditions on child care institutions in the country.
In the backdrop of recent incidents of sexual assault of children in shelter homes in Muzaffarpur and Deoria, the court had proposed setting up national-level and state-level committees for a better monitoring and oversight of these institutions.
But the central government on Tuesday turned down this suggestion.
Advocate R Bala Subramanian, appearing for the Centre, submitted that the existing mechanisms are adequate and that there is no need for one more committee. "Strengthening of the existing institutions are required," he said.
Justice Lokur retorted: "Who will do that? Obviously we can't do anything because if we do something, we will be accused of judicial activism."
Amicus curiae Aparna Bhat requested the court not to get affected by such comments but the bench replied that it has been repeatedly being reminded about the separation of powers recently.
At the Independence Day's celebration in the Supreme Court, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had made certain statements about separation of powers between judiciary and the executive while maintaining that the governance should be left to the government and courts shouldn't do it.
Justice Lokur was also present at this event.
Meanwhile, during the hearing, Bhat emphasised that the charge of judicial activism is completely misplaced since it cannot be that the government will not do anything nor should the Court act.
"If nothing is wrong or working, whose job is to make it right? They don't want to do anything so what do we do? We are criticised for our activism," lamented Justice Lokur.
In its order, the bench, also comprising Justices SA Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, recorded the findings of the study carried out by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and asked for the minutes of the meetings to be conducted by the Centre on September 18 on the issue of shelter homes.
It also asked Bhat to prepare the terms of reference for the proposed Committee and asked all states to respond to it.