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Judicial activism scold: SC Bench won't touch case

Dec 11, 2007 03:59 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: A day after a two-judge Bench slammed judicial activism, a Supreme Court judge refused to hear a case on rehabilitation of women and children undertrials.

Justice S B Sinha of the Supreme Court has said that it is the responsibility of the Executive and Legislature to look into this matter.

The Bench comprising Justices Sinha and H S Bedi noted: "In view of Monday's judgement of this court, the issue, whether this court can entertain and decide such a petition, should be referred to a three-judge bench.''

A PIL filed by an NGO Prajwala, sought directions from the apex court that girls and women arrested under the Immoral Trafficking Act should be treated as victims and not as accused and the State should make arrangements for their proper rehabilitation.

The Bench headed by Justice Sinha directed that the petition be placed before the Chief Justice of India for constituting an appropriate bench for consideration of the issue whether this court has the power to entertain and decide the issues raised in the petition and whether this court is competent to grant the relief sought in the petition.

Meanwhile, another judge, Justice Mukul Mudgal deferred a begging case till February 8, saying he would not want to hear the case till they have heard what the Supreme Court has to say.

The Supreme Court had taken Justice Markandey Katju's comment on judicial activism in all seriousness.

On Monday, Justice Katju had said: "Increasingly judges are encroaching into executive or legislative functions, which is clearly unconstitutional."

A Bench comprising Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju had told the Judiciary, including the Supreme Court and the High Courts, not to overstep their limitations and try to run the government and also telling the judges not to act as emperors. And if the Judiciary continues to encroach into the domain of the other organs of the State, then the politicians may react by curtailing their power.

The hard-hitting judgement has gone to the extent of declaring the Delhi High Court directions on the issue of admission in Nursery classes as illegal when the petitions on the same issue are already pending before the other bench of the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, however said that refusal to hear the PIL was a misinterpretation of justice Katju's observations.

"The refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the matter is grossly improper. Justice Katju's observations are only to the effect that the judiciary should not overreach, but he hasn't said that the judiciary can't interfere with any executive or legislative action, however improper it might be," said Prashant Bhushan.

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