Should the first pillar of democracy be dependent upon the fourth?
Should the first pillar of democracy be dependent upon the fourth ?
If so, what next for the commoners ??
Tejinder Singh Bedi
That the judiciary, legislature, executive, and the media constitute the most effective pillars of our vibrant democracy has been a common understanding ever since our constitution came into force in 1950, media’s catapult as some kind of a last resort to provide redressal to grievances or frustrations of a section of the judiciary itself recently must raise eyebrows by one and all irrespective of vested political or apolitical interests in this highly sensitive matter.
This when the judiciary has been acknowledged as its own final arbitrator, its own watchdog too in our constitution.
Is it that the apex watchdog empowered with the authority to scrutinize any act of the legislature or the executive — who are otherwise free to enact or implement these from overstepping bounds set for them by the constitution has also started feeling resolutions to their pending issues could come through a media trial only?
What do we expect ahead if a stage has really come where the judiciary expected blindly by most to act as a guardian in protecting the fundamental rights of the people as enshrined in the Constitution from infringement by any organ of the State itself too feels threatened of violation of its own rights and thinks riding on the crutches of the media might be its only next resort, though this does not amount to indicate that their frustration or grievances may have been perfectly genuine?
And all this whilst the constitution also mandates that it remains unaffected by the pulls and pressures exerted by other branches of the State, citizens or interest (civil society) groups, holding its independence as being a basic feature of the constitution, being inalienable and not being in a state to be deprived of the same by any acts including amendments by the legislature or the executive.
How also in such an emerging state of conflict can the judiciary be expected to continue balancing the conflicting exercise of power between the Center and State(s) exercising — when multiple pressures of different authorities come into play in the fair implementation of even one decision?
Judiciary has so far largely enjoyed the confidence of the common man despite the fact that many times many a victim of our highly selfish political dispensations may even have outlived their own lifespans or seen many a ups and downs due to verdicts initially going against them and much later in their favors, also due to generally prolonged time-lines of trials. To believe that the recent ongoing in the functioning of the apex court has not impacted this confidence; even if marginally would be too simplistic to believe.
The senior most judges must have weighed the other available options before going public in a group. They could have espoused the issues under their individual or collective articles (write-ups) and no newspaper of substance would have denied them this opportunity merely for the virtue of the exalted offices they hold.The issues could also have been first thrown open to the full house of sitting judges of the apex court for no better collective think tank than them all may have been available outside under one umbrella. If this did not lead to any positive outcomes, the doors of the Vice President and the President of India should have been knocked for intervention.One hopes a similar action like this does never repeat again in future.
It is possible that some experts would opine that after all, it was a matter concerning only 4 of the total strength of judges that came in public and hence a matter of concern only to this small minority section of the apex court by the same logic the stand taken by the Honorable CJI in the matters warranting resolution might also be equally true; as even a smaller minority of just one man body — the CJI himself, one among the other equals with the reigns to run the affairs of the august body and as a perceived master for its rosters. All in all, the matter one hopes gets resolved within the house only while setting any wrongs or misgivings right at the earliest opportunity. The signs for this appear positive which augurs well for its esteem. But just in case, the judges of the apex court can not resolve all the issues involved as a team, God only knows which other teams might be able to — when confronted with similar differences, right or wrong!