Union Judiciary : The Supreme Court ; its role and powers
The Supreme Court is the highest court of The Indian Republic. Judiciary, the third organ of the government, has an important role to play in the governance. It settles the disputes, interprets laws, protects fundamental rights and acts as guardian of the Constitution. India has a single unified and integrated judicial system and that the Supreme Court is the highest court in India.
The promulgation of Regulating Act of 1773 by the King of England paved the way for establishment of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta. The Letters of Patent was issued on 26 March 1774 to establish the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, as a Court of Record, with full power & authority to hear and determine all complaints for any crimes and also to entertain, hear and determine any suits or actions against any of His Majesty’s subjects in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The Supreme Courts at Madras and Bombay was established by King George – III on 26 December 1800 and on 8 December 1823 respectively.
Federal Court of India was established under the Government of India Act 1935. The Federal Court had jurisdiction to solve disputes between provinces and federal states and hear appeal against Judgements from High Courts.
After India attained independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into being on 26 January 1950. The Supreme Court of India also came into existence and its first sitting was held on 28 January 1950.
The Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of India. While appointing the Chief Justice, the President is constitutionally required to consult such other judges of the Supreme Court as he deems proper, but outgoing Chief Justice is always consulted. Normally, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court is appointed as the Chief Justice of India, although there is no constitutional requirement to do so. While appointing other judges, the President is bound to consult the Chief Justice and other senior judges, if he deems proper.
The original Constitution of 1950 envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne Judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number.
According to the Constitution of India, the role of the Supreme Court is that of a federal court, guardian of the Constitution and the highest court of appeal. Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution of India lay down the composition and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India. Primarily, it is an appellate court which takes up appeals against judgments of the High Courts of the states and territories.
The Supreme Court is a Court of Record. It has two implications. All its decisions and judgments are cited as precedents in all courts of the country. They have the force of law and are binding on all lower Courts, and indeed the High Courts. As a Court of Record, the Supreme Court can even send a person to jail who may have committed contempt of the court.
As a Federal Court: Supreme Court is the Federal Court of India, India being a federation; powers are divided between the Union and State governments. The Supreme Court of India is the final authority to see to it that the division of powers as specified in the constitution is obeyed by both the Union and the State governments. So, Article 131 of the Indian Constitution vests the Supreme Court with original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine the justiciable disputes between the Union and the States or between the States.
Interpreter of the Constitution and Law: The responsibility of interpreting the constitution rests on the Supreme Court. The interpretation of the constitution which the Supreme Court shall make must be accepted by all. It interprets the constitution and preserves it. Where a case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution either certified by the High Court or being satisfied by the Supreme Court itself, an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court for interpretation of the question of law raised.
As a Court of Appeal: The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal from all courts in the territory of India. Appeal lies to the Supreme Court of the cases involving interpretation of the constitution. Appeals in respect of civil and criminal cases also lie to the Supreme Court irrespective of any constitutional question.
Advisory Role: The Supreme Court has an advisory jurisdiction in offering its opinion an any question of law or fact of public importance as may be referred to it for consideration by the President.
Guardian of the Constitution: The Supreme Court of India is the guardian of the constitution. There are two points of significance of the Supreme Court’s rule as the protector and guardian of the constitution.
- First, as the highest Federal Court, it is within the power and authority of the Supreme Court to settle any dispute regarding division of powers between the Union and the States.
- Secondly, it is in the Supreme Court’s authority to safeguard the fundamental rights of the citizens.
In order to discharge these two functions it is sometimes necessary for the Supreme Court to examine or review the legality of the laws enacted by both the Union and the State Governments. This is known as the power of Judicial Review. Indian Supreme Court enjoys limited power of Judicial Review.
Writ Jurisdictions: Under Article 32 of the constitution of Supreme Court can issue Writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights. These writs are in the nature of Habeas Corpus, Mandamas, Prohibition, and Quo-warranto Certiorari.
Power of Judicial Review and Supreme Court: The power of the Judiciary to examine the validity of such law is called Judicial Review. The Supreme Court of India enjoys limited power of Judicial Review. Judicial Review empowers the courts to invalidate laws passed by the legislature. Supreme Court of India also enjoys the power of Judicial Review. If it occurs to the Supreme Court that any law enacted by Parliament or by a State Legislature curbs or threatens to curb the citizen’s fundamental rights, the Supreme Court may declare that law as unlawful or unconstitutional.
High Court: Organization, Powers and functions
The India High Courts Act 1861 was enacted to create High Courts for various provinces and abolished Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay and also the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns. These High Courts had the distinction of being the highest Courts for all cases till the creation of Federal Court of India, which was established under the Government of India Act 1935.
Art-214 of the constitution provides that, “There shall be a High Court for each state” Art-231 further provides that , “Parliament may by law establish a common High court for two or more states and a union territory.” At present for example there is a common High court for the states of punjab, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh. Similarly. There is Common High court for Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mijoram.
A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of India and—
(a) has for at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India; or
(b) has for at least ten years been an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession;
A High Court judge may be removed before he or she attains the age of 62 years, only on the ground of incapacity or proved misbehaviour. He or she may be removed if both the Houses of Parliament adopt a resolution by a majority of their total membership and by two thirds majority of members present and voting, separately in each House in the same session. Such a resolution is submitted to the President, who then can remove the concerned judge.
The jurisdiction of the High court can basically be divided into-
(a) Original Jurisdiction and (b) Appellate Jurisdiction
(a) Original Jurisdiction:The original jurisdiction of the High Courts is very limited.
(i) Cases related to Fundamental rights.(Can even issue writs for legal rights)
(ii) Constitutional jurisdiction.
(iii) Power of judicial review
(iv) The cases related to matters such as will, divorce, contempt of court.
(v) Election disputes.
(b) Appellate Jurisdiction:When a High Court hears an appeal against the decision of a lower court, it is called Appellate Jurisdiction.The High Court can hear appeals against the decisions of the lower Courts in the following cases:
(i) Civil cases
(ii) Appeals in revenue cases against the decision of the revenue board.
(iii) In cases related to succession,insolvency, patent, Design etc.
2. appeal in criminal cases-
(i) If the session judge has awarded imprisionment for seven year or more.
(ii) where the session judge has awarded capital punishment.
3. Constitutional Cases– if the high court certify that perticular cases is fit for appeal before itself and involves a substantial question of law.
- It supervises and superintends the working of all the courts subordinate to it.
- It makes rules and regulations for the court subordinate to it and cun change such law.
- It can transfer any case from one court to another court
- It can investigate or enquire in to the record or anotherconnected documentsof any court subordinate to it.
Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Constitution make the following provisions to regulate the organization of subordinate courts and to ensure their independence from the executive . Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Constitution make the following provisions to regulate the organization of subordinate courts and to ensure their independence from the executive .
The framework of the current legal system has been laid down by the Indian Constitution , which states for an integrated and uniform judiciary system and the judicial system derives its powers from it. There are various levels of judiciary in India— different types of courts, each with varying powers depending on the tier and jurisdiction bestowed upon them. They form a hierarchy of importance, in line with the order of courts in which they sit, with the Supreme Court of India at the top, followed by High Courts of respective states with District Judges sitting in District Courts and Magistrates of Second Class and Civil Judge (Junior Division) at the bottom.
Type of cases
- Civil cases pertain to disputes between two or more persons regarding property, breach of agreement or contract, divorce or landlord – tenant disputes. Civil Courts settle these disputes. They do not award any punishment as violation of law is not involved in civil cases.
- Criminal cases relate to violation of laws. These cases involve theft, dacoity, rape, pickpocketing, physical assault, murder, etc. These cases are filed in the lower court by the police, on behalf of the state, againt the accused. In such cases the accused, if found guilty, is awarded punishment like fine, imprisonment or even death sentence.
- Revenue cases relate to land revenue on agriculture land in the district.
The District Courts of India are presided over by a judge. They administer justice in India at a district level. These courts are under administrative and judicial control of the High Court of the State to which the district concerned belongs.
The highest court in each district is that of the District and Sessions Judge. This is the principal court of civil jurisdiction. This is also a court of Sessions. Sessions-triable cases are tried by the Sessions Court. It has the power to impose any sentence including capital punishment.
There are many other courts subordinate to the court of District and Sessions Judge. There is a three tier system of courts. On the civil side, at the lowest level is the court of Civil Judge (Junior Division). On criminal side the lowest court is that of the Judicial Magistrate. Civil Judge (Junior Division) decides civil cases of small pecuniary stake. Judicial Magistrates decide criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment of up to five years.
At the middle of the hierarchy there is the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) on the civil side and the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on the Criminal side. Civil Judge (senior division) can decide civil cases of any valuation. There are many additional courts of Additional Civil Judge (senior division).The Jurisdiction of these addition courts is the same as that of the principal court of Civil Judge (Senior Division). The Chief Judicial Magistrate can try cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to seven years. Usually there are many additional courts of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates. At the top level there may be one or more courts of additional district and sessions judge with the same judicial power as that of the District and Sessions judge.
The Judiciary plays a very important role as a protector of the constitutional values that the founding fathers have given us. They try to undo the harm that is being done by the legislature and the executive and also they try to provide every citizen what has been promised by the Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy. All this is possible thanks to the power of judicial review.
All this is not achieved in a day it took 50 long years for where we are right now, if one thinks that it is has been a roller coaster ride without any hindrances they are wrong judiciary has been facing the brunt of many politicians, technocrats, academicians, lawyers etc. Few of them being genuine concerns, and among one of them is the aspect of corruption and power of criminal contempt. In this paper I would try to highlight the ups and downs of this greatest institution in India.
The rule of law is the bedrock of democracy, and the primary responsibility for implementation of the rule of law lies with the judiciary.1 This is now a basic feature of every constitution, which cannot be altered even by the exercise of new powers from parliament. It is the significance of judicial review, to ensure that democracy is inclusive and that there is accountability of everyone who wields or exercises public power. As Edmund Burke said: “all persons in positions of power ought to be strongly and lawfully impressed with an idea that “they act in trust,” and must account for their conduct to one great master, to those in whom the political sovereignty rests, the people”.2
India opted for parliamentary form of democracy, where every section is involved in policy-making, and decision taking, so that every point of view is reflected and there is a fair representation of every section of the people in every such body. In this kind of inclusive democracy, the judiciary has a very important role to play. That is the concept of accountability in any republican democracy, and this basic theme has to be remembered by everybody exercising public power, irrespective of the extra expressed expositions in the constitution.3
The principle of judicial review became an essential feature of written Constitutions of many countries. Seervai in his book Constitutional Law of India noted that the principle of judicial review is a familiar feature of the Constitutions of Canada, Australia and India, though the doctrine of Separation of Powers has no place in strict sense in Indian Constitution, but the functions of different organs of the Government have been sufficiently differentiated, so that one organ of the Government could not usurp the functions of another.4
The power of judicial review has in itself the concept of separation of powers an essential component of the rule of law, which is a basic feature of the Indian Constitution. Every State action has to be tested on the anvil of rule of law and that exercise is performed, when occasion arises by the reason of a doubt raised in that behalf, by the courts. The power of Judicial Review is incorporated in Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution insofar as the High Courts are concerned. In regard to the Supreme Court Articles 32 and 136 of the Constitution, the judiciary in India has come to control by judicial review every aspect of governmental and public functions.5
Extent of Judicial Review in India:
The initial years of the Supreme Court of India saw the adoption of an approach characterised by caution and circumspection. Being steeped in the British tradition of limited judicial review, the Court generally adopted a pro-legislature stance. This is evident form the rulings such as A.K. Gopalan, but however it did not take long for judges to break their shackles and this led to a series of right to property cases in which the judiciary was loggerhead with the parliament. The nation witnessed a series of events where a decision of the Supreme Court was followed by a legislation nullifying its effect, followed by another decision reaffirming the earlier position, and so on. The struggle between the two wings of government continued on other issues such as the power of amending the Constitution.6 During this era, the Legislature sought to bring forth people-oriented socialist measures which when in conflict with fundamental rights were frustrated on the upholding of the fundamental rights of individuals by the Supreme Court. At the time, an effort was made to project the Supreme Court as being concerned only with the interests of propertied classes and being insensitive to the needs of the masses. Between 1950 and 1975, the Indian Supreme Court had held a mere one hundred Union and State laws, in whole or in part, to be unconstitutional.
After the period of emergency the judiciary was on the receiving end for having delivered a series of judgments which were perceived by many as being violative of the basic human rights of Indian citizens 7and changed the way it looked at the constitution. The Supreme Court said that any legislation is amenable to judicial review, be it momentous amendments8 to the Constitution or drawing up of schemes and bye-laws of municipal bodies which affect the life of a citizen9. Judicial review extends to every governmental or executive action – from high policy matters like the President’s power to issue a proclamation on failure of constitutional machinery in the States like in Bommai case, to the highly discretionary exercise of the prerogative of pardon like in Kehar Singh case or the right to go abroad as in Satwant Singh case.Judicial review knows no bounds except the restraint of the judges themselves regarding justifiability of an issue in a particular case.
Judicial Review of Political Questions:
In the initial stages of the judicial adjudication Courts have said that where there is a political question involved it is not amenable to judicial review but slowly this changed, in Keshavananda Bharathi’s case,10 the Court held that, “it is difficult to see how the power of judicial review makes the judiciary supreme in any sense of the word. This power is of paramount importance in a federal constitution…. Judicial Review of constitutional amendments may seem involving the Court in political question, but it is the Court alone which can decide such an issue. The function of Interpretation of a Constitution being thus assigned to the judicial power the State, the question whether the subject of law is within the ambit of one or more powers of the legislature conferred by the constitution would always be a question of interpretation of the Constitution.”
Than it was in Special Courts Bill, 1978, In re, case where the majority opined that, “The policy of the Bill and the motive of the mover to ensure a speedy trial of persons holding high public or political office who are alleged to have committed certain crimes during the period of emergency may be political, but the question whether the bill or any provisions are constitutionally invalid is a not a question of a political nature and the court should not refrain from answering it.” What this meant was that though there are political questions involved the validity of any action or legislation can be challenged if it would violate the constitution. This position has been reiterated in many other cases11 and in S.R. Bommai’s case the Court held, “though subjective satisfaction of the President cannot be reviewed but the material on which satisfaction is based open to review…” the court further went on to say that, “The opinion which the President would form on the basis of Governor’s report or otherwise would be based on his political judgment and it is difficult to evolve judicially manageable norms for scrutinizing such political decisions. Therefore, by the very nature of things which would govern the decision-making under Article 356, it is difficult to hold that the decision of the president is justiciable. To do so would be entering the political thicker and questioning the political wisdom which the courts of law must avoid. The temptation to delve into the President’s satisfaction may be great but the courts would be well advised to resist the temptation for want of judicially manageable standards. Therefore, the Court cannot interdict the use of the constitutional power conferred on the President under Article 356 unless the same is shown to be male fide.”
As Soli Sorabjee points out, “there is genuine concern about misuse by the Centre of Article 356 on the pretext that the State Government is acting in defiance of the essential features of the Constitution. The real safeguard will be full judicial review extending to an inquiry into the truth and correctness of the basic facts relied upon in support of the action under Article 356 as indicated by Justices Sawant and Kuldip Singh. If in certain cases that entails evaluating the sufficiency of the material, so be it.”
What this meant was the judiciary was being cautious about the role it has to play while adjudicating matters of such importance and it is showing a path of restraint that has to be used while deciding such matters so that it does not usurp the powers given by the Constitution by way of the power of review at the same it is also minimizing the misusing of the power given under Article 356 to the President.
Judicial Review as a part of the Basic Structure:
In the celebrated case of Keshavanda Bharathi v. State of Kerela, the Supreme Court of India the propounded the basic structure doctrine according to which it said the legislature can amend the Constitution, but it should not change the basic structure of the Constitution, The Judges made no attempt to define the basic structure of the Constitution in clear terms. S.M. Sikri, C.J mentioned five basic features:
- Supremacy of the Constitution. 2. Republican and democratic form of Government. 3. Secular character of the Constitution. 4. Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. 5. Federal character of the Constitution.
He observed that these basic features are easily discernible not only from the Preamble but also from the whole scheme of the Constitution. He added that the structure was built on the basic foundation of dignity and freedom of the individual which could not by any form of amendment be destroyed. It was also observed in that case that the above are only illustrative and not exhaustive of all the limitations on the power of amendment of the Constitution. The Constitutional bench in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975 Supp SCC 1.) held that Judicial Review in election disputes was not a compulsion as it is not a part of basic structure. In S.P. Sampath Kumar v. Union of India((1987) 1 SCC 124 at 128.), P.N. Bhagwati, C.J., relying on Minerva Mills Ltd. ((1980) 3 SCC 625.) declared that it was well settled that judicial review was a basic and essential feature of the Constitution. If the power of judicial review was absolutely taken away, the Constitution would cease to be what it was. In Sampath Kumar the Court further declared that if a law made under Article 323-A(1) were to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 without setting up an effective alternative institutional mechanism or arrangement for judicial review, it would be violative of the basic structure and hence outside the constituent power of Parliament.
In Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhur (1992 Supp (2) SCC 651, 715, para 120) another Constitution Bench, while examining the validity of para 7 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution which excluded judicial review of the decision of the Speaker/Chairman on the question of disqualification of MLAs and MPs, observed that it was unnecessary to pronounce on the contention whether judicial review is a basic feature of the Constitution and para 7 of the Tenth Schedule violated such basic structure.
Subsequently, in L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India ((1997) 3 SCC 261) a larger Bench of seven Judges unequivocally declared:
“that the power of judicial review over legislative action vested in the High Courts under Article 226 and in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution is an integral and essential feature of the Constitution, constituting part of its basic structure”.
Though one does not deny that power to review is very important, at the same time one cannot also give an absolute power to review and by recognizing judicial review as a part of basic feature of the constitution Courts in India have given a different meaning to the theory of Check’s and Balances this also meant that it has buried the concept of separation of powers, where the judiciary will give itself an unfettered jurisdiction to review any thing every thing that is done by the legislature.
Expansion of Judicial Review through Judicial Activism:
After the draconian exposition of power by the Executive and the Legislature during Emergency the expectations of the public soared high and the demands on the courts to improve the administration by giving appropriate directions for ensuring compliance with statutory and constitutional prescriptions. Likewise the judiciary has taken an activist view the Beginning with the Ratlam Municipality case 12the sweep of Social Action Litigation13 had encompassed a variety of causes14.
With the interpretation given by it in Menaka Gandhi case the Supreme Court brought the ambit of constitutional provisions to enforce the human rights of citizens and sought to bring the Indian law in conformity with the global trends in human-rights-jurisprudence. This was made possible in India, because of the procedural innovations with a view to making itself more accessible to disadvantaged sections of society giving rise to the phenomenon of Social Action Litigation/Public Interest Litigation15. During the Eighties and the first half of the Nineties, the Court have broken there shackle’s and moved much ahead from being a mere legal institution, its decisions have tremendous social, political and economic ramifications. Time and again, it has sought to interpret constitutional provisions and the objectives sought to be achieved by it and directed the executive to comply with its orders.
SAL, a manifestation of judicial activism, has introduced a new dimension regarding judiciary’s involvement in public administration16. The sanctity of locus standi and the procedural complexities are totally side-tracked in the causes brought before the courts through SAL. In the beginning, the application of SAL was confined only to improving the lot of the disadvantaged sections of the society who by reason of their poverty and ignorance were not in a position to seek justice from the courts and, therefore, any member of the public was permitted to maintain an application for appropriate directions17.
The new role of the Supreme Court has been criticised in some quarters as being violative of the doctrine of separation of powers; it is claimed that the Apex Court has, by formulating policy and issuing directions in respect of various aspects of the country’s administration, transgressed into the domain of the executive and the legislature. As Justice Cardozo puts it, “A Constitution states or ought to state not rules for the passing hour but principles for an expanding future.”18 It is with this view that innovations in the rules of standing have come into existence.
Limitation on the power of review:
The expansion of the horizon of judicial review is seen both with reverence and suspicion; reverence in as much as the judicial review is a creative element of interpretation, which serves as an omnipresent and potentially omnipotent check on the legislative and executive branches of government. But at the same time there is a danger that they may trespass into the powers given to the legislature and the executive.
One many say that if there is any limitation on judicial review other than constitutional and procedural19 that is a product of judicial self-restraint. As justice Dwivedi empathically observed, “Structural socio-political value choices involve a complex and complicated political process. This court is hardly fitted for performing that function. In the absence of any explicit Constitutional norms and for want of complete evidence, the court’s structural value choices will be largely subjective. Our personal predilections will unavoidably enter into the scale and give colour to our judgment. Subjectivism is calculated to undermine legal certainty, an essential element of rule of law.”20
The above observations also reveal another assumption to support an attitude of self-restraint, viz., the element subjectiveness in judicial decision on issues having socio-political significance. When one looks at the decisions of the Supreme Court on certain questions of fundamental issues of constitutional law one can see that there is a sharp division among the judges of the apex court on such basic questions of power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution, federal relations, powers of the President etc. This aptly demonstrates the observation of the judge. This would mean that though there has been expansion of powers of judicial review one cannot also say that this cannot be overturned.
Judicial self-restrain in relation to legislative power manifests itself in the form the there is a presumption of constitutionality when the validity of the statute is challenged. In the words of Fazl Ali, “…the presumption is always in favour of the constitutionality of an enactment, and the burden is upon him who attacks it to show that there has been a clear transgression of the constitutional principles”21
In applying the presumption of constitutionality the Courts sometimes apply an interpretational device called ‘reading down’. The essence of the device is that “if certain provisions of law construed in one way would make them consistent with the constitution, and another interpretation would render them unconstitutional, the court would lean in favour of the former construction.”22 But all this depends on the outlook and values of the judge.23
When it come judicial review of administrative action though the presumption of validity is not so strong in the case of administrative action as in the case of statutes. Still, when the legislature expressly leaves a matter to the discretion of an administrative authority the courts have adopted an attitude of restraint. They have said we cannot the question the legality of the exercise of discretionary power unless and until it is an abuse of discretionary power (which includes mala fide exercise of power, exercising the power for an improper motive, decision based on irrelevant considerations or in disregard of relevant consideration, and in some cases unreasonable exercise of power) and non-exercise of discretion ( which come when power is exercised without proper delegation and when it is acted under dictation).
The relevant considerations which should make the judicial choice in favour of activism or restraint are the policy and scheme of the statute, the object of conferring discretionary powers, the nature and scope of the discretion, and finally, the nature of the right and interests affected by the decision. Any impulsive move to activism without a serious consideration of these factors may only be viewed as undesirable. Judicial activism, being an exception, not the general rule, in relation to the control of discretionary power, needs strong reasons to justify it. In the absence of such strong support of reasons the interventionist strategy may provoke the other branches of Government may retaliate and impose further limitations on the scope of judicial review.
Accountability is an essential part of the rule of law. It is essential for another reason, as in the earlier editions of Dicey,24 of course modified in later editions, referring to John Wilkes’s case,25 that “conferment of any discretion tends to arbitrariness and therefore there is something inconsistent with the rule of law.” But then, as time passed, it was realized that conferment of some discretion for the purpose of application to the facts of a given case is something you cannot do away with. The area of discretion should be the minimum possible, and set norms, standards or guidelines should regulate it, so that it does not tend to become arbitrary. Therefore, the rule of non-arbitrariness is something to be tested by the judiciary whenever the occasion arises.26
The growth of judicial review is the inevitable response of the judiciary to ensure proper check on the exercise of public power. Growing awareness of the rights in the people; the trend of judicial scrutiny of every significant governmental action and the readiness even of the executive to seek judicial determination of debatable or controversial issues, at times, may be, to avoid its accountability for the decision, have all resulted in the increasing significance of the role of the judiciary. There is a general perception that the judiciary in this country has been active in expansion of the field of judicial review into non-traditional areas, which earlier were considered beyond judicial purview.
The Judges have a duty to perform, which is even more onerous to keep the judicial ship afloat on even keel. It must avoid making any ad hoc decision without the foundation of a juristic principle, particularly, when the decision appears to break new grounds. The judgments must be logical, precise, clear, and sober, rendered with restraint in speech avoiding saying more than that, which is necessary in the case.27
It must always be remembered that a step taken in a new direction is fraught with the danger of being a likely step in a wrong direction. In order to be a path-breaking trend it must be a sure step in the right direction. Any step satisfying these requirements and setting a new trend to achieve justice can alone be a New Dimension of Justice and a true contribution to the growth and development of law meant to achieve the ideal of justice.