09 Jan 2021|Gurgaon (Manesar)
Guest Lecture on Role of Judiciary in Upholding Constitutional Mandate
Amity Law School organized a WEBINAR on "Role of Judiciary in Upholding Constitutional Mandate," on 9th January 2021 by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur, Judge High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur, Professor. The Webinar was attended by over 260 participants from across the nation.
Judiciary has been mandated to uphold the Rule of Law and administer justice according to Law. Our judicial system is a key aspect of our democratic way of life and is instrumental in upholding peace, order and good governance. Citizens look to the judiciary to uphold their rights and governments look to the courts to interpret laws. Judiciary is the guardian of the human rights, protector of the constitution and promoter of peace and cordiality in India and must therefore, act without fear of powerful interests, and without favouring individual parties.
The exercise of Judicial Review whereby the judiciary decides on constitutional matters either to validate or invalidate legislative or executive action is pivotal in its role of upholding the constitutional mandate. The past year has disrupted life as we knew it and has also seen the Judiciary play an important role in balancing the rights of people and administrative action.
Justice Mathur began his lecture by expressing his pleasure in addressing the students and praising Maj. Gen. P. K. Sharma for his outstanding service in the Army. Justice Mathur further remarked that the Bar and the Bench have been doing a good job in upholding the Constitutional values in India and that the Judiciary is said to be the watch dog, fulfilling the expectations of the people by doing their duty.
His Lordship elaborated on the importance of the word mandate, meaning an order or instruction, which has been placed on the shoulders of the three pillars of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.
Lordship further emphasized that the duties and functions of these pillars have been beautifully enshrined in our Constitution and that even though these three organs have to work in harmony with each other, there are clear demarcations and each one has to fill the gaps left by the other. His Lordship explained that there are no clear written checks and balances yet enough safeguards are provided within the Constitution to keep each wing within their parameters.
Justice Mathur quoted the principle enshrined in our Constitution which the Judiciary has been mandated to uphold as, “Be you ever be so high, the Law is above you.” His Lordship gave examples of many landmark judgements like Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerala, Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain, wherein the Apex Court has upheld that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be amended. His Lordship explained that the Constitution on India does not limit the power of Judicial Review which empowers the judiciary to determine whether the acts of the legislature and administration are within the constitutional bounds.
Justice Mathur observed that the power of judicial review over legislative and administrative action cannot be abridged and explained that based on the various judgements the power of review remain intact with the Indian judiciary to maintain the checks and balances in the ecosystem of the democratic form of governance. His Lordship explained the fundamental basis which gives rise to the philosophy of judicial review as being firstly establishing fairness in administrative action, secondly protecting the fundamental rights and lastly to rule on questions of legislative competence between Center and State. This, his Lordship opined is why the Judiciary has been empowered with the power of review and thus the judiciary itself has to ensure that there is fairness and impartiality in its own actions. Justice Mathur broadly classified seven areas wherein judicial review takes place as, namely
I. Judicial review of administrative action and policy decisions.
II. Judicial review of economic policy.
III. Judicial review of decisions based on expert opinion.
IV. Judicial review of subordinate legislation.
V. Judicial review of contractual cases.
VI. Judicial review of disciplinary proceedings and quantum of punishment.
VII. Suo Moto Judicial review.
His Lordship concluded with the remarks that the goal of judicial review is to reach the masses and ensure that their rights as guaranteed by the constitution are upheld.
The Question-Answer round of the Webinar saw many questions put to his Lordship, wherein participants asked many questions regarding judicial activism and overreach, access to justice and judicial response, especially during the pandemic. His Lordship answered all the queries and his advice to the young, budding lawyers was that for one to succeed one must work with Sincerity, Honesty, Hard work and Compassion.