Monday, May 04, 2015

What do we need: Judicial oversight or judicial activism?

Justice Kurian Joseph does not hesitate to express his views however extreme they may be. Delivering the 5th Lala Amarchand Sood Memorial Lecture on Judicial Legislation in salubrious Shimla, he asserted that
"Judicial activism is our duty against legislative adventurism" and went on to pronounce that  

'Courts dare and ought to say what the law is and what the law should be’. Legislature and executive may claim they are activist and it is judiciary which is adventurist. Though discussions are welcome, this rhetoric will only fan further polarisation of views. One of the desirable qualities in a judge is circumspection. It is not incumbent on a judge to be vocal about all his opinions. Perhaps the topic of the memorial lecture provoked the irascible judge. We need more judicial oversight rather than activism. (Oversight has two meanings and it is not necessary to stress which meaning is implied here.)

In a recent judgment of the apex court, Justice Kurian Joseph has been candid in declaring that misplaced sympathy will give room to suspect institutional integrity. His declaration that leniency for corrupt officials will weaken judiciary is unexceptionable. It is interesting to note that though a pious Christian, he transcended his religious dogma and concluded that there is no scope for reform of an official convicted of corruption.

All said, Kurian Joseph is a fertile source for many spirited discussions.

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