Courts shouldn’t stray into legislature’s areas: Pranab
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In a subtle message to the judiciary, President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said that the courts should limit themselves to their mandate enshrined in the Constitution without straying into areas such as policy making duties of the legislature.
Delivering the first N K P Salve memorial lecture on "Constitution and Governance" here, the President lauded the proactiveness of the court, saying it was "fiercely independent and has always acted as a check upon any constitutional aberration" but sought to remind them that separation of powers is an integral part of a democratic setup, that would have to be respected without any exception.
"Of late, the judiciary has been perceived to have assumed an expanded role. Some of this is the inevitable consequence of the innovative interpretation of rights, civil and political, enshrined in the Constitution. As is inevitable, the courts at times are perceived as having strayed into areas which are best left to the executive or to the policy makers in the legislature. The separation of powers is a Constitutional feature over which there has never been any doubt, and should be respected at all times," Mukherjee said.
He also said the society must remodel itself if it was to take the path of true progress. "India is not high on the world governance index. Though today India is the third largest economy in PPP terms, it is ranked very low in Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption Index. This would need to change. We cannot achieve true progress unless the governance improves. Not one section is responsible for the ills. Society on the whole has to reset its moral compass," he said.
Mukherjee said that achieving social justice requires not just governance but transformation of social ethos, a recasting of mindsets, which is the job not just of the legislature, the executive or the courts, "but of each one of us". The ultimate goal of any democracy is the empowerment of the individual, irrespective of his economic, religious or social standing. This may appear to be a utopian dream for many, but the strength of a system lies in its capacity to ceaselessly work for its accomplishment, he said.
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