Bangalore International Centre had arranged a panel discussion on “Judicial Over-Reach” on Wednesday, 31st August, 2016 at 6.30 PM at its Auditorium. The panellists present were Prof. Rajeev Gowda, Prof. Sandeep Shastri and Mr. Tejasvi Surya. The discussion was chaired and moderated by Hon’ble Justice, N Santosh Hegde.
In his opening remarks, Justice Hegde referred to “Judicial Outreach” being often referred to as “Judicial Overreach”and invited the panellists to outline their views on this issue.
In an incisive analysis, Prof. Sandeep Shastri looked at the popular connotations of the term “Overreach” a going beyond one’sability, or being more cunning or outwitting the other side. His finding was that the term came into vogue more from 1993 onwards when the political executive felt itself being outwitted by the judiciary through the introduction of the “Collegium” system by which the political executive lost its clout in the appointment of judges to the Judiciary. As he stressed, with the emergence of coalition politics from the 1990-s onwards, the conditions became favourable for the Judiciary to assert its right to select its own members which considerably weakened political executives could not resist. By and large, Judiciary handled its responsibility with maturity and wisdom. However, at the same time it can not be denied that the Judiciary needs to be more transparent in the collegium system and also resist the temptation of stepping in to supervise and monitor activities squarely within the jurisdiction of legislature and executive.
Both Prof. Rajeev Gowda and Mr. Tejasvi Surya broadly agreed with Prof. Sandeep Shastri, while stressing that instances of Judicial Overreach are increasing rapidly with resultant encroachments in areas earmarked for Legislature and Executive.
Summing up, Justice Hegde observed that there can not be a vacuum in the fine balance of power between Judiciary, Executive and Legislature, and that as the final interpreter of the Constitution and with its Writ and original jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has to step in whenever there is executive paralysis or legislative inaction.
The interactive session with the audience was as lively as the subject.