Skip to main content

Abuse of power? Supreme Court seems to be 'interfering' in all sorts of matters

Kamal Nath 
By NS Venkataraman*
It seemed surprising, even shocking, when recently the Supreme Court thought it fit to stay the October 30 order of the Election Commission, revoking the “star campaigner” status of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath. Are the Supreme Court judges suffer from a superiority complex vis a vis that of the Election Commissioners?
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appears to have failed to keep in mind that the Election Commission is a constitutional body, as much as the judiciary is. Both these constitutional bodies have a definite role to play and have been vested with authority to ensure orderliness and fair play in their domain.
The Chief Justice of India, heading a three judge bench, said the Election Commission had no power to determine who should be the “star campaigner” of a political party. The Chief Justice further asked the Election Commission “who gives you the power to determine who is the leader of the party. We are staying this order. You have no power.”
In recent times, the judiciary has been repeatedly accused of overreaching its powers and interfering in matters that have nothing to do with the interpretation of law and are entirely within the administrative power and responsibilities of the government. The Supreme Court has even interfered in matters relating to conducting NEET examinations and several other purely administrative decisions.
Who has given the powers to the Supreme Court to interfere in such administrative decisions? Judges seem to think that they have the inherent powers to interfere in all sorts of matters and sometimes, even take cases on their own when nobody has filed a complaint.
If the judiciary, which is a constitutional body , thinks that it has inherent and sky high powers, then it should respect the inherent powers of the Election Commission too, which is also a constitutional body.
In the last several years, the judiciary has repeatedly overruled the decisions of the Election Commission on various matters and reduced the status of the Election Commission to that of a litigant. Is it not a case of abuse of power by the judiciary?
In the process, the judiciary has systematically reduced the powers and status of the Election Commission and have virtually made it a laughing stock, eroding the independence of the Election Commission.
What is particularly unfortunate is that the Election Commissioners have not cared to challenge the judiciary for over ruling their decisions and they seem to have failed to realize the fact that Election Commission is an independent constitutional body. Now, the situation is so bad that Election Commissioners seem to fear the judges and hesitate to take decisions thinking that the judges may overrule them.
Why are Election Commissioners so submissive and lack confidence to assert their authority given to them by the Constitution?
Why are Election Commissioners so submissive and lack confidence to assert their authority given to them by the Constitution? As far as the election matters are concerned, the Election Commission should be the ultimate authority and their decisions have to be accepted in toto. If this would not be so, then there is no meaning in viewing the Election Commission as a constitutional body.
Probably one and perhaps the only reason why Election Commissioners do not protect the image and authority of the Election Commission is that most of the Election Commissioners are former bureaucrats, who are used to accept commands rather than deliver commands in their entire career.
Perhaps, if judges were to be appointed as Election Commissioners, then the judges in the courts would be hesitant to overrule the decisions of the Election Commission, since judges as Election Commissioners would protest and even defy the directives of the judiciary. Judges as election commissioners would quote the constitutional provisions and the judges in the courts would have to listen when confronted.
In ensuring peaceful, orderly and honest elections in India, Election Commission has the most important role to play. It would be a dangerous trend to belittle the Election Commission by the judiciary, as a weakened Election Commission would be the death knell for conducting fair elections and these elections are the essential aspect of healthy democracy.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for The Deprived, Chennai

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.