Home INDIA “Judicial Activism Peacemaker, Overreach A Trespasser”: Ex Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

“Judicial Activism Peacemaker, Overreach A Trespasser”: Ex Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

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'Judicial activism, peacemaker, overreaching an offender': Former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

The retired judge warned that public interest litigation is also like a double-edged sword.


Distinguishing between ‘judicial activism’ and ‘judicial overreach’, former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Friday asserted that it is the judiciary’s responsibility to choose when to act as a catalyst for change and when to status quo must be maintained. .

He also underlined the need for legal systems to adapt to the changing times, which is recognized worldwide.

“This delicate act of navigation – choosing when to act as a catalyst for change and when to maintain the status quo – underlines the enormous responsibility of the judiciary. It is in this context that the distinction between ‘judicial activism’ and ‘judicial overreach’ becomes profound. significantly,” Justice (Retd) Gogoi said.

He delivered the keynote address on the 76th founding anniversary of the Gauhati Supreme Court.

“Judicial activism is not the same as judicial dominance. The first is a peacemaker; the latter is a violator,” the Rajya Sabha member added.

He said “adventurous” judicial activism carries the risk that decisions, even if well-intentioned, sometimes lead to unintended consequences, muddying the waters of legal certainty.

He asserted that the advent of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has marked a revolutionary shift in the legal landscape, “transforming the judiciary from a passive arbiter of disputes into an active force for social change and sometimes even debatable changes in the political life has brought about. and values”.

However, the former CJI warned that the PIL is also a double-edged sword.

He said: “On the one hand, IPR has played an important role in bringing about groundbreaking changes in various sectors, including environmental protection, human rights and government accountability. On the other hand, the wide latitude afforded by IPR has sometimes led to what can be seen as judicial overreach, with courts encroaching on the domains traditionally reserved for the legislature and executive and infringing on political morality.

Stressing the need for amendment of legal systems, the former CJI said the urgency in this regard is recognized globally.

“These systems are called upon to be prophetic, to understand the undercurrents of their statements and to foster an environment in which the law befriends vitality rather than unwittingly hindering it,” he said.

A functional judiciary, adequately resourced and staffed, is no longer a luxury but a necessity for the sustainable development of the nation, he added.

“In the absence of timely justice, public confidence in the institution diminishes and the rule of law is undermined, impacting the overall well-being of the nation,” Justice (Retd) Gogoi said.

The former CJI maintained that the judicial institutions are not just made of bricks and mortar, rather they are corridors of hope.

“The moment hope falters in the hearts of the common man, who wonder whether this institution will stand by them through thick and thin, that is the moment we risk losing the essence of our establishment,” he said.

He asserted that the true measure of the strength of the judiciary does not lie in its resistance to executive control or material infrastructure or resilience to eternal forces.

“On the contrary, its vitality and relevance are deeply intertwined with the trust that citizens place in it,” he said.

Innovative ways to make the justice system more accessible, adaptable and responsive to the changing needs of society are integral steps in maintaining this trust, he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WhatsNew2Day staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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