PILs, Judicial Independence and SC: Overview

PILs, Judicial Independence and SC: Overview

Question : Radical nature of judicial independence through PILs has changed the face of the Indian judiciary. Elaborate.

- Radical nature of intervention by the judiciary alongside sweeping nature of orders through PILs is ensuring justice is not denied

- Well known scholars have commented on the activist avatar of the SC in recent times

- PILs have helped the court to come to the rescue of bonded workers, girls in protective homes, undertrial prisoners, low wage workers, and disadvantaged as well as needy groups

- Radical nature of such judicial intervention along with orders of the elected government ensures PIL is the humanist step forward

- PIL has also restored the independence of the SC besides taking discipline and the constitutional role of the judges into account

- Court has monitored crime trials, protected the environment, regulated political ads, prescribed norms for sexual harassment in the workplace and adopted guidelines as well as police supervision for a range of tasks

Judicial Independence

Independent judiciary has characteristics which are as follows:

- Firstly, there is impartiality. Judicial decisions are not associated with person interest outcomes of the case. Judges are selected for adjudging cases based on merit, not political associations

- Judicial decisions are respected once rendered. This is another feature of judicial independence.

- The third feature of judicial independence is that judiciary is free from interference. Parties to the case or others with interest in the final judgement cannot influence the judge’s decision

- Preventing judicial corruption and coercion is another feature of judicial independence

- Insulation of judges from other government branches is considered the most important aspect of judicial independence

Importance of Judicial Independence

- Judicial independence contributes to human rights and justice

- It also facilities economic progress

- Judicial independence is crucial for developing and transition economies due to contribution to human rights and justice

- Major impediment to economic development is the inability of the government to engage in credible practices and judicial independence goes a long way to attain this

- Judicial independence can only change the policy through change of law; private sector will remain confident that an independent judiciary makes policy commitments and they contribute to economic growth

- Economic growth is based on credible commitments to ensure sound economic policies are implemented

- Judicial independence enhances growth and helps governments to respond rapidly and flexibly to changing circumstances or national crises

- Independent judiciary makes policy change effective; incremental encroachments on judiciary are prevented through an independent judicial authority

Facts and Stats

- As per Indian law, PIL means litigation for the protection of the interests of the public

- Concept of PIL took birth in India through the efforts of Krishna Iyer J., in 1976 in Mumbai Kamgar Sabha vs. Abdul Thai (AIR 1976 SC 1455; 1976 (3) SCC 832)

- Ideal of PIL emerged in S.F. Gupta and others vs. Union of India, (AIR 1982 SC 149).

- A petition can be filed as per PIL in SC under Article 32, HC under Article 226 and Court of Magistrate under section 133, Criminal Procedure Code
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