Supreme court has taken up the issue of reservations, thanks to a spate of litigations against central government from the intellgentia. Most citizens will be happy with this development, as they trust the courts to do a better job than the government. I am not.
I see that these days, the courts have been stepping in a lot more than should be required in a democracy. And many regulations that I’d rather see coming in as legislations, have been getting implemented as court orders.
I will not list all such court orders here, please google them. But I have two problems with this ‘court order arising out of PIL’ culture.
One, rushing to the courts for any hard-hitting issue, to me, is like accepting the fact that citizens don’t trust the government to do the job. I could be stretching things a bit if I say that this implicitly implies “no-confidence”. But what if the eventual court order or decision does run against the government viewpoint? What does that imply? Like the case where Bihar governor Buta Singh suspended the elected assembly and the courts later said that was wrong. Was the central government made to pay for that proven wrongdoing? As far as I recall, no!
Two, this could encourage governments to become shy of taking non-populist, but “good over long term type” decisions. Take Delhi demolitions for instance. If the government does not want to project a non-socialist image by passing orders for these demolitions, they will be happier to wait for the courts to order them. This way, the job gets done without them getting any credit or blame for it.
Further, this trend encourages publicity seekers to file PILs. After all, there are many who dream of getting in front of TV cameras and press mikes. [Actually, from what I read, the apex court has framed certain guidelines to regulate the abuse of PILs.]
For all you know, the courts may slowly become the second battleground for political parties. Couldn’t beat that regulation in the parliament, no problem; let us argue this in the courts instead! Perhaps this is a good thing in cases where governments chose to abuse their majority. However, thankfully, majorities of the kind Rajiv Gandhi enjoyed are rare these days. Or else, our legislators would have moved the location of their debates from Parliament House to the Supreme Court!