The Supreme Court today quashed the Ninth Schedule under which much of the otherwise indefensible legislation passed by the parliament and state legislatures used to be placed to keep it out of Judicial review.
In a landmark judgment with far reaching implications, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that any law placed under the Constitution’s Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973, providing immunity from legal challenges are subject to scrutiny of courts if they violated fundamental rights.
In an unanimous verdict, a nine-member Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal rejected the government’s claim that certain laws, even if they infringed the fundamental rights of citizens, cannot be subjected to judicial review, if the legislations were placed under the Ninth Schedule.
The immediate impact of this judgement will mean that laws like the TN reservation bill which provides 69% reservation in violation of the ceiling of 50% can now be put under the judicial scanner.
But the far reaching impact of this ruling is obvious to all. It means that the Political class gets that much less wriggle room to play its dirty politics which is a welcome move. This ruling also means that 60 years after India declared itself a democracy and a country ruled by law the first and most difficult phase of that journey is complete albeit with minor hiccups in between like the Emergency and in some other instances when executive and legislature tried to overreach their powers.
India is now a established democracy on par with the best in the world where the constitution is the law of the land and held inviolate.
And ofcourse the usual suspects are whining.
Indira jaising, a supreme court lawyer with a marxist bent of mind similar to Barkha dutt has tried to raise unfounded fears of Judicial supremacy.
The January 11 judgment virtually repeals an important provision of the Constitution, namely Article 31B, and undoes what was done in 1951. In other words, it gives to the Supreme Court the power to strike down any law on the ground that it violates fundamental rights resulting in the violation of the basic features of the Constitution.
It would seem the court is saying that any violation of fundamental rights results in the violation of the basic features of the Constitution.
Thus, the final arbiter on what are fundamental rights, what amounts to a violation of fundamental rights and what are the basic features of the Constitution is now the Supreme Court.
But then the Judiciary is not a military dictator. It can only interpret the constitution and the laws passed by the legislature. It cannot command the legislature to make any laws as per the basic structure of the constitution no matter how the constitution is interpreted.So her rabble rousing is disingenous and seems to reflect the opinion of some vested interests.