Are courts encroaching on the powers of the executive?  

Synopsis: The instances of courts intervening in the executive matters without providing comprehensive legal reasoning are increasing. SC’s recent decision to put stay on farm laws has been analysed in this context. 

Introduction  

The Supreme Court is trying to make a political settlement between farmers and the government. It has put a stay on farm law and made a committee for mediation. But the court has not provided any legal or constitutional reasons for that. 

What are the contradictions in this decision of SC? 

The following reasons suggests that the decision of SC to stay farm laws was a clear encroachment into the domain of executive. 

Firstly, the petition was filed on the argument that only states are eligible to enact farm laws under Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. SC should have analysed the validity of such basis.  

Secondly, the court is giving the example of the protests during Maratha reservation case in which it had issued a stay on the law in question. But in that case the stay was given on constitutional grounds 

Third, the reason given by the court for its decision was not a legal reason. It provided hat this step will ease the hurt feelings of farmers and it will become easier to bring them on the negotiation table.  

Fourth, In the recent years, SC has been hesitant to take up constitutional challenges to similarly politically controversial moves. This decision by SC also falls into the same category. For Example; the cases of Article 370, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, reservation quotas for economically weaker sections, electoral bonds, and the ‘love jihad’ laws. 

Fifth, Earlier SC Held protests as completely legal and part of the exercise of citizens’ rights under Article 19 of the Constitution.  But in a related case told that the question of whether the tractor protests should be allowed or not is a ‘law and order’ question and the decision will be taken by Police.  

SC is under question of the critics these days, but the positive roles played by it cannot be ignored due to that. In the Navtej Johar case (Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India) court acted in a counter-majoritarian manner and decriminalised Homosexuality.  

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