Balance of powers The constitutional bedrock should stay untouched

Source: The post is based on the article “Balance of powers
The constitutional bedrock should stay untouched”
published in the Business Standard on 17th January 2023

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About basic structure doctrine.

News: The Vice President of India in 83rd All-India Presiding Officer’s conference criticised the doctrine of the basic structure for undermining parliamentary sovereignty.

Prior to his comments, Lok Sabha Speaker used the same conference to say that the judiciary should “confine [itself] to its limits prescribed in the Constitution.”

What are the major highlights of the Vice President’s address?
Read here: Vice-President says court can’t dilute Parliament’s sovereignty
What is the basic structure doctrine, and how was the doctrine developed?
Read here: Basic structure Doctrine
What is the status of the Basic structure Doctrine now?

-Neither the Kesavananda Bharati judgement nor those that have come after have provided a consistent view on what features this basic structure might have.

-Many subsequent judgements have relied heavily on this doctrine and it is now part of settled law.

What should be done?

Supreme Court and some of the high courts had in the past roamed into the realm of issues that might more properly be decided by the legislature or the executive. But that has to be corrected on a case-by-case basis. Hence, Judicial overreach cannot be the reason to reverse the Basic structure doctrine.

The collegium system has problems of opacity and lack of accountability. It should be addressed but not by allowing the executive to be part of the system. A just and sustainable solution is the need of the hour.

Must read: Bound supremacy – Parliamentary sovereignty isn’t undone by the basic structure doctrine 


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