Underlining the need for political engagement in a democracy, Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud said that the apex court cannot and must not transcend its role by deciding issues requiring the involvement of elected representatives.
“It is true that the Supreme Court of India must protect the fundamental rights of persons and perform its constitutional duty. That would not only be a deviation from its constitutional role but would not serve a democratic society, which at its core, must resolve issues through public deliberation, discourse and the engagement of citizens with their representatives and the Constitution,” he said.
Justice Chandrachud was speaking at King’s College in London on the topic “Protecting human rights and preserving civil liberties: The role of courts in a democracy”.
He also said that thinking of the Supreme Court as a “one-stop solution to resolve complicated issues of policy and society” is a reflection of the waning power of discourse and consensus building.
“The growing litigious trend in the country is indicative of the lack of patience in the political discourse. This results in a slippery slope where courts are regarded as the only organ of the State for realisation of rights — obviating the need for continuous engagement with the legislature and the executive,” he said.
“The fulfilment of the ideals of our Constitution and the protections guaranteed under it cannot only be achieved by exercising our role as citizens once every five years. There must be a continuous engagement with all the pillars of democracy,” he added in his closing remarks.
Justice Chandrachud’s remarks on political engagement are significant as he is in line to be the Chief Justice of India in November this year for a period of two years, during which the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will also be held.