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Judicialization of Executive decisions -A Threat to Democracy

                                                                    (Photo: Science ABC)

It is true to say that, "Judicialization of executive decisions is dangerous for democracy". Judicialization is the growing involvement of judges in assessing the executive prerogatives and performance and the reliance on courts for addressing core public policy questions and political controversies.

 Judicialization occurs in parliamentary democracies when a high degree of party competition in legislature invites challenges from judiciary because these systems produce weak coalitions. In 1950s and 60s, the political elite passed the decision-making burden to the court because they wanted an umpire. Successive governments expanded the court jurisdiction over administrative tribunals and the court seized more powers of judicial review. In the last decade, the main driver of judicial involvement in executive decisions is pressure from civil society actors. The relationship between courts and political considerations in India's parliamentary system is less coherent.

 When the political actor is strong (single-party majority), prepared to take on courts and has a policy agenda, SC is more constrained. This occurred during Indira Gandhi's time. If the political actor is strong, but not prepared to strike at the courts autonomy (Nehru's time), or if there is a weak coalition (post-1988), the judiciary has more room to manoeuvre. Today, within the space given by structural conditions, higher judiciary is trying to balance constraints imposed by institutional realities with demands for judicial action from societal actors. Judiciary's intervention has had positive as well as negative effect. On the positive side, it has knitted alliances with political parties, citizen groups, activists and the media to keep an eye on the administration. On the negative side, the danger remains of collision between judiciary and other organs of state, which is against the principles of constitution and democracy. A bigger concern is the habit developed by higher judiciary of monitoring implementation of orders.

Judiciary interference should only be when required and should not be made as a permanent thing. It contains the principles of democracy as the three wings are different and has their own jurisdictions. Thus, it can be said that judicialization of executive decision is dangerous for democracy.


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