SC's judicial activism unparalleled in judicial history, says Venugopal

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Attorney General K K Venugopal Friday said judicial activism of the Supreme Court of India is unparalleled in the judicial history of any modern democracy due to the introduction of 'Public Interest Litigation'.

The top law officer, who was speaking at Prof N R Madhava Menon memorial lecture, organised by RSS- affiliated lawyers wing, Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad, said the apex court has done a tremendous amount of good.

He said that through judicial activism the “Supreme Court has done a tremendous amount of good. It has practically tried to wipe away every tears of the underprivileged, disadvantaged and illiterate sections of the society.

“Though in many cases the judiciary has (used) excess powers which can never be treated as judicial adjudication and even within the normal bounds of judicial activism”.

Venugopal said that post the emergency, the Supreme Court witnessed a new era of judicial activism and that “due to the introduction of a new remedy called the 'Public Interest Litigation', the judicial activism through judicial review is unparalleled in the judicial history of any modern democracy.” He, however, said that 'it was true that a lot of publicity was attached to PILs and, therefore, many of the PILs which were filed should never have been filed”.

Quoting former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati, Venugopal said 'judicial activism' makes the apex court the most powerful Supreme Court in the world.

“If a retired Chief Justice says this, we should accept it as correct... I would describe the Supreme Court of India as the most powerful branch of governance because it's every judgment is binding on the other two branches (legislature and executive) and it can strike down their actions and strike down their laws,” he said.

He said the Supreme Court has an inherent power to review the decisions of other branches of the government, and in particular invalidates the executive and legislative actions as unconstitutional.

In a democracy with a written constitution, this is the real power that the superior court of the country should possess, he said.

“Constitution has brought into existence the three great departments of the government, which is the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. They were brought into existence as equal and coordinate departments of the government. They cannot encroach upon each others' powers,” he said.

While remembering Menon, Venugopal said he was a great giant in the legal field.

Senior advocate Sonia Mathur, who was moderating the session, said Menon was a renowned educationalist, scholar and a pioneer spirit behind the modern legal education in India.  “He was the one who conceptualised the five years' integrated LLB program instead of an earlier 3-year ones.

Dubbed as the father of modern Indian Legal Education, Menon passed away in May 2019 at the age of 84. He was credited with revolutionising the field of legal education by establishing National Law Schools. PTI UK PKS SA