The Role of Public Interest Litigation in Shaping Up the Public Policy Regime in India: Over-Reaching or Justified and the Way Ahead
NLUALR, VOL. III, ISSUE I, 2019
24 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 11, 2019
At the onset of Independence, India witnessed the growth and development of Individual liberty and governance (Samarsinghe, 1994) with courts playing a catalytic role in providing access to the masses in the judicial process through Public Interest Litigations (First recognized in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India) in order to keep a check on other organs of the society (Sathe, 1998). Public Interest Litigation as a concept was a late bloomer in India after its humble origins in the USA but it immediately garnered traction among India’s legal stalwarts Justice Krishna and Justice Bhagwati in the late 1970’s (Matthew, 2012). The power of Judicial Review stressed by the Indian courts in the first forty years of Independence to adjudicate public interest claims changed the paradigm of the Indian public law adjudication from a negative to positive function but the catapult effect of judicial intervention or adventurism on the four contours of the democracy was never calculated (Anand, 1999). Does the judicial capacity of the courts which reimagines policy, environment and social changes as a jural attribute instead of a socio-political attribute (Rajamani, 2007) overpowers the long-standing doctrine of Separation of Powers, is the question that needs to be answered. The answer to this scuffle lies in the evaluation of the role delineated to the three pillars of the democracy. Till date, most of the research in Public Interest Litigation has largely been unilateral focusing on the merits of the judgments laid down by the courts and there is no assessment of the patterned effect of these decisions on a large social scale. This research work is an effort to provide an insight into the accountability and transparency of the Indian democratic through discussion on the far-reaching effects of the court's decisions on the public sentiment. The research work also ponders over the question as to whether the policy intervention by the courts is a way to supervise and monitor issues affecting the consensus or is a way to establish hegemony over the emerging and developing system. In a special reference, the research work also touches the causal effects of the judicial intervention on the newer avenues of infrastructure, smart governance, urban development and foreign policy.
Keywords: Policy, Democracy, Judicial, India, Public Interest
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