Ours is a constitutional democracy and every wing of it- the legislature, executive, and the judiciary- are bound to act according to laws enacted under its provisions. The judiciary has the special role to ensure obedience to the laws by all wings including judiciary and punish the violators. In order to keep the legislature under check, the Constitution empowers the higher judiciary to interpret a law and declare it ultra- vi*res of the Constitution, if it finds it to be so. However, even the highest judiciary cannot override a law unless declared ultra vi*res; because, if that is permitted, then all decisions can be subjective leading to total chaos in judicial administration. Therefore, the following news report in a leading daily of 23rd February, 2011 needs serious notice by the legal luminaries, legislators as well as the public in general:
“The Supreme Court on Tuesday let off three rapists after they claimed a “compromise formula” with the victim and agreed to pay her a fine of Rs. 50,000/- each. A bench…..reduced to three and half years (the period already served in prison) the 10-year sentence awarded to the trio who pleaded that both the convicts and the victim were living happily married to different people and wanted to live peacefully.”
It is obvious that it was no ordinary crime but a heinous case of gang-rape of a woman by three persons in which the law does not provide for any compromise. It is not possible to understand how an order not provided in laws can be justified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court; and in future why should lower courts not start deciding cases arbitrarily quoting this case as a nazir?
If left unchecked, such a tendency may even lead to the irrelevance of the Constitution itself. Will the legislature rise from its slumber and do something to make each wing of democracy remain confined within its authority?