3 August 2023
by Kieran Chakraborty - 0 Comments

Deciphering the Enigmatic Complexity

I remember back in the day when I studied constitutional law during my undergraduate studies, I was utterly fascinated by the Supreme Court of India's way of functioning. It's intricate and complex, with no other judicial system even coming close to its uniqueness. One particular characteristic that stands out is its occasional selectiveness in opining upon matters. Why would such a prestigious body, the epitome of justice and law, adopt a pick-and-choose approach? Let's dive deep and reveal the mysteries!

Realising the Unseen Hierarchy in the Sea of Equals

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the Supreme Court is biased. It's just that the system the apex court operates in tends to give a vibe of selectiveness. And no, may I clarify, it's not exclusive to India. I had my curiosity sparkled even when I was diving into Australian law! Remember folks, in law, there's an unseen hierarchy even in a sea full of equals. Now come, let's put our detective caps on.

The thing with the legal system is, everywhere in the world, courts have limited resources. Limited time, limited judges, and an unlimited number of judgements to deliver. The Indian Supreme Court, as the final interpreter of the Constitution, has a colossal task on its hands. It's almost like an enormous buffet table where you can't sample every dish but are tasked to deliver a note on the buffet's overall quality.

In this scenario, some cases, tend to catch more attention than others. High profile cases, those testing constitutional waters, impacting a large number of people, or having grave national implications, are faster to attract the Supreme Court's attention. Lesser-known, common man's issues may sometimes take a backseat, and this, my friends, can create a perception of selectiveness.

The Catch-22 of Public Interest Litigation

India, thankfully, has a tool known as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to counterbalance this issue, making it a bit of a superhero in my eyes. A PIL signals to the Supreme Court about a significant matter affecting the public that requires immediate attention. But what happens if this superhero starts getting used too frequently, for matters that aren't always necessary? We end up with a Catch-22 situation on our hands, and that's exactly what happened in India.

Overusing PILs has led to a scenario where the Court is seen to be giving preference to some PILs over others. This may not be intentional, but preferential treatment becomes a talking point. Suddenly, the superhero becomes the reason for the perceived selectiveness.

Treading on the Thin Line of Judicial Activism

Remember that legendary cooking spree I went on in Melbourne? I was stirring and tasting every dish, leading to more tinkering and ending in a culinary disaster. In some ways, the Supreme Court of India too, can walk into a similar predicament when it comes to judicial activism.

It's a commendable thing, really, that the Supreme Court steps beyond its traditional role to deliver justice where it's delayed or denied. But this 'stepping-out' walks a fine line; cross it, and you enter into the territory of other branches of the government. That's where selectiveness can come into the picture again.

Think about it. If the Supreme Court is seen to be more active in matters which are traditionally in the government's domain, it can be seen as selective intervention. It may even stir up a hornet's nest, leading to questions on the separation of powers.

The Charm and Challenge of Interpretative Role

Finally, let's talk about the interpretative role of the Supreme Court which, in my opinion, can be a charm and a challenge at the same time. This is where the plot thickens, like a mind-boggling 'whodunit' novel.

The Supreme Court's role is to interpret the Constitution. But interpretations can sometimes be subjective and depend on the specific bench's philosophy. Two different Supreme Court benches may interpret the same clause in the Constitution differently. This can sometimes lead to a perception of selectiveness. Noble intentions can sometimes, unintentionally, be misconstrued, just like my attempt to make an Indian curry in the Perth heat may not always be appreciated!

That's the beauty and complexity of the law. It's subjective and objective all at the same time. It's like the weather in Perth – unpredictable and fascinating – making it impossible for observers not to have divergent views on the functioning of the Supreme Court of India!

In conclusion, let me reiterate that the Supreme Court of India is not being intentionally selective. It operates within the constraints of limited resources, an overflow of PILs, an active role in maintaining justice, and the challenging task of interpreting the Constitution. To appreciate its role and understand its apparent selectiveness, we need to walk around in their shoes, or robes in this case, on the fine tightrope of justice!

Kieran Chakraborty

Kieran Chakraborty

I am Kieran Chakraborty, a media expert with a passion for exploring and writing about Indian life and current affairs. My extensive knowledge of the Indian media landscape has enabled me to provide unique insights and perspectives on the diverse cultural, social, and political aspects of the country. I strive to bring authentic and enlightening stories to my readers, while also shedding light on the complex issues that shape Indian society today. Apart from writing, I enjoy engaging with my audience through various media platforms to foster meaningful conversations and connections.