SC ruling on selection of Election commissioners – Courts simply have no right to change constitution
The courts can question the probity in selection of election commissioners, they can question the activities of election commission in accordance with the law, they can even make recommendations to the Government to improve, but for courts to determine the selection of election commissioners is a blatant violation of division of powers enshrined in the constitution. This is extremely dangerous.
As it is the country is still grappling with an unconstitutional ‘collegium’ system in the selection of the judges which has risen to many serious allegations of corruption (for e.g., the 30% ‘uncle judge’ system, unimaginable backlogs and judges selecting their family members directly or indirectly). Now we are again seeing the Supreme Court crossing the line in how an election commissioner to be selected. The job of the Judiciary is to ensure the constitution approved by Parliament is adhered to. It simply has no right to alter the constitution.
India can soon become a banana republic if a judiciary whose selection itself is questionable determines the other parts of the constitution. We are setting ourselves to a situation where an institution that is not accountable to the Citizens is basically rewriting the constitution. Even if the judgement says that their ruling holds until Parliament passes a new law, it does not simply hold water. The question is under what right does the Supreme Court has to change the constitution?
Given this situation, the first thing Parliament needs to do is to send a message to the Supreme Court by passing a law in Parliament approved by the President restoring the status quo and respectfully asking the Judiciary not to cross the line and change the constitution. If this is allowed to continue we are not going to have a country, we will have an oligarchy of few self appointed people determining the fate of the nation. If a state assembly (e.g, Maharashtra) can send a message to the Supreme Court by voting in the assembly challenging a ruling they did not agree with, the Center needs to have courage to send a message.
Then there are other things that are being brought up such as revocation of Article 370 – that is a law passed by Parliament approved by 2/3 majority, the SC has no business to rule on it. There is a story of Swami Vivekananda where he was bullied by monkeys at the temple premises that he started to move away from that place, but once he decided to confront them, they ran away. We cannot let fear drive our actions. The country cannot shy away and be fearful and let it be taken over by a few men who are completely unaccountable to citizens. We cannot be fearful that courts will give more trouble if confronted and shy away. This is too dangerous.