The arrival of democracy:
It was a long process of sacrifices and struggles which marked a blurred advent of democracy. But establishing a true democracy was not a cake walk. It took more than a hundred years to know the value of democracy and its need in a country.
Even though it was a sign of independence, democracy came with a negative aspect. It provided independence from the unwanted reign of foreigners, but it gave a long lasting wound to the country as well.
The wound that India still bears:
This wound is none other than the partition of a country into two dominions. The struggle ended but the pain remained in the heart of freedom fighters who were struggling to make their country free of outer rule.
It took the life of the great Mahatma Gandhi, who is still remembered as one of the pioneers of the freedom struggle. It took the life of so many great people who dreamt of an independent country but never thought of it breaking into two parts, India and Pakistan.
The changing scenario:
It was not at all easy to establish a democratic government in India. But this has been tried to achieve to a large extent. Today, India is a democracy and holds a democratic government.
It has tried to maintain a balance among three organs of government, but let’s see how far it has been successful till now…
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM AND THE INDIAN DEMOCRACY
“Justice is a right to attain right.” Right is attained when the system of justice is at hand, not only to those who possess power of muscles and brain, but also to those who were and are still deprived of the priviledges of various policies and schemes, specially made and implemented for them by the other two organs of the government. Democracy is all about rights and equality of all sections residing in the society. This equality is somehow dependent on the readiness of the Judiciary to take proper actions. This may be called as judicial activism. The judicial activism has become a great power for the Judiciary of the country and its people. The system has been proved to be successful in order to make every individual aware of the true meaning of democracy. It has established a beautiful and transparent relationship between justice and democracy.
*The PIL or SAL:*
The judicial activism has been found to be flourished in 1980s. The system of Public Interest Litigation(PIL) or Social Action Litigation(SAL) is the mode of its promulgation in the society. 1980s situations were not such, that the deprived section could reach the court and offered a lawyer. This was a Catastrophe that they were compelled to grapple with for a long time since the country has been provided with a democratic constitution. Injustice and violation of fundamental rights provided by the constitution to the democratic people of India was seen everywhere for about three decades of independence. In 1979, Public Interest Litigation became a piercing tool in the hands of the unsensitized sections of the society through which they could attack the powers, who werere in infringing their right in any form. The system through which their voices calling for justice, could access the court through different means. The judges started hearing cases on the basis of newspaper reports, editorials and even filed by a person other than the aggrieved. There were many cases that contributed as examples of the judicial activism and its power.
*Cases that served as examples:*
In 1979, the hussainara Khatoon versus Bihar case is one of the best manifestations of the Public Interest Litigation. In this case, a lawyer filed a petition on seeing a large number of prisoners who had been spending years of their life beyond the time limit decided as their punishment. These under trial victims of the democratic India were exposed by an another person before court, who was a lawyer. The judges accepted this petition and justice was served to a large number of prisoners facing under trial. Similarly, the Sunil Batra vs Delhi administration case in 1980, which was filed by an inmate of Tihar Jail on seeing the pitiful situation of the prisoners. Here, the prisoners were treated very badly and were brutally beaten. This case was in news for a long time as it was a petition written to justice Krishna Iyer which was carved on a paper. The judge took it into consideration and justice too, was provided but the tradition of filing PIL through letters was banned after the verdict of the court. Even though the court banned the system of filing PIL in form of letters, the case was an epitome of the system of judicial activism.
*Flourishing of the PIL system*
System of PIL flourished judicial activism and helped protecting democracy in the nation. It made the illiterates aware of the rights and the true meaning of democracy. It eased their access to justice and also made it affordable. There were many people who didn’t know the basics of accessing court for justice, like how to file a case, what is a petition and many more.. Such illiterate people were provided justice through PILs filed by other person like lawyers and reporters. A large number of women facing domestic violence were also provided an access to justice. Many social evils that degraded the value of women in society like the system of dowry, child marriage in remote areas were banned. This helped the women maintain their dignity and equality in the society. Thus, the fundamental rights like right to equality and right against exploitation were provided as promised by the system of Democratic India. Hence, the post- 1980 situations were a bit favourable for such deprive sections of the society. In 1984, a case was heard called bandwa Mukti morcha vs Union of India. During the trial, the justice had conclusively given an impressive statement which triggered the underprivileged sections. She summarily said that justice should reach to deprive section and that too, in a different way.
The modern democracy states that the “women empowerment is the first step towards the true independence of India”- how convincing the statement seems! A person living outside the country, if listens such a statement in a speech by our great politicians, then he would surely make an image of Indians as the most “sober men” in the world, isn’t it? But the scene is something really different. Women are being empowered, there is a section fighting in the name of feminism, but the cost of this Independence is unpredictable. This cost can only be explained by the innocent girl or most precisely the minor, who has been compelled to compromise her chastity. What is a “home”- a place where you find peace, safety and protection from all the evil intentions of the outside world, right? And shelter Home, a home where you can find shelter if you’re destitute of the environment of a home. But today’s shelter homes are horrible and heinous. The cases that have unfolded in last few days, show a spine-chilling face of Indians, those Indians who deserve not to be called as “Indians”
There are claims that these cases which have come to light are the result of great political contact, and still are being solved with political aspect. But actually, every issue is not required to be presented with political aspect. Therefore, a distance which is safe, needs to be maintained between justice and politics. Besides, some awareness program should be launched and local people should be trained and employed. Their work should be creating awareness among people and such deprived sections, who are being exploited for no reason, about their rights. I appreciate the initiative taken by the supreme court to open government shelter homes in most of the states of the country, but this cannot be completely appreciated until the verdict or the scheme is truly implemented throughout the country, providing proper safety and peace to the life of these women being sexually and emotionally abused, those children who are being exploited and many others deprived sections of the society. If the judicial activism truly exists, then it is the responsibility of Judiciary to take proper action for these exploited sections and provide them with the best facility that ensures at least their protection and a two times meal for them and their families in every 24 hours. These actions are not possible until the three organs of the government corporate with each other and maintain their own portfolio, instead of intruding the work of other.