Supreme Court Guidelines

Role Of Legislature and Judiciary – Need For Balance

Indian Aluminium Co. v. State of Kerala, AIR 1996 SC 1431: (1996) 7 SCC 637

1. The adjudication of the right of the parties is the essential judicial function. Legislature has to lay down the norms of conduct or rules which will govern the parties and the transactions and require the court to give effect to them;

2. The Constitution delineated delicate balance in the exercise of the sovereign power by the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary;
3. In a democracy governed by rule of law, the Legislature exercises the power under Articles 245 and 246 and other companion Articles read with the entries in the respective Lists in the Seventh Schedule to make the law which includes power to amend the law;

4. Courts in their concern and endeavour to preserve judicial power equally must be guarded to maintain the delicate balance devised by the Constitution between the three sovereign functionaries. In order that rule of law permeates to fulfil constitutional objectives of establishing an egalitarian social order, the respective sovereign functionaries need free-play in their joints so that the march of social progress and order remain unimpeded. The smooth balance built with delicacy must always be maintained;

5. In its anxiety to safeguard judicial power, it is unnecessary to be overzealous and conjure up incursion into the judicial preserve invalidating the valid law competently made;

6. The Court, therefore, needs to carefully scan the law to find out:

(a) Whether the vice pointed out by the court and invalidity suffered by previous law is cured complying with the legal and constitutional requirements;
(b) Whether the Legislature has competence to validate the law;
(c) Whether such validation is consistent with the rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.

7. The court does not have the power to validate an invalid law or to legalise impost of tax illegally made and collected or to remove the norm of invalidation or provide a remedy. These are not judicial functions but the exclusive province of the Legislature. Therefore, they are not the encroachment on judicial power;

8. In exercising legislative power, the Legislature by mere declaration, without anything more, cannot directly overrule, revise or override a judicial decision. It can render judicial decision ineffective by enacting valid law on the topic within its legislative field fundamentally altering or changing its character retrospectively. The changed or altered conditions are such that the previous decision would not have been rendered by the court, if those conditions had existed at the time of declaring the law as invalid. It is also empowered to give effect to retrospective legislation with a deeming date or with effect from a particular date. The Legislature can change the character of the tax or duty from impermissible to permissible tax but the tax or levy should answer such character and the Legislature is competent to recover the invalid tax validating such a tax or removing the invalid base for recovery from the subject or render the recovery from the State ineffectual. It is competent for the Legislature to enact the law with retrospective effect and authorise its agencies to levy and collect the tax on that basis, make the imposition of levy collected and recovery of the tax made valid, notwithstanding the declaration by the court or the direction given for recovery thereof;

9. The consistent thread that runs through all the decisions of this Court is that the Legislature cannot directly overrule the decision or make a direction as not binding on it but power to make the decision ineffective by removing the base on which the decision was rendered, consistent with the law of the Constitution and the Legislature must have competence to do the same.

Source: M A Rashid, Supreme Court Guidelines and Precedents

Leave a Comment