Contribution of the Supreme Court to the Growth of Democracy in India
Chief Justice (Retd.) S Rajendra Babu*
Volume 6 Issue 1 (2013)
I consider it a great privilege and honour to speak in memory of D.D. Basu. Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah and Mr. K.K. Venugopal, who delivered lectures in previous years in the same forum, have elaborately referred to the life and works of D.D. Basu. Thus to avoid redundancy, I will refrain from reiterating what they have already elucidated on. I have not known D.D. Basu personally, but I have great admiration for the commentaries he has offered on various subjects in his classics, particularly on Constitutional Law. I was intrigued by his work on ‘Comparative Constitutional Law’ in which he makes thought provoking comments on important decisions of the Supreme Court such as A.D.M., Jabalpur v. S.S. Shukla (‘Habeas Corpus case’), Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala ‘Kesavananda Bharati case’), and Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain. He did not get influenced by the populist views on issues dealt with in the Habeas Corpus case. He criticizes both the majority and minority opinions in the first two cases, and the manner in which the latter was decided. He opines that the majority in the Habeas Corpus case ought to have taken note of the fact that Article 226 had not been suspended, and therefore judicial review on matters other than Article 21 could have been invoked in the ordinary course of judicial review. He feels that notwithstanding Justice Khanna’s heroic attempt to save the rights of the citizens to move for habeas corpus, his reasoning was based on aspects ultra vires the Constitution of India. Furthermore, he goes on to observe that in the presence of a written Constitution, taking note of situations outside the Constitution will not be sound in law.