New Delhi: Emphasising that the organs of Indian democracy - Parliament, Executive and Judiciary - should operate within their own spheres, President Pranb Mukherjee on Thursday said the judiciary being a "critical" pillar must introspect and self-correct, when required, to meet the evolving needs of polity.
Receiving the first copy of 'Statement of Indian Law: Supreme Court through its Constitution Bench Decisions since 1950' written by lawyer Govind Goel, the President said constitutionalism is the primary edifice on which Indian democracy stands.
He said it is the Constitution which is supreme rather than the pillars - Parliament, Executive and Judiciary - and each organ of the state "must operate within its own sphere and must not appropriate what has been assigned to others".
"The exercise of authority by the legislature and the executive is subject to judicial review. However, in the exercise of authority by the judiciary, the only check possible is judiciary's self-imposed discipline and self-restraint," he said.
"The balance of power between the three organs as enshrined in our Constitution must be maintained at all times," Mukherjee said.
The President said unlike the Supreme Court of the United States, where judges are appointed for a life term by the political executive keeping in view ideological preferences, judges of the Indian Supreme Court are appointed through a non-political process uninfluenced by such considerations.
"As a result, the law that has emerged having been interpreted by the Constitution Bench of Indian Supreme Court navigates through diverse social, economic, political, cultural, historical and ethical moors. This has made the Constitution of India a living organic document keeping pace with the changing times," he said.
The Supreme Court of India last year struck down the government's move to amend the appointment of judges through National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, saying it was "unconstitutional" and that it would breach the "independence" of the higher judiciary.
The President said the uniqueness of a Constitution is that while the words can be amended, the 'constitutional silences' are indisputable.
"It is the solemn responsibility of the Constitution Bench to decrypt and amplify these 'silences'," he said.
He said of the 2,296 decisions of the Bench, only about one per cent have been overruled which is considerably less than the number of constitutional amendments.
"Yet, there may be a possibility, and more so desirability, of revisiting the correctness or relevance of a decision as per the contemporary needs of society," he said.
The book 'Statement of Indian Law: Supreme Court through its Constitution Bench Decisions since 1950', released by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, is a study of all the judgments delivered by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India since 1950.