Mumbai: Stressing the need for avoiding judicial overreach, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on Saturday said if a question with political content is posed before the court and no legal standard is available before it to decide the matter, it should be left to the executive or legislature to sort it out.
Kapadia also underscored that the judiciary must maintain its integrity to fulfil the expectations of the people.
"When a question is posed before the court, the court must find out what is the content of the question. If the content is political and if the content is such where there is no legal standard available before the court to apply and decide the matter then the doctrine of deference should be applied and it should be left to the executive or the legislature as the case may be," he said.
Kapadia was speaking at the closing ceremony of the year-long sesquicentennial celebrations of the Bombay High Court.
In the past, he said, the integrity of the judiciary was taken for granted. "Today, judicial integrity is a matter of strong public expectation.
"This is the vital difference you must keep in mind. And I expect the high court judges of the future and the entire judiciary to endeavour to fulfil this expectation of the people," he said addressing a distinguished gathering which included Prime Minister Manmohan singh and former and sitting judges of the High Court and Supreme Court.
He also emphasised the need to maintain judicial independence.
The Chief Justice said that the turf war between judiciary and executive arose because the "judiciary is guided by morality of law, while the executive is guided by the philosophy of utilitarianism".
He said after 1974 there were very few instances where the judiciary had set aside legislations and most of its judgements were aimed at correcting executive actions.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan outlined the efforts made by his government to speed up the justice delivery system, including establishment of fast track courts.
The highlight of the closing ceremony was reenactment of the scene of handing over of charge of the High Court by its last British Chief Justice to the first Indian Chief Justice M C Chagla on the momentous occasion of independence by unfurling the Indian national flag. The act was presented by the troupe of Quasar Padamsee.
Among the dignitaries present on the dias were Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Goa B V Wanchoo, its Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Mohit Shah.