New Delhi: The Supreme Court has cautioned courts that the power of judicial review has to be exercised by them with "restraint" and used within the bounds of the Constitution.
"Legislative powers are granted to enable the accomplishment of the goals of the nation. The powers of judicial review are granted in order to ensure that legislative and executive powers are used within the bounds specified in the Constitution," a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said.
The apex court passed the order on a petition by a private firm challenging the validity of an Income Tax Act provision which mandated the company to withhold part of its payment to a foreign company.
The company had challenged the legislative competency of the Centre in Andhra Pradesh High Court which had upheld the validity of the impugned provision of the Act. Against the order of the high court, the company had moved apex court.
The court said it is imperative that the powers so granted to various organs of the state are not restricted impermissibly by judicial fiat such that it leads to inabilities of the organs of the State in discharging their constitutional responsibilities.
"Powers that have been granted, and implied by, and borne by the constitutional text have to be perforce admitted. Nevertheless, the very essence of constitutionalism is also that no organ of the state may arrogate to itself powers
beyond what is specified in the Constitution. Walking on that razors edge is the duty of the judiciary," the bench said.
"No provision, and indeed no word or expression, of the Constitution exists in isolation they are necessarily related to, transforming and in turn being transformed by, other provisions, words and phrases in the Constitution.
"Judicial restraint is necessary in dealing with the powers of another coordinate branch of the government, but restraint cannot imply abdication of the responsibility of walking on that edge," the bench, also comprising justices B
Sudershan Reddy, KS Radhakrishnan, SS Nijjar and Swatanter