It is wise to remind us of these limits and wiser still to enforce them without exception, the bench said.
The Supreme Court, in State Of Himachal Pradesh vs. Satpal Saini, has set aside certain directions to amend a tenancy law, issued by Himachal Pradesh High Court to the state, reiterating that the court in its judicial review cannot encroach upon the basic constitutional function which is entrusted to the legislature to determine whether a law should be enacted or amended.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court, while allowing a writ petition, had issued directed the state to amend the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, and the Rules. The state challenged these ‘directions’ before the apex court.
A bench comprising Justice AM Sapre and Justice DY Chandrachud observed that the high court cannot direct the legislature either to enact a law or to amend a law which it has enacted for the simple reason that this constitutional function lies in the exclusive domain of the legislature. For the Court to mandate an amendment of a law – as did the Himachal Pradesh High Court – is a plain usurpation of a power entrusted to another arm of the state, the bench said.
It further observed that it does not have the power or function to direct the executive to adopt a particular policy or the legislature to convert it into enacted law. “The law enacting body is entrusted with the power to enact such legislation as it considers necessary to deal with the problems faced by society and to resolve issues of concern. The courts do not sit in judgment over legislative expediency or upon legislative policy,” the court said.
Read the Order here.
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