Monday, June 16, 2008

Rule of Law: A commendable judgment

In an interesting article, titled Arms and Men, Soli J.Sorabjee drew our attention to a judgment by a Division Bench of the High Court in the U.K. stopping executive leniency as reflected in its decision to halt investigations into a bribery scandal, under pressure from a foreign Government. According to him, the judgment is a commendable vindication of the rule of law by courageous English judges, Lord Justice Moses and Justice Sullivan, who were not one bit influenced by the horrific consequences painted by the government if the investigations were continued. The judgment is a testimony to their judicial commitment that “the rule of law is nothing if it fails to constrain overweening power.”

He concluded: "In the celebrated judgment of our Supreme Court in Keshavanand Bharati, the rule of law has been declared to be an essential feature of the Constitution and part of its basic structure. However, if the bench comprised timorous judicial souls overborne by the executive’s strident assertions of danger to security and national interests, the rule of law becomes an empty high-sounding slogan. The rule of law in practice derives its vitality from the approach of brave judicial sentinels unafraid to enforce the rule of law and its principles against the high and the mighty, including the government of the day. The UK judgment is certainly worthy of emulation in countries whose legal systems adhere to the rule of law and who pride themselves on an independent judiciary."

The link to the Moses-Sullivan judgment is here.
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