The Madras HC bench comprising of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalendhi made a range of observations while questioning the governments on not sticking to the suggestions of any judgment. Such judgments are either not considered or not sent to concerned people so that, the decision could be taken for the enactment of law as pointed out by the Courts. The bench further stressed the need of having a proper wing in the government to take note of the observations of the court and take the same to the policymakers.
Court said that there have been wide range of instances when government have not followed the suggestions of Court. Few of such instances and case are:-
- The Supreme Court in V.Sudeer v. Bar Council of India, insisted the government amend the Advocates Act, 1961. Amend to re-enact the provision for training of the law graduates or its necessity for the professionals to control the deterioration of the standards of the legal profession. The judgment for the same came in 1999 and yet there is no amendment.
- The Supreme Court in Vishaka and Others v. the State of Rajasthan directed the government to formulate adequate laws to prevent sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The judgment came in the year 1997 and it took years for parliament to pass the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
In the course of the case, while citing such examples, the court said that neither the Centre nor the state ever took serious note of the court’s suggestions.
Comprehensive Legislation on Torts and State Liability
A case has come before the Madras high court seeking a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to propose comprehensive legislation in the field of ‘Torts and State Liability’ as per the directions of the Honourable Supreme Court in MCD v. Uphaar Tragedy Victims Association and Vadodara Municipal Corporation v. Purshottam V.Murjani and others.
The court observed that even though there have been recommendations made by the Law Commission to the Union Government for comprehensive legislation in the field of ‘Torts and State Liability’ as early as in the year 1965-1967, it is yet to come. In 1956, the Law Commission had made a report on the same issue.
In the view, the Court impleaded (i) Union of India, represented by its Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, New Delhi; (ii) The State of Tamil Nadu, represented by its Chief Secretary, Secretariat, Chennai; and (iii) The Secretary to Government, Government of Tamil Nadu, Law Department, Secretariat, Chennai, as the respondents 4 to 6.
Some questions which were put by court fro respondents to answer are:-
- In how many judgments, the Constitutional Courts have recommended for the enactment of new laws or amendments of the existing Acts, so far?
- How many orders have been acted upon and suitable Acts/Rules and amendments to the existing Acts, have been done so far and what are all the new Acts/Rules and the amendments made so far?
- How many judgments are being acted upon and suitable Acts/Amendments are in the process of enactment?
- When will the Parliament bring comprehensive suitable legislation in the field of ‘Torts and State Liability’ for violation of fundamental rights of the citizens at the hands of the State and its officials?
- Whether the Central and State Governments are having appropriate Wings to note down the judgments/orders of the Constitutional Courts, wherein suggestions for enacting new Acts or amendments have been enacted/proposed or recommended?
- If there is no such Wing when such Wing will be established to bring those suggestions to the higher-ups or policymakers to act upon suggestions given by Courts?
- When does the Central Government appoint Chairman and Members of 22nd Law Commission of India?