Aditi Sheth here discusses the obvious violation of law and Constitutional morality in Baldev Singh case.
A speech that must have impressed one and all, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India emphasized in the strongest words possible that constitutional morality and ethical morality cannot be separated and that ethical morality is equally important for Judges. In the very same year, in an order of the highest court of the land, two Judges upheld a compromise in a gang-rape case after the accused were held guilty. Where then, was the constitutional morality that Hon’ble Chief Justice Kapadia talked of? Clearly, the judgment lost sight of the age old mandate of the Penal Law and the philosophy behind it. The Hon’ble Chief Justice Kapadia also reemphasized that the Judges ought not question a legislation except on the grounds of a violation of fundamental rights, excessive delegation, repugnancy and ultra vires. Thus, in any other situation a Judge is bound to follow the Law in both letter and spirit. Would not then, disregarding a statute be a gross disregard for constitutional morality? Also, were the principles of reasonability and objectivity kept in mind while pronouncing the judgment? The objective of this paper is to identify what exactly ‘constitutional morality’ is, and then whether the judgment of Baldev Singh was right in law. This paper will also discuss whether such a situation would be acceptable in the United Kingdom. Finally, we come to the question of judicial accountability, whether it will be possible to uphold the spirit of the Constitution and help fulfil Ambedkar’s dream of ‘the diffusion of constitutional morality.’ Is it the only way to ensure that the India envisaged in the Preamble does not remain just a dream? The judiciary is independent and rightly so, but whether this should be at the cost of constitutional morality also needs to be answered. The day constitutional morality is compromised, and that becomes a norm, we have nothing to fall back upon.