On the political front, too, the superior courts in the past did not stand up to power, when Thailand was under the grip of its many military dictators. . .The point that needs to be made here is that military-backed governments tended to enjoy the support of the palace. Whereas in recent years the involvement of the judiciary in constitutional matters coincided with the rise of a strong democratically elected prime minister (Thaksin). And at times it appeared to observers that Thaksin did not have the full support of the palace.
‘’Until April 2006 there hadn’t been much awareness that the courts should and could play such a decisive role in the country’s politics,’’ says Streckfuss. ‘’The king’s speech directed the courts to be more active. And since then, the courts have been causing the government a lot of grief.’’
‘’The courts are emerging as a possible key entity to redefine the relationship between the people and the government,’’ says Thanet, the historian. ‘’What we have is a new power equation. Governments will have to face up to it.’’
The evolution of the Thai judiciary is best viewed not only in relation to its ability to check Thai politicians, but to what extent it has advanced positions dear to the monarchy and military. Before we applaud the rise of any newly assertive judicial branch in Thailand, the question begs to be asked: to what extent, in practice, does it operate as independent branch of government? And this is a difficult question for anyone in Thailand to address. That's because the people of Thailand lack the freedom to criticize either the monarchy or decisions handed down by judges.