In Rajya Sabha, Opposition joins chorus against ‘judicial overreach’

Members raise orders on liquor ban, cricket associations

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Published: April 8, 2017 3:49 am
liquor ban, Supreme court, SC on liquor ban, Madras High court, MadrasHC Liquor ban, NCP, Samajwadi Party, liquor ban rajya sabha, Tamil nadu, tamil nadu government, NJAC, india news, indian express news Rajya Sabha on Friday. (PTI photo)

CITING THE Supreme Court’s recent order banning sale of liquor near highways and the Madras High Court’s order asking the state government to waive all farm loans, Samajwadi Party and NCP members raised the issue of “judicial overreach” in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, stating that the courts were “giving orders beyond their jurisdiction”.

SP member Naresh Agrawal, who had given a notice under Rule 267 demanding a discussion on the issue of “judicial overreach”, said the role of the judiciary, executive and legislature are clearly earmarked in the Constitution. “But it has been seen in recent times that there are many courts which are giving orders going beyond their jurisdiction,” he said.

“We set up the NJAC. Under Article 368, we had the right to make amendments in the Constitution, but they (Supreme Court) did away with that right… The government was silent and treated the order of the apex court as supreme. Our rights were violated. What we said was not accepted and they referred it to a larger bench,” he said.

Referring to the Madras High Court’s order asking the Tamil Nadu government to waive farm loans, he said: “They cannot do this. How can they give this order. The right of financial management belongs to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and assemblies.”

Criticising the apex court’s order banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways, Agrawal said “this has led to chaos (avyavastha) in the country… what I’m saying is that orders were given beyond their (courts’) rights.”

Stating that the Supreme Court had “started reviewing the salary and perks of MPs”, Agrawal said, “their salary was also increased… we did not do any review.” Last month, the Supreme Court had sought replies from the central government and secretariats of both houses of Parliament on a PIL that questioned the provision for granting lifelong pension and other allowances to MPs and their spouses.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the remarks against the judiciary would be expunged. When Kurien asked Agrawal not to criticise the Supreme Court, senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav backed his colleague saying, “We will criticise it here as well as outside if the Supreme Court goes beyond its jurisdiction.”

Agrawal demanded a discussion on the issue. “I am telling the government that if you show weakness after getting such a majority, it will be a blot on you. Will you take a tough stand? Protect these rights, the rights that belong to you,” he said.

Supporting Agrawal, NCP’s D P Tripathi expressed concern at the judiciary looking into issues like cricket associations and liquor shops. He made a strong comment, which was expunged by the Chair.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) member Ritabrata Banerjee alleged that the judiciary used “very harsh words in a number of other cases in which UAPA was slapped, but had no harsh words at all on the incidents in Malegaon, Ajmer Dargah, Samjhauta Express, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Modasa in Gujarat”.

Banerjee, who sought to raise the issue of misuse of the sedition and anti-terror laws against human rights activists, political activists, women and minorities, also spoke on the recent judicial orders and backed Tripathi. He said sedition charges were used “recklessly and with political motive” and UAPA was slapped in a “wrong manner”.

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