Judicial appointments: AG Mukul Rohatgi talks of judiciary’s limits; Justice Khehar says well aware

They were speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court to celebrate Constitution Day.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:November 27, 2016 2:28 am
judges, judges appointment, judge appointments, supreme court, njac, collegium, high court judges, supreme court judges, india news CJI T S Thakur with Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at a CAT conference in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Saturday asked the judiciary to exercise “self-restraint” and be mindful of its “Laxman Rekha” even as it sought to police the other two organs of democracy.

Minutes later, Justice J S Khehar, who is next in line to become the Chief Justice of India, responded to the top law officer of the government, saying the judiciary was well aware of its Laxman Rekha. The current Chief Justice, Justice T S Thakur, retires on January 3.

“Be is the 39th amendment in the Constitution (placing office of the Prime Minister beyond the ambit of judicial scrutiny) or the latest amendment that had the element of affecting independence of the judiciary (amendment to replace the collegium with a National Judicial Appointments Commission), the Supreme Court has struck them down… It has upheld the constitutional ethos and its principles… that, if I may respectfully tell the Attorney General, is our Laxman Rekha,” Justice Khehar said.

They were speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court to celebrate Constitution Day.

Earlier, the AG had said that while the judiciary had been given the power under the Constitution to ensure that the executive and legislature did not cross their limits, it must also remember its own limits.
“Self-control and self-restraint are as important as policing… even judiciary must also remember it has a Laxman Rekha… If other two organs have it, it is not as if judiciary doesn’t have one,” he said.

Rohatgi added that the judiciary must remember that “greater the power, greater the need for circumspection”. In an obvious reference to the running battle between the judiciary and the executive over the power to appoint judges, the AG said it was time to introspect whether an equilibrium had been reached despite the churning over decades.

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  1. I
    Nov 27, 2016 at 12:59 am
    The people can hold the government responsible. Who will hold the judiciary responsible?
  2. C
    Chander Pal
    Nov 27, 2016 at 3:23 pm
    We the unknowledgable citizens do not understand why and how S C set up court at 3 am for a terror accused, 2 cases went on for 20 years and persons had to be arrested. Suddenly a calculation mistake or who was the driver and the persons are out within days. Further for we the unknowledgables 'judges appointing judges' does not build confidence towards the judiciary we ought to have.
  3. C
    Chander Pal
    Nov 27, 2016 at 1:30 am
    Suddenly now it is judicial activism, translation is we can check you, don't try to check us. In spite of out cry by the common citizens, S C wants to continue its verdict of judges appointing judges. why there is so minimally low elevation of judges from lower judiciary. How we the common citizens are not convinced that higher judiciary is not transparent. Why so many hi fi personalities are able to be out of any sort of judicial review.
  4. S
    Nov 27, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    Number of cases in the court will come down if the verdict is given at the earliest rather giving tarikh per tarikh.
  5. D
    Dr. B
    Nov 27, 2016 at 11:14 am
    Mr. Shanti Bhushan, ex-Law Minister of India had openly said 8 "ex- CJs. of SC were corrupt". He submitted the names to CJI in a sealed envelope nearly six years back.He even challenged The SC to to try him under contempt of Court . Why The Court is mum? Time for introspection. Judicial appointments should be transparent.Family appointment stinks.
  6. S
    Santano Fernandes
    Nov 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm
    What a shame for the AG, who has not learn the lesson after the Judiciary gave a slap on the Govt through AG face by striking the amendment for NJAC. Still some people don't understand things easily and they keep on harping. They only learned when a strong decision like complete dismissal action of the w gang is taken. Small actions they don't get it....
  7. H
    Nov 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm
    The fact of the matter is that India is saddled with an unaccountable judiciary. No escaping this truth.
  8. J
    jayaram reddi
    Nov 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    If you are well aware, then behave.
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