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
    indian
    Nov 27, 2016 at 12:59 am
    The people can hold the government responsible. Who will hold the judiciary responsible?
    Reply
    1. 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.
      Reply
      1. 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.
        Reply
        1. S
          SURESH
          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.
          Reply
          1. 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.
            Reply
            1. 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....
              Reply
              1. H
                H.Balakrishnan
                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.
                Reply
                1. J
                  jayaram reddi
                  Nov 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm
                  If you are well aware, then behave.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    kamath Ramesh
                    Nov 27, 2016 at 11:48 am
                    With due respect, who is there to watch the laxman rekha of judiciary? If govt crosses laxman rekha people punish them. Who is going to punish judiciary if they cross it? Judiciary seems to be thinking they are the owners and the elected govt are the employees and they can speak to the govt like owners speak to their employees. They forget judiciary is equal to the govt. It is valid question that 500 judges are to be filled. Has collegium sent more than 700 names so that govt can select 500 out of that? Or collegium thinks whatever they send govt bound to appoint all and has no authority to review? With due respect, is it not the arrogance of judiciary? When govt prepares the MoP on the instruction of SC, why judiciary is not vetting it and clear so that the appointments become more transparent? Why judiciary thinks they can only question others and hold others responsible and not vice versa?
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      Kautilya
                      Nov 27, 2016 at 10:54 am
                      Khehar should not become the next CJI. Would love to see the GoI put down its feet; stomp if necessary, in ensuring a more balanced individual is appointed as the next CJI.
                      Reply
                      1. K
                        khaja
                        Nov 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm
                        CJI kept his fist on the nerve of the ruling, we the layman heard the screaming of Ravishankar Prasad and company, with the help of loud speaker Mukul, infact he is not aware his own limits it seems. Well, most probably ruling cl may not opt for Justice Khehar as CJI, because they may not get chorus from him as Mukul.
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          K N
                          Nov 27, 2016 at 9:52 am
                          Judiciary has tasted power without any accountability for too long .Surgical strike is needed .
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            Mihir
                            Nov 27, 2016 at 4:01 am
                            Before long, there will not be a single democratic, independent insution left in India that does not toe RSS/BJP line of thought. India is rapidly going in the wrong direction.
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              Mihir
                              Nov 27, 2016 at 4:05 am
                              It's our law and Consution.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Mihir
                                Nov 27, 2016 at 4:04 am
                                There's no RSS type organisation among judges as you might think. Do you think they are all Muslims/Christians and anti-nationals?
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Ashok Mazumdar
                                  Nov 27, 2016 at 4:11 am
                                  Why does A Blind Person Need Kajal.?
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Manzoor
                                    Nov 27, 2016 at 7:04 am
                                    Laxman Rekha is not necessary for judiciary only but it is more necessary for executive and beauracracy.
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      Manzoor
                                      Nov 27, 2016 at 7:08 am
                                      Till date how many politicians has been punished for their crime?
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        Devisahai Meena
                                        Nov 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm
                                        In only 2 and half years' rule , some of over excited people have started voicing against Indian judicial system unduly keeping in mind till mid 2019 no one can harm them .lt;br/gt;People will keep it in mind while going to choose next govt. in 2019.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          Mahender Goriganti
                                          Nov 27, 2016 at 11:52 am
                                          The judicial branch is taking advantage of weak and corrupt political system created by congress culture and indulging in 'power grab' at every opportunity, more so since last one decade. .
                                          Reply
                                          1. C
                                            chandrakanth
                                            Nov 27, 2016 at 3:28 am
                                            Every aspect of administration is going through transparency(process clear), simplicity(easy to follow), speed of delivery(quick decision) and efficiency(few persons required, cost is low). But our judiciary takes 40 years to decide one case at one court, draining resources and virtually denying justice. Most of the problems are due to age old court administration and procedures which court itself has to set right. Nowadays, court gives opinions on every public issue, instead of doing their jobs.
                                            Reply
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