The Congress Saturday made it clear that it will not support the NDA government if it brings a new version of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill.
“There is no need after the Supreme Court judgement, a watershed judgment, to take any steps which may lead to any kind of confrontation (with the court). We will not be at all supportive of such a move,” deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told The Sunday Express.
He said the verdict of the five-member constitution bench was very clear and argued that the apex court has also observed that the collegium system of appointing judges needed certain improvements. “They have taken cognizance of the concerns and reservations… That is very refreshing and reassuring,” he said.
The Congress had backed the NJAC Bill in Parliament despite having certain reservations. It was not in favour of what it called “veto clause” — the provision which said the “commission shall not recommend a person for appointment… if any two members of the commission do not agree for such recommendation”.
The party had argued that the provision could be misused by the government to keep away a person not to its liking.
Besides, it was against the provision which said the commission will have to make a “unanimous” recommendation if the President was to ask it to reconsider the first recommendation made by it. Sharma said that while the party had supported the Bill, the situation has changed now.
He said there is an “acute realisation” in the last one and a half years since the Modi government came to power that an independent judiciary is required to guarantee that constitutional rights and freedoms are not infringed upon.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi too argued that “at the moment, you have to forget the past and look ahead”.
“The Congress does not accept that the collegium system is excellent or unexceptional. The Congress certainly believes that the collegium system has much to answer and much to improve… The Congress will not support any adventure of the government per se and the adventurism we have seen till now has been of subverting hallowed institutions and certainly the judiciary is the most hallowed of them… I think it is a very fair warning where the judiciary is concerned,” he said.