Updated: April 30, 2015 4:37:30 am
Amid a standoff between the government and the Chief Justice over the National Judicial Appointments Commission, Rajya Sabha MPs questioned the powers and alleged excesses by the judiciary and asked the government to make NJAC functional.
It was a discussion on the functioning of the Ministry of Law and Justice. MPs referred to the huge backlog of cases, questioned post-retirement appointments for judges, argued the judiciary is encroaching into legislature domain, and spoke about corruption in the judiciary.
The Congress’s E M Sudarshana Natchiappan said Article 124 makes it clear Parliament has the power to appoint judges and increase the number of judges. “The power to appoint judges was not given to the Supreme Court. What is happening now?”
He reminded the government that it has a full mandate. “Therefore, the government should not shy away from taking a stand according to the Constitution… Can we give the power to appoint judges to judges themselves? Can the judges appoint brothers, sisters and their grandchildren?” he said, adding that in contrast the legislative and the executive have no such rights.
The Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav said India would be a lone unfortunate country where judges appoint judges. Referring to the NJAC controversy, he said he does not know whether the Supreme Court will render the law valid. “All over the world the executive appoints judges,” he said. “The judiciary’s job is to do judicial review after we legislate, declare it wrong, unconstitutional or ultra vires.
Whether Parliament should make law or what kind of law it should make, the court cannot decide. But it is happening… The tussle between executive and judiciary creates difficulties,” he said. Yadav also questioned the practice of appointing judges as head of various commissions and bodies.
The JD(U)’s K C Tyagi said he knows of a retired chief justice, outside whose residence a board naming his property consultant son hangs. He said the board mentions the name of the father and the son.
The Congress’s Shantaram Naik said courts are “interfering” in the functioning of the legislature. “Day in and day out, our powers are being snatched by the judiciary. Courts are enacting legislation in the guise of interpretations. A day will come when courts will give orders not to raise a calling attention motion… There have been off-the-cuff remarks by the judiciary. In one case they said what was Parliament doing and whether Parliament was sleeping,” Naik said.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the country is witnessing judicial excess. Many MPs said public interest litigations are being misused.
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