The Congress may have signed off on the Constitutional amendment setting up the judicial panel that the Supreme Court struck down today but the party is now unlikely to support the Modi government in its efforts to bring a new version of the law, a senior Congress leader and member of Congress Working Committee told The Indian Express tonight. The opposition unity, seen at the time of passing the NJAC Act, is a thing of the past, he said.
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No wonder then that the Congress not only refused to criticise the Supreme Court judgment today but has taken the clear position to side with it. Parliament had unanimously passed the 99th amendment of Constitution and NJAC Act in 2014 soon after the new government had come in but now the Congress leader says “ That bill was our baby so we supported it. Our support was given in different circumstances. Now, it is another story. Similar support is out of question.”
In fact, many in the Congress were jubilant that the court had pushed the Government against the wall. Leaders who did not wish to be named sang a different tune today that in the “changing political scenario,” the collegium system is “absolutely necessary for healthy democratic balance.”
Sources said after the judgment was announced, some senior Congress leaders wanted to criticize the judgement but the decision to “not criticize” was taken after the deliberations. Like the Land Bill, the Congress is likely to take a strong position on any move of the government on this issue and is unlikely to allow any change in current judicial system to appoint judges.
“Indian National Congress respects the judgment of Constitution Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court on NJAC issue. Independence of judiciary is a key fundamental of our democracy. There can be no compromise on the same. NJAC judgment implicitly reflects lack of confidence in government which has eroded institutional autonomy and constitutional safeguards over last 17 months,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, spokesman of Congress while clarifying his party’s stand on the issue.