On Friday, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar strikes back at courts overturning parliamentary amendments to the Constitution. Vice President said that the judiciary cannot become the legislative or the executive because doing so may weaken the system of government as a whole.
Dhankar, who is also a Senior Advocate, said that in 2015-16, the Supreme Court struck down a Constitutional amendment which was enacted unanimously in Lok Sabha and was also unopposed in Raya Sabha.
The Vice-President was possibly referring to the Supreme Court striking down the Constitutional Amendment that would open the way for a National Judicial Appointments Commission to appoint judges to the higher judiciary.
During the eighth LM Singhvi memorial lecture, Vice President said that our judiciary, as one of the essential institutions of government, cannot be the executive or legislative.
“The harmonious working of these institutions is vital for the growth of democracy. Any incursion, howsoever subtle, in the domain of one by another, has the capacity to unsettle the apple cart of governance,” Dhankhar added.
VP added, “India in 2015-16 was dealing with a constitutional amendment act and as a matter of record the entire Lok Sabha voted unanimously and there was no abstention in Lok Sabha and that amendment act was passed. In Rajya Sabha, there was no opposition. We the people their ordainment came to be reflected through the most sanctified mechanisms through the applicable mechanism. That power was undone. The world does not know of any such instance. I appeal to all judicial minds please think of a parallel in the world where a constitutional provision can be undone.
“Power resides in ‘We the People’ – their mandate, their wisdom… If a constitutional provision that carries the ordainment of the people at large in such a vibrant democracy is undone, what will happen?” he further stated.
“I appeal to the people here, they constitute a judicial elite class, thinking minds, intellectuals – please find out a parallel in the world where a constitutional provision can be undone. But here our courts can run down such a provision. If the provision of the Constitution which has the backing of so many people is undone then imagine what will happen. After “this verdict” there was not a whisper in the parliament,” Vice president Dhankar said in the lecture where Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, several Supreme Court judges, Union Ministers, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and several lawyers were attending the event.
Dhankar further said that the Indian Constitution clearly states in Article 145(3) that the court may interpret the Constitution where a serious question of law is involved. “Nowhere it says a provision can be run down,” he stated.
The vice president made these comments following Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s remark that the Collegium may release notice for judge appointments if it believed the government was pausing over its recommendations, the vice president made these statements.