On March 28, the Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA) moved the Supreme Court to challenge the Bombay High Court’s order dismissing BLA’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action against Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankar and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju over their comments on the collegium system for appointment of judges.
The Government of India’s counsel, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, submitted, “the present PIL is filed for publicity purpose. It is false and frivolous. Respondent Nos.1 and 2 have complete faith in the Constitution,” told the Bombay High Court while opposing BLA’s PIL. Furthermore, the Bombay High Court said, “The credibility of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is sky-high. It cannot be eroded or impinged by the statements of individuals,” while dismissing the PIL.
The BLA argued that the respondents’ statements expressed a “lack of faith in the Constitution of India and the law established by their behaviour and utterances made in public.” Furthermore, it urged the Bombay High Court to declare the respondents are disqualified from holding constitutional posts. The BLA argued that the respondents’ comments “have shaken the public faith in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the Constitution” and sought for their disqualification from holding constitutional posts.
The BLA’s plea said, “The Vice President and the law minister are attacking the collegium system as well as the doctrine of basic structure openly in a public platform. This kind of unbecoming behaviour by respondents who are holding constitutional posts is lowering the majesty of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the public at large.”
The Bombay High Court held, “The constitutional authorities cannot be removed in the manner as suggested by the Petitioner. Fair criticism of the judgment is permissible.” Furthermore, it added that it is every citizen’s fundamental duty to abide by the Constitution of India and that the majesty of the law must be respected.
The Bombay High Court said, “The PIL is a power given to the public by the Courts through judicial activism. It is a litigation filed in the Court of law for protection of public interest. The PIL can be used for redressal of a genuine public wrong or public injury and it cannot be publicity-oriented.” It dismissed the BLA’s PIL and held, “we do not find it a fit case to invoke our writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in entertaining the PIL.”