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‘Respect the Laxman Rekha…’: Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar criticises SC for scrapping NJAC Bill

Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar's statement may add fuel to fire as the judiciary and the government are already at loggerheads over several issues.

Raju Kumar Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: December 07, 2022 23:57 IST
It was the first of Dhankar in Jaya Sabha as chairperson of
Image Source : SCREENGRAB FROM VIDEO It was the first of Dhankar in Jaya Sabha as chairperson of the upper house.

In his maiden speech in the Parliament on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar took on the judiciary for scrapping the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) bill. Slamming the judiciary, he termed the move as an instance of "severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty".

Asserting that the NJAC bill had "unprecedented" support of Parliament and members "unanimously" voted in its favour, he said the government's three organs should respect the "Laxman Rekha".

The said there is "no parallel to such a development in democratic history where a duly legitimised constitutional prescription has been judicially undone".

Democracy blossoms and flourishes when its three facets -- the legislature, the judiciary and the executive -- scrupulously adhere to their respective domains, Dhankhar said, adding that the doctrine of separation of powers must be respected.

He said that "any incursion by one institution, in the domain of the other, has the potential to upset the governance apple cart".

Referring to the 99th Constitutional amendment Bill that entailed the formation of the NJAC, he said the "historic" parliamentary mandate on it was "undone by the Supreme Court on October 16, 2015 by a majority of 4:1 finding the same as not being in consonance with the judicially evolved doctrine of 'Basic Structure' of the Constitution".

Dhankhar's remarks also come in the backdrop of recent run-ins between the government and the judiciary over appointment of judges.

"We are indeed faced with this grim reality of frequent incursions. This House is eminently positioned to take affirmative steps to bring about  congeniality amongst these wings of governance. I am sure you all will reflect and engage in way forward stance," the vice president said.

It is institutional seamless connect marked with mutual trust and respect that generates an ecosystem best suited for serving the nation, Dhankhar stressed.

"This House needs to catalyse this wholesome environment to promote synergic functioning of constitutional institutions, emphasising need to respect Laxman Rekha," he said.

"On August 13, 2014, Lok Sabha unanimously voted in its favour with there being no abstention. This House too, passed it unanimously on August 14, 2014, with one abstention. Rarely in parliamentary democracy, there has been such massive support to a Constitutional legislation," Dhankhar said.

Talking about the Supreme Court's order, the vice president said this was a "glaring instance of severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty and disregard of the mandate of the people of which this House and the Lok Sabha are custodians".

Dhankhar also noted that it is disconcerting that on "such a momentous issue, so vital to democratic fabric, there has been no focus in Parliament, now for over seven years".

"This House, in concert with the Lok Sabha, being custodian of the ordainment of the people, is duty bound to address the issue, and I am sure it will do so," he said.

The vice president called for all constitutional institutions "to reflect and give quietus to public display of adversarially challenging stance, trading or exchange of advisories emanating from these platforms".

He also urged the members of the House to "proactively catalyse evolution of wholesome cordial ecosystem ending this aberration".

Dhankar also reminded the members of their responsibility in the smooth functioning of the House, saying obstruction and disruption of proceedings as parliamentary practice or option are antithetical to democratic values.

"Contemporaneous scenario on this count is concerning and makes it imperative for us to follow the high standards set in the Constituent Assembly. We need to be cognizant of severe public discomfort and disillusionment at lack of decorum in the temple of democracy," he said.

(With PTI input)

Also Read: Parliament Winter Session: PM Modi welcomes VP Dhankar as Rajya Sabha chairman, calls him 'Kisan Putra'


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