Jaipur: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday questioned the historic judgment in the Kesavanand Bharti case, which laid down the ‘principle of the basic structure of the Constitution’ in the country. Raising questions on this historic decision, Rajya Sabha Chairman Dhankhar said that the judiciary cannot compromise with the sovereignty of the Parliament (Judiciary vs Legislative). The Vice President said, ‘If any institution invalidates the law made by the Parliament on any ground, then it will not be good for democracy. Rather it would be difficult to say whether we are a democratic country. At the same time, on the repeal of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act by the Supreme Court in 2015, he said that ‘this has not happened anywhere in the world’.
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He said that parliamentary sovereignty and autonomy are paramount for the survival of democracy and the executive or the judiciary cannot be allowed to compromise on it. Jagdeep Dhankhar was addressing the inaugural session of the All India Presiding Officers Conference in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. Talking about constitutional institutions working within their limits, the Vice President said, ‘Can Parliament’s right to amend the Constitution depend on any other institution. Is there any new institution in the constitution which will say that the law made by the Parliament will be a law only if we put our stamp on it.’
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He said, ‘A very wrong tradition took place in 1973. In the year 1973, in the case of Kesavanand Bharti, the Supreme Court laid down the idea of basic structure that the Parliament can amend the constitution but not the basic structure. With all due respect to the judiciary, I would like to say that I cannot accept this. If any institution invalidates the law made by the Parliament on any ground, then it will not be good for democracy. Rather it would be difficult to say whether we are a democratic country. The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act was passed in 2015. Such a law has been repealed by the Supreme Court… This has not happened anywhere in the world.
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Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar said, ‘The executive has been appointed to comply with the constitutional prescription emanating from the Parliament. It is bound to follow the NJAC. Judicial decisions cannot nullify it. Parliamentary sovereignty cannot be allowed to be undermined by the executive or the judiciary. His statement comes amid an ongoing debate on the issue of appointments to higher posts in the judiciary, with the government questioning the current collegium system and the Supreme Court defending it. Dhankhar said that no institution can use power or authority to neutralize the mandate of the people. He told the presiding officers in the conference that it is the responsibility of the Parliament and the legislatures to protect the sovereignty of the people.
Tags: Jagdeep Dhankhar, supreme court
FIRST PUBLISHED : January 12, 2023, 15:00 IST