Attorney General for India KK Venugopal in his address in a webinar organized in memory of Former Kerala Advocate General M.K Damodaran said that after a period of 1967, there was a confrontation between Judiciary and Parliament but today the judiciary is strong and is not concerned with what the government thought or felt.
"After 1967, there was a period of confrontation between the judiciary & the Parliament. However, we also had the emergency which was imposed in 1976 which was an attack on the Supreme Court. Now it's a part of history that an emergency was declared and the judiciary was in a state of what has happened, however today we have a very strong judiciary that is not concerned with not what the government thinks or feels. It acts on its own judgments which include areas that are prohibited. It also says to the Law Officers that this is not correct and that suggests the law that Parliament should pass and not pass. Clearly, impeding the powers of the Legislature," said Attorney General for India KK Venugopal.
The AG also hinted at a possible confrontation between judiciary and the Parliament over the recently enacted Tribunals Reforms Act. The AG said that the term and minimum age qualification of Tribunal members were a matter of policy, which cannot be interfered with by the judiciary.
Narrating the several instances of back and forth between the Supreme Court and Parliament over Tribunals Reforms, as happened in cases of Rojer Mathew and Madras Bar Association, the AG said.
"Now this means that at a certain stage even Parliament wonders, are we not having any powers if the judiciary is interfering to this extent? It is a matter of policy, whether four years or five years. The policy cannot be interfered with. Similarly 50 years", the AG said. These comments assume relevance in the backdrop of the Supreme Court asking the Union Government yesterday why the Tribunals Reforms Bill was introduced with the same provisions struck down by the Madras Bar Association judgment. A bench led by the Chief Justice of India had asked the Solicitor General to provide the reasons stated the Ministry in moving the Bill.
The AG said at the webinar "it would be worth waiting and watching" if there will be a fresh round of tussle over the Tribunals Bill.
With a mild chuckle, the AG said :
"Therefore, there would be a confrontation perhaps, but I hope not, as I started by saying that they both exercise powers conferred to them by the Constitution. Therefore, it would be worth waiting & watching."
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