Supreme Court Invalidated NJAC Disregarding People's Mandate : Vice President In Maiden Rajya Sabha Speech

Rahul Garg

7 Dec 2022 2:57 PM GMT

  • Supreme Court Invalidated NJAC Disregarding Peoples Mandate : Vice President In Maiden Rajya Sabha Speech

    In his very first address as the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar made critical comments about the Supreme Court's judgment which overturned the Constitutional Amendment passed to bring in the National Judicial Appointments Commission.The Vice President said that the Supreme Court's judgment was "a glaring instance of severe compromise of...

    In his very first address as the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar made critical comments about the Supreme Court's judgment which overturned the Constitutional Amendment passed to bring in the National Judicial Appointments Commission.

    The Vice President said that the Supreme Court's judgment was "a glaring instance of severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty and disregard of the mandate of the people of which the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha are custodians."

    The Vice President, on the opening day of the winter session, remarked that, "democracy blossoms and flourishes when its three facets ā€“ the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive scrupulously adhere to their respective domains."

    The Vice President added that, "any incursion by one, howsoever subtle, in the domain of other, has the potential to upset the governance apple cart."

    "The Parliament in a much needed historic step passed the 99th Constitutional Amendment Bill giving way for the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). There was unprecedented support to the above. On August 13, 2014, the 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," said the Vice President in his maiden speech.

    Shri Dhankhar observed this to have been a "culmination of a basic, fundamental, parliamentary process," as it had fructified into a Constitutional prescription, after 16 State Assemblies out of 29 States ratified the Central Legislation, subsequent to which, the President of India in terms of Article 111 had accorded his consent on December 31, 2014.

    However, "this historic parliamentary mandate 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."

    Saying that there is no parallel to such a development in democratic history where a duly legitimised constitutional prescription had been judicially undone, the Vice President termed the Supreme Court's decision "a glaring instance of severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty and disregard of the mandate of the people of which the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha are custodians."

    The Vice President added that, "in democratic governance, 'basic' of any 'Basic Structure' is the prevalence of the primacy of the mandate of the people reflected in the parliament" and that "Parliament is the exclusive and ultimate determinative of the architecture of the Constitution."


    The Vice President has expressed similar views earlier too. While addressing a public event on December 2, the Vice President had critically commented about the Supreme Court's NJAC verdict saying that it resulted in undoing the power of the people.

    These comments are in line with the repeated statements made by the Union Law Minister against the collegium system. However, the Law Minister's comments have not gone down well with the Supreme Court.  While hearing a contempt petition against the Centre for not approving the names recommended by the Collegium, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, one of the senior most puisne members of the top court and a part of the collegium, remonstrated against the Law Minister's remarks. Justice Kaul told the Attorney-General for India, R. Venkataramani, "Many people may have reservations about the law. But till it stands, it is the law of the land. I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough. It should not have happened."


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