Presiding officers' conference: VP Naidu flags 'judicial overreach'; President says indiscipline by lawmakers in House hurts people

Jatin Takkar
·3-min read

Kevadia(Gujarat), Nov 25 (PTI) Voicing concern over courts entering the domains of legislature and executive, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said some pronouncements like the Diwali firecracker ban give a distinct impression of judicial overreach.

These actions have resulted in an avoidable blurring of the contours demarcated by the Constitution, he said while addressing the 80th All India Presiding Officers' Conference.

Speaking in the same vein, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla underlined the need for harmonious coordination among the legislature, executive and the judiciary.

Both Birla and Naidu made these remarks at the confernce which was inaugurated by President Ramnath Kovind in his first public event in the last eight months after the COVID-19 outbreak.

In his address, Kovind stressed that elected representatives should engage in a healthy dialogue in Parliament and legislative Assemblies and refrain from using unparliamentary language during debates in the House.

Naidu, who was speaking at the inaugural session on 'Harmonious coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary - Key to vibrant democracy', asserted that harmony lies in each organ doing its job, without interfering with that of others.

This warrants a spirit of mutual respect, responsibility and restraint. Unfortunately, there have been several instances of crossing the boundaries, he said.

He stressed that the legislature, the executive and the judiciary are bound to work within their respective domains as defined in the Constitution.

'Since independence, the Supreme Court and the high courts have delivered several far-reaching verdicts in furtherance of socio-economic objectives, besides making correctional interventions.

'But occasionally, concerns have been raised as to whether they were entering the domains of the legislative and executive wings,' he said Naidu said, 'There have been debates as to whether some issues should have been more legitimately left to the other organs of the government.' The higher judiciary deciding on Diwali fireworks, denying the executive any role in the appointment of judges through collegiums, invalidating the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act that sought to enforce accountability and transparency were some of the instances of judicial overreach cited by the vice president.

'There have been quite a few judicial pronouncements that gave a distinct impression of an overreach. These actions have resulted in an avoidable blurring of the contours demarcated by the Constitution,' Naidu said.

'At times, the legislature too has tended to cross the line. The 39th Constitution amendment placing the election of president, vice president and prime minister beyond the scope of judicial scrutiny in the circumstances in 1975 is one such instance,' he said.

Underlining that harmonious coordination among the legislature, executive and the judiciary is of “utmost importance,” Birla said all the three are dedicated to public welfare.

“In a democracy, there can be a difference of opinion among institutions. But with improvement in procedures, constitutional provisions and democratic norms, solutions can be found,” he said.

President Kovind, in his speech, raised the issue of conduct by lawmakers in the House.

'It is expected from elected representatives that they remain committed to democratic values. The biggest challenge for elected representatives and democratic institutions is to fulfill the expectations of people,' he said.

'I believe that people of this country expect that their elected representatives to follow parliamentary norms.

'People get hurt when their elected representatives use unparliamentary words or indulge in indiscipline in Parliament or in the Assembly,' Kovind said.

He also asked the Speakers to facilitate a healthy dialogue in the House to keep away unnecessary bitterness in discussions.

In a parliamentary democracy, the Opposition has an important role along with the ruling party, and so there is a need for understanding, cooperation, and meaningful exchange of thoughts between the two.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chawdhary and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi were also present at the function. PTI JTR PJT PD RT RT