Stressing on the supremacy of Parliament in the realm of law-making, the government said that separation of powers is as binding on the judiciary as it is on other pillars of democracy. Union Law minister Ravishankar Prasad said in Lok Sabha even as members claimed the Supreme Court was getting into the domain of law-making through some of its verdicts, especially the decision nullifying NJAC Act.
Speaking on the issues pertaining to the judiciary, Prasad also acknowledged that suggestion of live telecast of court proceedings is worth considering, though he underlined “logistical problems” involved.
Raising the issue of pending cases and vacancies in courts, BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal remarked that the Supreme Court was getting into law-making through its verdicts on issues ranging from cricket management to medical entrance tests.
While the Law minister refused to offer any comment on the apex court orders on BCCI matter or, NEET entrance examination, he pointed out that in the Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala judgement, the top court had clearly laid out separation of powers between the three organs of democracy.
The legislature will formulate law, the executive will execute it and the judiciary will interpret the law, he said, adding “If it is binding on all, sorry to say, it is equally binding on the judiciary,”
To a question on live telecast of court proceedings, Prasad said online transmission will create a “psychological pressure” but there were also “logistical problems” involved.
Agreeing that the suggestion was worth considering, Prasad said, while live telecast of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings was easy as there were only two Houses, it was difficult to do so in several thousand court rooms.
Responding to a question on pendency (of cases) committees in high courts, the Minister said the government does not interfere in their functioning. But he would inform the judiciary of the concerns expressed by members of the Lower House on rising number of cases across Indian courts.
Citing figures, he said, while over 62,000 cases are pending in the apex court, 4.12 lakh are pending in the 24 high courts as on September 30, 2016. Similarly, 2.85 crore cases are pending in lower courts.
Referring to the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, he said Parliament had passed the law (to scrap the collegium system of judges appointing judges). But the apex court overturned it and the government accepted the verdict though with certain reservations.
Going by the judgement, while the PM can be trusted with the nuclear button, plays a key role in appointment of the President, the Vice President, the Chief Election Commissioner and the CVC, (he) cannot be trusted with appointing excellent people as judges, the Minister said.
Referring to the Supreme Court order on ushering in more transparency in judicial appointments and the subsequent efforts to rewrite the document — the memorandum of procedure — which guide these appointment, he said for one year, the government could not do much as it was pending with the collegium.
Now, since the MoP has been returned (by the Supreme Court), the government will take a call on the issue, Prasad said.
(With inputs from the PTI)