Judiciary cannot perform executive functions: Jaitley

SansadTV Bureau

Parliament-House-Gandhi-statueUnion Finance minister Arun Jaitley has once again emphasised on an invisible line between the responsibilities of judiciary and the executive. Underlining the independence of these two pillars be strictly maintained, Arun Jaitley on Thursday said courts cannot perform the functions of executive.

Speaking at an event organised by New Delhi-based news and current affairs TV network, he further said if executive fails to perform its function, courts can direct it to do so but it cannot take over the executive function.

“The Parliamentary function has to be performed by Parliament, nobody else can pass or approve a Budget. The executive function has to be performed by the executives. Courts cannot perform an executive function. It can direct the executive to perform its function, if it is not acting,” he said.

The senior cabinet minister who also doubles up as the leader of the upper house of Parliament stated that an argument ‘judiciary steps in when executive does not act’ is a “questionable proposition”.

“Let’s look at the argument the other way. If the judiciary fails to act and somebody in the executive then says that judiciary is not acting, the arrears of cases are mounting up, we will have an alternate mechanism. The answer is no. Therefore these are strict compartments whose independence has to be maintained,” Arun Jaitley said.

He, however, at the same time, emphasised on the independence of judiciary saying “Independence of judiciary is certainly required and must be maintained at all cost… judiciary unquestionably has the power of judicial review. I don’t think anybody has power to dispute that. It is essential for democracy”.

Jaitley’s comments came close on the heels of Chief Justice of India TS Thakur asserting that judiciary intervened only when the executive failed in its constitutional duties.

“The government should do its job instead of hurling accusations and that the people turn to the courts only after they are let down by the executive,” CJI Thakur had said early last month.

The Minister said the executive and judiciary were two “strict compartments” whose independence has to be maintained.

(With inputs from the PTI)