Thursday, 18 January 2018

Parliamentary panel may take up judges’ issue

Parliamentary panel may take up judges’ issue

Opposition wants House committee on law to raise the matter

Parliament could intervene on the “administrative issues” in the Supreme Court that led to four senior-most judges of the apex court speaking to the media against the Chief Justice of India.
If the Opposition has its way, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice will prepare a report on the issues that led to the judges talking to the media and their statement that “democracy is in danger”, and submit it to the House .

A meeting of the panel, which is headed by BJP MP Bhupender Yadav, is scheduled for Monday. Though the agenda for meeting is ‘electoral reforms’, the Opposition members want the panel to take up the issues raised by the judges immediately as, according to them, the top judiciary is in crisis.
Several Opposition MPs in the 30-member committee told BusinessLine that theirs is the appropriate panel to take up the issue.

Parliament is supreme. If four senior judges are saying that democracy is in crisis, we cannot stay silent. We will raise the issue in the panel,” a senior MP said. He added that the panel has a sub committee to look at the issues that have to be taken up. “As of now, our plate is full. But the sub-committee and the members can always suggest other issues. It is up to the chairman to decide whether the matter can be studied further. This issue is most important as the step taken by the judges was unprecedented,” the member said.

Another member said he would suggest that the panel summon the Registrar of the Supreme Court to know the exact issue behind the fury of the judges. “We may not be able to summon the judges. But we can always get the view of the Registrar. If the matter is regarding the day-to-day functioning of the Supreme Court, the committee can ask Parliament to frame a set of rules for the apex court. What are the powers of the Chief Justice, what are the powers of the collegium, what are the powers of the senior judges on administrative metters…Let the House help the Supreme Court address such issues if the judges do not have any clarity on it,” the member added.

He added that the Opposition members will have discussions among themselves ahead of the meeting. The Opposition, excluding TRS and AIADMK, has 15 members in the 30-member panel. Top legal minds such as Majeed Memon, Vivek Tankha, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Kalyan Banerjee and A Sampath are members of the panel.

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