From left to right, from treasury benches to the Opposition, political parties in Rajya Sabha on Thursday joined ranks to slam the judiciary for what they called "judicial overreach" and lack of transparency in its functioning and the appointment of judges.
The judiciary found itself at the receiving end during a six-hour spirited debate on bringing in a Constitutional amendment to set up a Judicial Appointments' Commission.
After law minister Kapil Sibal's opening remarks on the need for the bill, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley pointed out the lacunae in the existing system: "A threshold limit is required for any government job. There is no threshold for you to become a judge except the number of years that you have practiced."
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla mounted a frontal attack on the judiciary, raising serious questions about the efficacy of the system in delivering justice.
He said, "70% of the judges are doing great work, but getting a bad name due to the remaining 30%." He slammed the judiciary for its failure to provide justice to the needy and poor. Bitter rivals in Uttar Pradesh politics — SP and BSP --- made raised similar points to attack the judicial system.
BSP leader Satish Mishra said weaker sections were not getting appropriate representation in the top judiciary, a point strongly supported by SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
The lone dissenting voice in the House was that of suspended BJP MP and noted jurist Ram Jethmakani, who termed the bill as unconstitutional.
"I am sitting in the departure lounge of my life for the divine flight. I am happy that it has been delayed so that I could oppose this wrong move," the 90-year-old MP said.
Concern over terror
Led by BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, many members shared concern over increasing "terrorists activities," aided by neighbours. "The recent arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal resulted in shocking revelations that they were responsible for many terrorist activities," Naidu said.
He said whenever a terrorists are arrested, some people rush to their rescue.