Law-makers on Monday made a strong case for accountability of judges and demanded a new law in place of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act which was struck down by the Supreme Court two months ago.
Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha MPs also said a “strong message” should be conveyed to the judiciary for “infringing on the jurisdiction of Parliament”.
In October, the apex court had overturned a law giving the government a say in the appointment of Supreme Court and high court judges and restored the 22-year-old collegium system, which critics say is too opaque and vulnerable to favouritism.
Speaking during a discussion on the judges salary and conditions of service bill, AIADMK’s K Kamraj, BJP’s PP Chaudhary and TDP’s P Ravindra Babu demanded a new bill, saying that such a legislation should also have provisions for state judicial appointments commission.
A Sampath of the CPI-M said the judiciary in India was following the principle of “I am the judge, I am the jury and I am the executioner”.
Congress law-maker MI Shanavas said Parliament had shown unity in passing the NJAC Act, the state assemblies also passed it, but still it was dismissed by the judiciary.
“(The) MPs represent the people of India. People can punish us, but there is nobody to rectify the judiciary,” he said.
In the Rajya Sabha, the government received a setback when the Opposition made a strong pitch for referring a key whistle-blowers bill to a select committee while opposing the proposed changes in it.
As the House took up the prevention of corruption (amendment) bill for discussion, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal questioned some of its clauses and raised questions about the relevance of the bill.
Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry pointed out that eight-nine MPs of the Upper House have already moved a petition seeking its referral to a select committee.
Junior minister for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said further discussion on the bill can take place after the select committee gives its report.
The House, however, was able to pass the Negotiable Instruments Act amendment bill to replace an ordinance.