Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday flagged his concerns over "judicial overreach" referring to the recent Supreme Court judgement on Diwali fireworks and some other judicial pronouncements including on the Collegium issue and the ban on plying of more than 10-year-old diesel vehicles and more than 15- year-old petrol vehicles.
Speaking at the 80th All India Presiding Officers' Conference on "Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary - Key to Vibrant Democracy" in Kevadia in Gujarat, Naidu said "there have been quite a few judicial pronouncements that gave a distinct impression of an overreach. These actions have resulted in an avoidable blurring of the contours demarcated by the Constitution.”
Higher judiciary deciding on Diwali fireworks, banning of use vehicles of certain make after 10 or 15 years, monitoring police investigations, denying the executive any role in the appointment of judges through collegiums, invalidating the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act seeking to enforce accountability and transparency etc were some instances, he referred to being perceived as instances of judicial overreach.
Naidu hailed the role of the Supreme Court and the high courts in having delivered several far-reaching verdicts since independence in furtherance of socio-economic objectives, besides making correctional interventions but flagged that occasionally, concerns have been raised as to whether they were entering the domains of the legislative and executive wings.
"There have been debates as to whether some issues should have been more legitimately left to the other organs of the government," he said.
Quoting some observations of the Supreme Court concerning it’s domain and powers, Naidu stressed that even the principle of ‘first among equals’ does not apply to the apex court and only the Constitution is supreme.
“We consider our State to be in its best state when each of the three organs of the State perform to the best of its potential in the domains specified for each of them, in pursuit of the mandate defined and in the manner prescribed in the Constitution. It is not desirable for the judiciary to be perceived as acting as super executive or super legislature," the Vice President said.
Naidu also referred to instances of other two organs - Legislature and the Executive crossing the ‘lakshman rekha’ in different degrees by encroaching into the domain of others in violation of the checks and balances provided in the Constitution, as he underlined the importance of the harmonious working of all the three organs.
He said the legislature, the executive and the judiciary are bound to work within their respective domains as defined in the Constitution.
Naidu expressed concern over the functioning of the legislatures. Calling the Presiding Officers as the ‘high priests of temples of democracy’, the Rajya Sabha Chairman urged them to ensure the sanctity of these temples.
Talking about the public opinion turning against the law making bodies and the legislators over the year, Naidu said frequent disruptions, conduct of legislators both within and outside the chambers of the Houses, rising number of lawmakers with criminal background, rising money power in elections, flaunting of power by legislators are some of the reasons for this negative perception.
"Decency, Decorum and Dignity of the temples of democracy will be upheld only through adherence to the other three Ds namely, Debate, Discuss and Decide," Naidh, who has a penchant for alliterations, said.