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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

‘Power of people was undone, world doesn’t know of any such instance’: Vice Prez on NJAC rejection by SC

In what appeared to be an indirect reference to the rejection of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) by the apex court, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar said on Friday that the power of the people came to be reflected through most sanctified mechanism on a legitimate platform through applicable mechanism and that power was undone, suggesting to “find a parallel in the world, where a constitutional provision can be undone”.

The Vice President made the remarks while sharing dais with the Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.

Dhankhar said the doctrine of separation of powers is fundamental to “our governance”.

“The harmonious working of these institutions is vital for the growth of democracy. Any incursion, howsoever subtle, in the domain of one by another has the capacity to unsettle the apple cart of governance,” he said.

Dhankhar, who was the chief guest at the event, was speaking at 8th Dr L.M. Singhvi Memorial Lecture hosted by the OP Jindal Global University (JGU) on the theme ‘Universal Adult Franchise: Translating India’s Political Transformation into a Social Transformation’.

“We the People”, that means power resides in the people, their mandate; their wisdom, he said.

“Imagine a situation, when the Indian Parliament reflected the mindset of the people. Indian Parliament in 2015-16, was dealing with a constitutional amendment Act, and as a matter of record the entire Lok Sabha voted unanimously. There was no abstention in Lok Sabha. There was no dissention, and that amendment Act was passed. In Rajya Sabha, it was unanimous, there was one abstention”, he said.

He further said: “We the people — their ordainment was converted into a constitutional provision. The power of the people came to be reflected through the most sanctified mechanism on a legitimate platform through applicable mechanism. That power was undone. The world does not know of any such instance.”

“I appeal to the people here, they constitute judicial, elite class, thinking minds, intellectuals, please find a parallel in the world, where a constitutional provision can be undone,” he added.

“I am appealing to everyone that these are the issues that must not be viewed on partisan lines. I expect everyone to rise to the occasion and to be part of the growth story that is India at the moment. We have a platform, where all issues can be debated… I am startled after this verdict there was no whisper in the Parliament, it was taken as such. This is too serious an issue,” he said.

Dhankhar said the judiciary is one of the critical institutions of governance along with the executive and legislature.

“We are proud of our judiciary, it has contributed hugely to the growth of promoting the rights of the people. Innovative mechanism was taken recourse to in 80s, where a postcard can galvanize a judicial action,” he said.

“We have a Parliament that is far more representative at the moment. I have an appeal that as a true citizen of this country, generate a public opinion that political stance should be distanced from sublimity of our constitutional functioning. It is never too late,” he added.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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