On January 11, Vice President Jagdeep Dahankar stated that Parliamentary sovereignty can not be compromised or diluted by the Executive or Judiciary. Public posturing and “one-upmanship”, which is often being witnessed in this case, is not “wholesome”.
“In a democratic society the ‘basic’ of any basic structure must be the supremacy and sovereignty of the people. “The primacy and sovereignty, of Parliament and legislature, is inviolable,” Mr. Dhankar stated at the 83 All India Presiding Officers Conference here.
“Can the power to amend the Constitution by the Parliament be dependent upon any other institution?” He asked if any institution or organisation could say that it needed his stamp.
The Vice President cited National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and stated that there was total unanimity in Lok Sabha during the passage of the Constitutional Amendment Bill. There was not one dissenting voice. Rajya Sabha was unanimous, but there was only one abstention.
“But, on October 16, 2015, the highest Court of the Land in a 4-1 majority verdict, ruled both the 99th Constitution Amendment Act (2014) and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (2014), unconstitutional on grounds of violating the basic structure.”
“This isn’t a challenge to our judiciary, but it has never happened elsewhere in the world.” He asked, “How can Parliament’s sovereignty ever be compromised?”
Similar remarks were made by Mr Dhankar on the NJAC Bill in his inaugural address to the Rajya Sabha, December 7. He stated that there was “no parallel to such an event in democratic history when a constitutional prescription has been judicially undone”.
On Wednesday, Mr Dhankar, at the AIPOC, stated that it was 1973 in the Kesavananda Bharati Case that the Supreme Court created the first right for courts to reject constitutional amendments that were against the “Basic Structure”, the fundamental architecture, of the Constitution.
He said, “I don’t subscribe to this with due regard to the judiciary.”
“The highest court rendered significant rulings in subsequent years on matters that were pivotal to the ‘Basic Structure’, and thus compromised parliamentary sovereignty. “
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said that it was important to remember that the Constitution did not envisage a third and superior chamber for the approval of the legislations passed in the two Houses.