Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that inaction of the judiciary always favours those in power, reported The Indian Express.
“By its continued inaction, the court has not only allowed the government’s sins against citizens to go unpunished, but led some critics to ask whether the Supreme Court should also be considered an accomplice to the violation of rights granted by the Constitution,” Tharoor said in the Lok Sabha.
Tharoor made the comments as he initiated a debate on the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to bring clarity on the date of eligibility of a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge to receive additional quantum of pension.
During the discussion, Tharoor said the independence of the Supreme Court has come under scrutiny for years. He said that the first problem was the government’s influence in appointments and transfers of judges.
“A number of judges were transferred inexplicably, even when their retirements were only months away,” he said. “At least two of these judges include those who had earlier ruled unfavourably for the government in the Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin cases.”
In the Lok Sabha, Tharoor referred to the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, in Ayodhya and said the the act of vandalism was legitimised by the court, reported The Tribune.
“There has been a clear failure on the part of the judiciary to stem the tide of militant majoritarianism,” he said.
In November 2019, the Supreme Court had awarded the disputed site on which the Babri Masjid was demolished by a Hindutva mob in 1992 to the Hindus. The verdict paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The court had also ordered the government to acquire an alternative plot of land on which a mosque could be built.
Tharoor also questioned the court giving clean chit to the government in the alleged Rafale jet scam. “The clean chit was given on the basis of famous sealed covers containing evidence exchanged between the CJI [chief justice of India] and government alone.”
Tharoor also pointed to the appointment of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha.
Objecting to Tharoor’s remarks, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the statements were not related to the Bill.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “Sir, referring to a particular case. What is this? Are we going to refer to particular cases and talk about their judgements?”
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called for a mechanism to ensure accountability for corruption in the judiciary, reported The Hindu.
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee referred to the transfer of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee from the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court by the Collegium and said that the decision was tantamount to “wasting a property of the nation”.
Biju Janata Dal’s Pinaki Misra said the Bill seeks to nullify verdicts of two High Courts that have been upheld by the Supreme Court. He urged the government to reconsider the move, saying it should not be “churlish”.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP PP Choudhury urged the government to “revisit” the Collegium system to appoint members of the higher judiciary.