Union Finance Minister Aru Jaitley has once again attacked the judiciary warning it to be mindful of what he said was its ‘lakshmanrekha.’
This is the second time Jaitley has taken on the judiciary after his famous criticism through a ‘tyranny of unelected’ blog last year.
Expressing concerns over judicial ‘overreach,’ Jaitley today on Monday said that the judiciary must draw its own “Lakshmanrekha” and not take decisions, which fall in the domain of the executive.
His decision has come after Uttarakhand High Court and Supreme Court slammed the central government for dismissing the elected government of Harish Rawat earlier this month.
Answering questions during an interaction at Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), Jaitley said that activism had to be blended with restraint and there could not be a compromise with other aspects of the basic structure in the name of independence of the judiciary.
“Judicial review is legitimate domain of judiciary but then the Lakshmanrekha has to be drawn by all the institutions themselves. Lakshmanrekha is very vital,” the Finance Minister was quoted by PTI, adding that “the executive decisions are to be taken by the executive and not the judiciary”.
Jaitley reasoned that there were different kinds of recourse and “layers of accountability” available when the executive takes decisions.
“Courts cannot substitute the executive and say I will exercise the executive power. If you do so the three options will not be available, which are there when the executive takes executive decisions,” the Finance Minister said.
Jaitley also said that excessive publicity had become a tool of “political bribery” and underlined the need for tackling the “big menance” of paid news.
Suggesting a link between excessive advertisements and paid news, he said paid news cannot get protection meant for the free press.
“Therefore we need to find out a way to check it…We are now reaching a phase when excessive advertisement is acquiring the proportion of political bribery,” he said, wondering should large-scale advertisement with the intention of affecting the quality of reportage be allowed.
“First time the country is confronted with this. We need to see whether excessive advertisements become political bribery,” Jaitley said as he called for a need to discuss how to deal with paid news, which has become a “big menace”.