The central government led by Narendra Modi on Saturday launched an all-out attack against the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur.
This was after the CJI once again lambasted the Modi government for the severe shortages of judges in various courts around the country.
Justice TS Thakur also cautioned that no organs of government should cross the “lakshman rekha” and stressed judiciary had been given the duty to watch that all remain within its limit.
Speaking at a function in the Supreme Court lawns to celebrate Constitution Day, earlier known as Law Day, he said judiciary had every right to set aside any law made by Parliament, if it is against the Constitution or beyond the limits granted by the statute book.
“The Constitution tells us that what would be the works to be done by the government. It has fixed the duties and responsibilities for judiciary, executive and legislature. It has fixed their limits and ‘lakshman rekha’.
Reacting to Justice Thakur’s statement, the central government’s chief legal counsel, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, said, “All including judiciary must recognise there is ‘lakshman rekha’ and be ready for introspection. Self-restraint is important.”
Everyone including the judiciary must remain in 'Lakshman Rekha': AG Mukul Rohatgi on CJI TS Thakur's statement on judges appointments
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 26, 2016
Rohatgi’s offensive against the CJI did not go down well with the Supreme Court judge JS Khehar, who said that the judiciary had always kept to ‘lakshaman rekha’ by upholding Constitution’s ethos.
Justice Khehar is in line to succeed Justice TS Thakur as the next Chief Justice of India.
Rohatgi’s diatribe against Justice Thakur did not come in isolation. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Saturday that the Supreme Court ‘failed us’ during the Emergency in 1975 even as ‘all High Courts of India showed great courage and entertained writ petition questioning illegal detention.’
He said, “Courts must quash orders of the government but governance must remain with those elected to govern.”
Not so long ago, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too had used ‘tyranny of the unelected’ when the Supreme Court, by a majority opinion, struck down the 99th Constitution Amendment, which provided for the establishment of the National Judicial Commission to appoint judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court.