SC refuses to entertain plea of lawyers’ body for action against VP, Rijiju

NEW DELHI, May 15:
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea challenging the Bombay High Court order which had dismissed a petition against Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju over their remarks on the judiciary and the collegium system for appointment of judges.
The plea came up for hearing before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A Amanullah.
“What is this? You are for the petitioner? Why have you come here? Just to complete a circle of coming to the higher court?,” the bench observed.
“We believe that the high court view is correct. If any authority has made an inappropriate statement, the observations that the Supreme Court is broad enough to deal with the same is the correct view,” the bench said.
The Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA) had approached the apex court challenging the high court’s February 9 order dismissing its plea on grounds that it was not a fit case to invoke the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The BLA had claimed that Rijiju and Dhankhar showed lack of faith in the Constitution with their remarks and conduct.
It had sought orders to restrain Dhankhar from discharging duty as the vice president, and Rijiju as the cabinet minister for the central government.
In an appeal, the lawyers body had said the “frontal attack not just on the judiciary but the Constitution’ by the two executive officials has lowered the prestige of the Supreme Court in public.
Rijiju had said the collegium system of appointing judges was “opaque and not transparent”.
Vice President Dhankhar had questioned the landmark 1973 Kesavananda Bharati judgement that gave the basic structure doctrine.
Dhankhar had said the verdict set a bad precedent and, if any authority questions Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, it would be difficult to say “we are a democratic nation”.
“It is submitted that the petitioner herein filed the PIL before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay praying therein to declare the respondent no 1 and 2 as disqualified candidates to hold any constitutional posts of Vice President and Minister of the Union Cabinet, respectively, based on their behaviour, conduct and utterances made in public,” the petition had said.
The two constitutional functionaries, it had submitted, showed “lack of faith” in the Constitution by their conduct and utterances made in public and by attacking its institutions, including the Supreme Court, and showing scant regard for the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
“The conduct of respondent Nos 1 and 2 appeared to have shaken public faith in the Supreme Court and the Constitution,” it had submitted.
The plea had said the vice president and the Union minister have affirmed oaths that they will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
“However, their conduct has shown ‘lack of faith’ in the Constitution of India,” it had said assailing the high court’s order dismissing its PIL.
The BLA had quoted the statements of the dignitaries made at certain functions.
The high court had on February 9 dismissed the public interest litigation (PIL) saying, “We are not inclined to grant any relief. The petition is dismissed. Reasons would be recorded later.” (PTI)