Formally assuming charge as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, on Wednesday, questioned the Supreme Court ruling striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act (NJAC) in 2015, saying there was no parallel to such a development in democratic history where a duly legitimised constitutional prescription was judicially undone.
This, he said, was a glaring instance of severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty and disregard of the mandate of the people of which the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha were custodians.
In his maiden speech on the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament, Dhankhar underlined the need to bear in mind that in a democratic governance Parliament was the exclusive and ultimate determinative of the architecture of the Constitution.
”It is disconcerting to note that on such a momentous issue, so vital to the democratic fabric, there has been no focus in Parliament, now for over seven years. This House, in concert with the Lok Sabha, being the custodian of the ordainment of the people, is duty-bound to address the issue,” the new Chairman of the House of Elders said.
He also reminded members of the Upper House to be cognizant of ”severe public discomfort and disillusionment” at the lack of decorum in the temple of democracy.
”Obstruction and Disruption of proceedings as parliamentary practice or option are antithetical to democratic values. The contemporaneous scenario on this count is concerning and makes it imperative for us to follow the high standards set in the Constituent Assembly,” he said.
Democracy, he observed, blossomed and flourished when its three facets — the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive– scrupulously adhere to their respective domains. ”The sublimity of Doctrine of Separation of Powers, is realised when Legislature, Judiciary and Executive optimally function in tandem and togetherness, meticulously ensuring scrupulous adherence to a respective jurisdictional domain. Any incursion by one, howsoever subtle, in the domain of others, has the potential to upset the governance apple cart,” he added.
The chairman said the country was indeed faced with this grim reality of frequent incursions. ”This House is eminently positioned to take affirmative steps to bring about congeniality amongst these wings of the governance,” he added.
Dhankhar was of the view that the essence of democracy lay in the prevalence of the ordainment of the people reflected through a legitimised platform. ”In any democracy, Parliamentary sovereignty is inviolable. We all here are under oath to preserve it,” he added.
The Vice President told the members that the authorities in constitutional positions in any institution were required to exemplify their conduct by high standards of propriety, dignity and decorum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, congratulating the vice president on taking charge as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said ”Your life is proof that one cannot accomplish anything only by resourceful means but by practice and realisations.”