New Delhi: In presence of the Chief Justice of India, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday the judiciary has to decide "how far" it can go in taking over power on issues of governance as he stressed the need for all organs to appreciate the proverbial 'Lakshman rekha'.
Prasad made these remarks at the Constitution Day function organised by the Supreme Court. CJI Ranjan Gogoi and other judges of the top court were present.
"Governance being a highly complicated exercise, maybe there is a need to reflect within as to how far the judiciary needs to go. That is for the judiciary to decide," he said. Prasad said there are lots of "competing interests", "lot of complicated claims, lot of other vested interests" that need to be understood when running a government. "Yes, I understand the temptation with greatest respect. But mere temptation should not lead to taking over of the power that leads to a larger narrative of some reflection," he said.
He was responding to remarks made by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Supreme Court Bar Association's Vikas Singh earlier on the issue of separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive. In the past too, Prasad has referred to the issue of judicial over-reach, saying law-making must be left within the realm of those elected to make the law.
Referring to the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, through which the government had sought to have a larger say in appointment of SC and high court judges, which was struck down by the Supreme Court, Prasad said while the government has accepted the judgment, it has certain reservations on some of the reasons given when it was struck down. He, however, did not refer to the reservations. In the past, though, he had dwelt on the issue extensively.
Prasad also referred to public interest litigations, saying the idea originally was to allow the marginalised and deprived to be heard. "Perhaps time has come to restate more clearly the noble narrative of PIL," he said.
Earlier on Monday, during the inaugural ceremony, Prasad said, "We hear about constitutional morality, we appreciate innovations but nuances of constitutional morality should be outlined with clarity and should not differ from judge to judge and there must be a consensus."
He said, "We need to trust India's democracy because they (the people) have this confidence that we can unseat any political leader or political party howsoever popular, howsoever powerful in Delhi or in states."