The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday criticised the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, the former for criticising the Supreme Court and the Election Commission and the latter for alleging that its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was “managing” the media.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley objected to the comments made by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid about the Supreme Court and the Election Commission during his lecture in London.
In a statement, Mr. Jaitley said: “...In the course of his [Mr. Khurshid’s] lecture he appears to have commented that both the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India are overreaching their jurisdictions. He believes that a few unelected persons cannot regulate Indian democracy because it is always the elected representatives who represent the will of the sovereign. The argument is both misconceived and misleading.”
The BJP leader argued that there was a clear separation of powers under the Indian Constitution. The responsibility for interpreting the law is with the courts and in the course of interpretation of the law and judicial review, the court can lay down the parameters of constitutionality and reasonableness.
“We may choose to call it judge-made law. It is true that at times the Supreme Court lays down rules/regulations/guidelines for the executive. In recent years, the separation of power is obliterated by some judicial pronouncements. But these are exceptions. There can even be aberrations. They do not indicate the normal pattern of India’s judicial functioning,” he said.
On the role of the Election Commission, Mr. Jaitley said the institution which is responsible for the conduct of free and fair elections has conducted itself well. “Indian democracy has survived well primarily because of free and fair elections and an independent judiciary. A free media and a vibrant parliamentary democracy have also contributed to strengthening the tradition of democracy in India,” he said.
The BJP leader described as “disturbing” AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s accusations of a nexus between the media and Mr. Modi. “ He started as a populist and evolved into a demagogue. He can make allegations against anyone and everyone without any supporting evidence. He has little concern for the truth.”