Virtually endorsing Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar’s remarks on judicial overreach, presiding officers of State Assemblies and Councils from across the country on Thursday recognised the separate powers of the judiciary and legislature and said that each should “respect” the boundaries provided by the Constitution.
A resolution passed at the conclusion of the 83rd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference said that it reaffirmed its complete faith in the primacy of the people of India in law-making through the legislative bodies of the nation, and while reposing confidence in the principle of separation of powers, it exhorted all organs of the state to respect the Constitutional boundaries enshrined in the Constitution of India.
“Legislature is supreme. It has the right to make laws and because it has the right to make laws, it is expected that all institutions remain within their boundaries,” Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, addressing journalists after the conclusion of the conference.
While inaugurating the conference on Wednesday, Mr. Dhankar made strong comments on “posturing” or “one-upmanship” by the judiciary, adding that one could not have an “ostrich-like stance” on judiciary-legislature relations.
Code of conduct
The resolution passed by the conference on Thursday also sought a code of conduct to rule the behaviour of legislators in Assemblies, Councils and Parliament.
The conference resolved that Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of legislative bodies must be reviewed comprehensively, and model uniform Rules be formulated incorporating best practices in order to secure greater participation of Members and more productive functioning of the Houses of legislature.
The resolution further said that a Code of Conduct for Members should be introduced in the Rules to bring about an effective check against indecorous and unparliamentary conduct.
The resolution extended full support to the projection of India as the “Mother of Democracy” during the counry’s ongoing G-20 presidency. It also empowered the committee system to ensure scrutiny of the executive. It exhorted all State Assemblies and Councils to join the National Grid for Legislative Bodies for better transparency and efficiency.
Consensus against disruptions
The resolution also asked political parties to build a consensus among themselves against any disruption in the Houses of legislature, particularly during Question Hour.
In his address during the valedictory session after the resolution was adopted, Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra said that decorum and discipline were extremely necessary within the House and it was not proper to pass Bills amidst disruption.
He said that there was often discussion regarding whether a Governor has the right to return a Bill. However, he held that the majority in the House should not be the only basis for passing Bills, adding that public interest and healthy debates should be the main basis instead.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the Centre to replicate certain rights-based laws brought in by his government, such as the right to health and the right to social security. He also defended the decision to bring back the Old Pension Scheme and said that there needs to be parity in the implementation of pension schemes in all government departments.