There is no parallel to such a development in democratic history where the NJAC’s “duly legitimized constitutional prescription” through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Bill, unanimously passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Raja Sabhait was “judicially overruled,” Dhankhar said.
Addressing Rajya Sabha as its chairman for the first time, he said, “It was a striking example of gross undermining of parliamentary sovereignty and disregarding the mandate of the people of which this House and Lok Sabha are custodians.”
The vice president has raised the issue in several fora in recent days, which comes amid ongoing friction between the union government and the Supreme Court over the appointment of judges through the collegiate apex court system.
In Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar said the “historic parliamentary mandate” for NJAC was overruled by the Supreme Court in October 2015 by a 4:1 majority on the grounds that it was not consonant with the doctrine evolved from the point of judicial view of the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
“We must bear in mind that in democratic governance, the basis of any ‘basic structure’ is the prevalence of the primacy of the popular mandate reflected in Parliament. Parliament is the exclusive and ultimate determinant of the architecture of the Constitution,” she said.
“It is disconcerting to note that such an epochal topic, so vital for the democratic fabric, has not been discussed in Parliament for more than seven years. This House, in concert with the Lok Sabha, being the custodian of the ordination of the people, has a duty to address this issue, and I am sure it will,” he added.
Dhankhar said that democracy blossoms and flourishes when its three aspects, legislative, judicial and executive, adhere scrupulously to their respective domains. “Any incursion by one, however subtle, into the other’s domain has the potential to upset the government’s apple cart,” he said.