NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill which gives better pensionary benefits to judges who joined from the bar. The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by voice vote.
Though MPs from across the political spectrum supported the bill, they objected to the Supreme Court’s verdict against the NJAC Act, saying judges have to be held accountable and a “strong message” should be sent to the judiciary for “infringing on the jurisdiction of Parliament”. RSP member M K Premchandran endorsed the comments of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the action of Supreme Court was the “tyranny of the un-elected”.
BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy accused the government of “pleasing the judges” by bringing in the bill even though the judiciary was not ready to come under the ambit of the RTI.
However, Law Minister Sadanand Gowda cited Article 142 of the Constitution to maintain that the apex court ruling had to be respected. This prompted Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai to tell Gowda: “That is not the point.”
Congress MP and former minister Verrappa Moily also opposed Gowda’s statement. “Law minister going on record is not correct. You ask your AG or the Law Ministry about this. Let it not go (on record). I have handled this portfolio at the Centre as well as the State,” Moily said.