Parliament panel reports meant for House, not SC: AG

Times of India, October 27, 2017

NEW DELHI: A debate on whether the Supreme Court could entertain PILs based on parliamentary standing committee reports turned fiery before a five-judge constitution bench on Thursday with the Centre accusing the SC of going far beyond its constitutionally mandated jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Harish Salve argued that the SC seeking answers from the government on PILs based on parliamentary standing panel reports would amount to the constitutional impropriety of judiciary scrutinising Parliament’s work.

The issue under contention was how far the SC could go in exercise of powers conferred on it under Article 142 of the Constitution. The CJI said, “Article 142 is exercised where we feel complete justice is to be done. When we make a set of guidelines, we act only when the Constitution or legislature is silent on a particular issue that disturbs society like female foeticide, ecological balance, eve-teasing and other such issues.”

The bench said it had taken up issue for adjudication to avoid constitutional discomfort between Parliament and judiciary. The bench’s tentative view was the court may not accept the findings in a parliamentary standing panel report, but there was no harm in allowing a petitioner to rely on it.

Salve had said standing committee reports were of persuasive nature and it was for Parliament to decide what was needed to be done on that score. “If Parliament decides not to accept a standing committee report and the SC acts on the basis of the report to force the government to accept the recommendations, it will create friction between judiciary and Parliament.”

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