Judiciary has right to interpret laws: Mukherjee

February 24th, 2008 - 9:18 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee smoothened the feathers of the Indian judiciary here Sunday by granting that it has the right to interpret the laws framed by the legislature. As for the mounting volume of pending cases, he said: “What is needed is infrastructure, the number of judges and the educated people.”

Mukherjee, delivering the valedictory address at a two-day seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar on judicial reforms, was seeking to conclude a debate that started Saturday.

In her inaugural address a day earlier, President Pratibha Patil had blamed the trend of people taking law into their own hands and imparting street justice on delays in deciding court cases. Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan in his address had blamed the government for the delay.

Mukherjee also told the judiciary that “constructive criticism should be accepted”, and concluded: “How quickly justice can be delivered is the test of its efficiency.”

Mukehrjee, by his own admission always a non-practising lawyer, quoted Motilal Nehru who headed the first commission on the constitution set up by the Congress party in the early 20th century, to buttress the point that “they cannot take away our fundamental rights under any circumstances.”

He also referred to what Motilal Nehru’s son and India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had stated: “No judiciary, no supreme court can undo the sovereign will of parliament which reflects the people of India. The legislature must be supreme in implementing social reforms.”

Mukherjee, however, added, “Ours is a constitution of checks and balances, nobody believes parliament has absolute powers.”

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