The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha sees judicial 'intrusion'

Calcutta, Oct. 11: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the judiciary is 'overstepping its jurisdiction at times and intruding into the executive and legislative domains'.

His comments came close on the heels of a string of recent court strictures against the government. Today, too, the Left Front government and the Trinamul Congress-run CMC came under fire in the high court over bad roads.

Opening a symposium on the legislature-judiciary relationship, the chief minister sought the formation of a judicial commission, headed by the Chief Justice of India, to look into the 'accountability of the Supreme Court and high court judges'.

Pointing out that the relationship between the two government arms was marked by occasional friction, he said: 'Our Constitution has assigned specific duties and responsibilities to the legislature and the judiciary and their roles are intended to be complementary and not confrontational.

'Both the institutions are required to function on the basis of mutual trust and respect in order to serve the interests of the people of our country.'

Of late, the government has been under court fire on issues like holding rallies on weekdays, auto emission, phasing out old cars, disallowing NRI quota in medical colleges, pandals blocking traffic and the bad condition of roads.

Listing the problem areas in the relationship, Bhattacharjee continued: 'The areas of contention include the court's power of judicial review of laws, issues relating to interference in the proceedings of Parliament and legislatures and the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution.'

He said under existing laws it was virtually impossible to unseat a judge or hold him accountable.

'The issue of accountability of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts has been a matter of debate for quite some time. It is generally perceived that under the existing system it is virtually impossible to remove a judge from office.'

A judicial commission could effectively address the issue, he said at the symposium organised by the 67th conference of presiding officers of legislative bodies in India.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, too, called for a suitable legislation to safeguard 'the exclusive jurisdiction of the legislatures' without any interference from a court of law or any other authority'.

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