Reacting sharply to Supreme Court's ourburst on the issue of reservation in private professional colleges, Lok Sabha members on Wednesday termed its remarks as "very unfortunate" and "uncalled for," with the Speaker asserting that Parliament would not give up its rights to make laws.
"We are not giving up our rights to make laws," Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asserted, however, making it clear that "avoidable controversy" should not be created.
Describing Chief Justice R C Lahoti's remarks on the issue on Tuesday as "very unfortunate", "unprecedented" and "uncalled for", the members contended that while they did not want any confrontation between the legislature and the judiciary, the court should "not cross the lakshman rekha".
In an obvious reference to Lahoti's critical remarks about "unwanted criticism" that the apex court has faced for its ruling on the reservation in private institutions, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee said, "there has been no confrontation of any kind and there is no occasion to express anguish on account of any legislative action."
The speaker said, "Legislature has its own rights and Parliament, as the supreme legislative body, surely will act according to its rights under the Constitution. Similarly the Courts have their own rights to function in their own sphere without any interference and nobody can interfere."
It was the "undoubted right" of the court to construe the laws passed by Parliament. Therefore, many laws passed by Parliament are being declared ultra vires and it was binding on everybody, Chatterjee said, adding, "what is important is that there should be a harmonious relationship between major Constitutional organisations like the legislature and the court, and nothing should be done or said which may create an avoidable controversy."
Mukherjee said as far as the government's position was concerned he would like to make it clear that "independence of Judiciary is the foundation of our democratic republic and rule of law."
Ever since the adoption of the Constitution, the executive, legislature and the judiciary have been, by and large, functioning within demarcated areas, he said, adding, "the government recognises that proper respect is to be shown to the judicial pronouncements."
"We also recognise that legislature has to perform its duties to translate into action the programmes of the government. On occasions, where the interests of the nation demand that laws should be enacted to carry forward social, economic programmes, legislature has enacted laws keeping in view the various judgements of the apex court," he said.
Asserting that there should be no confrontation among the three Constitutional pillars, Bharatiya Janata Party Deputy leader V K Malhotra said that President, Parliament and Supreme Court were supreme in their own spheres but the Constitution was above all.
Parliament, he said, has the right to amend the Constitution. The BJP leader's contention that reservation should not be given on the basis of religion triggered vociferous protests from Muslim members.
Describing the Chief Justice's observations as "most unfortunate", CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia said it has been enshrined in the Constitution that there should be reservation for weaker sections.
Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party cautioned that if a message went from the House about any confrontation between legislature and judiciary, it would not augur well for the country.
Rashtriya Janata Dal member Devendra Prasad Yadav termed the Chief Justice's remarks as "extraordinary, unprecedented and unnecessary" and not in tune with the basic preamble of the Constitution of providing for social justice.
Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said never before had such "caustic" remarks been made by the Supreme Court which had elements of "animosity," "intolerance" and undermined the Constitution.
Biju Janata Dal leader Braj Kishore Tripathi said the 'lakshman Rekha' should not be breached while stressing that social justice should be ensured for the weaker sections.