Lack of Quality Debate in Parliament: Chief Justice Ramana

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind on April 24, 2021 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Photo: Rashtrapati Bhavan (file photo)
Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind on April 24, 2021 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Photo: Rashtrapati Bhavan (file photo)

While Ramana has been making remarkable comments outside the court, he must bring his preaching to practice in the court to restore the Indian democracy which has assumed the form of a kakistocracy.

By Rakesh Raman

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said today (August 15) that there is a lack of quality debate in Parliament while enacting laws which leads to litigations. 

Criticising the functioning of the Indian Parliament, Ramanna added that the laws have a lot of ambiguity and the courts do not know the object and intent behind enacting the law. “It is a sorry state of affairs,” Ramanna said at a flag hoisting ceremony in the Supreme Court campus. 

His critical comments came close on the heels of the Parliament’s Monsoon Session that ended abruptly on August 11, two days ahead of schedule. The opposition parties disrupted both Houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) from the beginning of the Session on July 19.

The disruptions were in response to the government’s refusal to discuss critical issues such as the Pegasus snooping scandal, the farmers’ protests, and unprecedented inflation in the country. 

There were chaotic scenes and blatant hooliganism in the Parliament with allegations of manhandling of the lawmakers by the government-backed security forces.

As increasing criminality in Indian politics is among the main reasons for disrespect of the Parliament, the Supreme Court is also taking steps to decriminalize politics. Recently, the top court asked the political parties to make criminal records of their election candidates public within 48 hours of their selection.  

Ramanna said that the lack of proper debate in Parliament is leading to a lot of avoidable litigation in the courts. He urged the country’s lawyers to rededicate themselves to public life and bring change in parliamentary debates.

Although most judges in India lack courage to speak against the political leadership, Chief Justice Ramana has been constantly voicing his concerns over the eroding democratic values in the country. 

Recently, he said that the right of people to change those in office through elections was no “guarantee against tyranny” of the elected and argued that democracy and its benefits could only be ensured by giving space to both “reasoned and unreasonable” public discourse. 

Ramana also expressed concern at custodial torture saying that the threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in India’s police stations. 

He highlighted that custodial torture and other police atrocities still prevail despite Constitutional guarantees, adding that the lack of effective legal representation at police stations is a huge detriment to arrested / detained persons. 

While Ramana has been making remarkable comments outside the court, he must bring his preaching to practice in the court to restore the Indian democracy which has assumed the form of a kakistocracy.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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