Plea before Supreme Court seeks to disqualify Vice President, Law Minister over remarks against judiciary

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The PIL was filed before the Bombay High Court in February stating that the Law Minister and the Vice President were attacking the "collegium system" as well as the "doctrine of basic structure" openly on a public platform. 

An SLP has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court's dismissal of a PIL filed against Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju for their remarks against the judiciary and Collegium.

The plea sought to declare that the Vice President and Law Minister should be disqualified as candidates to hold any constitutional posts based on their behavior, conduct and utterances made in public.  

"Respondent Nos.1 and 2 have affirmed oath that they will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India. However, their conduct has shown lack of faith in Constitution of India. Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 have launched frontal attack on the institution of judiciary, particularly the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in most derogatory language without any recourse which is available under the constitutional scheme to change the status quo as per the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India", the plea filed before the Supreme Court states.

The plea also enumerates various instances where the alleged statements have been made, like the 83rd All-India Presiding Officers Conference held at Jaipur on 11th January 2023 where the Vice President said that, "In a democratic society, basic of any basic structure is supremacy of people, sovereignty of the Parliament The executive thrives on the sovereignty of the Parliament. The ultimate power is with the legislature. Legislature also decides who will be there in other institutions. In such a situation, all institutions must confine to their domains. One must not make incursion in the domain of others".

Reference has also been made to Rijiju's statement made in light of the Supreme Court Collegium making the Governments' objections public to appointing three persons as judges of various high courts, where he said, "Putting secret reports in the public domain is a matter of grave concern. But I will speak about this who is working for the nation in disguise or in secret will think twice that his report may also be put in the public domain and that will have implications".

In February, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V Marne had dismissed the said PIL.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Law Minister and Vice President had argued before the HIgh Court that it was a frivolous PIL."

This is a frivolous plea and gross waste of time of the court. This is nothing but a publicity stunt. Before the matter comes it is circulated in the media. The only purpose is publicity," Singh had stated. 

Case Title: Bombay Lawyers Association vs. Jagdeep Dhankar & Ors