HP Budget Session: Judicial ‘activism’, MLAs want govt to draw the line

Shimla, March 24: The issue of judicial “activism” and “interference” in the working of the elected representatives echoed in the Vidhan Sabha today as legislators, cutting across party lines, demanded specifying the protocol associated with their office.

The matter was discussed at length as Congress’ Fatehpur MLA Bhawani Singh Pathania raised it through a point of order in the Assembly. CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, former CM Jai Ram Thakur, Pathania, Chandershekhar, Vinod Sultanpuri, Ravi Thakur and other MLAs cited instances when they were “targeted by the overzealous police and judiciary”. “Legislators are law abiding citizens and the law must apply evenly to the subordinate judiciary and government officers as well,” said Sukhu, while addressing the MLAs.

He announced the setting up of a committee to look into the protocol of MLAs so that they are respected as elected representatives.

Sukhu said he would personally discuss the issue with the higher judiciary so that there was no confrontation between the legislature and the judiciary.

Legislators expressed anguish over challans issued to them over the use of flag rods on their vehicles by the subordinate judiciary, who were themselves “violating the norms” of the Motor Vehicles Act by affixing designation plates on their vehicles, the MLAs said in unison. They said they were not in favour of VIP culture and understood their responsibilities, but they “cannot be targeted just because politicians are invariably seen in bad light”.

Sukhu said the secretariat of the Vidhan Sabha would be strengthened as the question was not just to uphold the dignity of an individual, but that of the institution. “We will find out under what rules the subordinate judiciary, SDMs and other officials are using flashers and designation plates on their vehicles,” he said. Supporting the cause, Speaker Kuldeep Pathania said there was a need to ensure that the subordinate judiciary and police officials didn’t overstep their authority just to target the MLAs.

“The officials act promptly on court orders, but they are casual in acting on our orders, which is not acceptable,” said Jai Ram Thakur, stressing the need for better coordination with the judiciary to avert any confrontation.

Sukhu forms panel to avoid ‘conflicts’

·       MLAs allege they are being targeted by “overzealous” judiciary and govt officersMany issued challans by subordinate judiciary for using flag rods on vehicles

·       CM Sukhu forms panel to ensure there is no conflict between legislature, judiciary