Congress slams Arun Jaitley for NJAC remarks

The Congress party on Monday attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his remarks on National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, warning the government against embarking on a path of confrontation with the judiciary on the issue.

The party's senior spokesperson Anand Sharma dubbed as "unfortunate and deplorable" Jaitley's remarks against the Supreme Court's reasoning for striking down the NJAC Act, which sought to change the system for appointments to the higher judiciary.

 He told reporters that it was "very wrong" for Jaitley to say that judiciary acted like a "third chamber of the legislature" while quashing the Act to establish the NJAC for appointment of judges.

Claiming that in the last 16 months there has been "systematic assault on the autonomy of institutions and rewriting of rules", he said there were "concerns" about Constitutional guarantees and funadmental rights of citizens.

"In the light of the changed situation, (our advice is) Jaitley, who is a senior advocate, not to embark on a path of confrontation ... [it is] not healthy for democracy," he said.

 "Instead of insulting the highest judiciary, he should focus more on his responsibility as India's finance minister as economy is in a very sad state. It is a stuttering economy marked by rising debts and fall in exports for last 10 months."

Besides, he told the government that the top court has assured parliament and the political leadership that their concerns on the collegium system will be heard with a view to bring reforms and transparency.

Trashing the Prime Minister's claim that he and his government has made a "revolutionary transformation" of the economy, he said actually they have given "pain, misery and shock to the people of India."

Sharma said the government should also explain why India has become more indebted. He quipped that if prices of crude oil were not down globally, the Indian economy would have been ''in the ICU''.

Jaitley had on Sunday faulted the Supreme Court saying that Indian democracy cannot be a "tyranny of the unelected" and to strengthen independence of judiciary, one does not have to weaken parliamentary sovereignty.

"The Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if the elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger," Jaitley had said in a Facebook post titled 'The NJAC Judgement - An Alternative View?', which he termed as "personal views".