Reflections on the fading principle of non-intervention

Source– The post is based on the article “Reflections on the fading principle of non-intervention” published in The Hindu on 15th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Separation of powers

Relevance– Issues related to working of the constitution

News– The article explains the viewpoints on separation of powers put up by the President and Vice-President in their respective speeches.

What are the main excerpts from the President’s speech?

The Constitution outlines a map for good governance. The most crucial feature in this is the doctrine of separation of functions and powers of the three Organs of the State.

It has been the hallmark of our Republic that the three organs have respected the boundaries set in place by the Constitution. She cautions all organs against excessive zeal which may lead to transgressing the boundaries set for them by the Constitution.

What are the main excerpts from the President’s speech?

Democracy blossoms when its three organs adhere to their respective domains. The Doctrine of Separation of Powers, is realised when Legislature, Judiciary and Executive optimally function in tandem and togetherness.

Any incursion by one in the domain of another has the potential to upset the governance. We are indeed faced with this grim reality of frequent incursions.

Mr. Dhankhar basically focused on the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the 99th Constitutional Amendment for setting up the NJAC. He did not find the same as not being in consonance with doctrine of ‘Basic Structure’ of the Constitution.

He stated that we need to bear in mind that in democratic governance, the basis of any ‘Basic Structure’ is the primacy of the mandate of the people reflected in the Parliament. Parliament is the exclusive and ultimate determinative of the architecture of the Constitution.

What do these events signify?

The office of the Republic’s President is above politics. The Vice-President has to be fundamentally above politics too. Vice-president can only enter that arena when she has to exercise a casting vote in Rajya Sabha.

In the past, Vice-President’s have, in their addresses outside the House, given views on public policies. Mr. Dhankhar’s comments on NJAC also tends to give an impression that he has raised questions of the long-settled matter of the ambit of Parliament’s powers to amend the Constitution.

As the matter is sub judice, it would be improper to comment on the issues. Each organ should respect their boundaries. Political class should not intervene in judges’ appointments.

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