Veteran Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday refuted Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s claim “parliament is supreme”.
“The Hon’ble Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is wrong when he says that Parliament is supreme. It is the Constitution that is supreme. The “basic structure” doctrine was evolved in order to prevent a majoritarian-driven assault on the foundational principles of the Constitution,” Mr Chidambaram tweeted.
The Hon’ble Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is wrong when he says that Parliament is supreme. It is the Constitution that is supreme.
The “basic structure” doctrine was evolved in order to prevent a majoritarian-driven assault on the foundational principles of the Constitution.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 12, 2023
The Congress leader’s statement follows Mr Dhankar’s Wednesday remark when the Rajya Sabha Chairman said the power of parliament to amend the Constitution is not subject to any other authority, but the “lifeline” of democracy.
The remarks were made by the Vice President at the 83rd All India Presiding Officers Conference in Jaipur.
“The essence of democracy lies in the prevalence of the mandate of the people and securing their welfare. The power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution and deal with legislation is not subject to any other authority. This is the lifeline of a democracy. I am sure this will engage your thoughtful consideration,” the Vice President said.
On Thursday, Mr Chidambaram also said in his tweet: “Suppose Parliament, by a majority, voted to convert the parliamentary system into a Presidential system. Or repeal the State List in Schedule VII and take away the exclusive legislative powers of the States. Would such amendments be valid?”
Mr Chidambaram argued that after the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act was struck down, nothing prevented the Government from introducing a new Bill.
He said: “The striking down of one Act does not mean that the “basic structure” doctrine is wrong.”
“In fact, the Hon’ble Chairman’s views should warn every Constitution-loving citizen to be alert to the dangers ahead,” Chidambaram tweeted.
“In a democratic society, ‘the basic’ of any ‘basic structure’ has to be the supremacy of mandate of people. Thus, the primacy and sovereignty of Parliament and legislature are inviolable,” Mr Dhankar said on Wednesday.
All constitutional institutions the Judiciary, the Executive, and the legislature are required to confine to their respective domains and conform to the highest standard of propriety and decorum, Mr Dhankar added.
Mr Dhankhar was expressing his concerns over the increasing instances of disruptions in Parliament and Legislatures, and he urged the representatives to be conscious of the expectations and aspirations of the people.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)