No good House debates, sorry state of affairs: CJI N V Ramana | India News

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NEW DELHI: In what could be a caustic reference to the government pushing through bills in Parliament without debate amid opposition-led bedlam and protests, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said that “it is a sorry state of affairs” as enacting of laws without debate leaves ambiguity in legislations and leads to a lot of litigation.
Speaking at the Independence Day function in Supreme Court, the CJI recalled the contribution of the legal community, led by lawyers — Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Babu Rajendra Prasad — to the freedom struggle and reminded advocates that the first Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and assemblies were filled with lawyers active in public life.
“If you look at the debates which used to take place in the Houses those days, they used to be very wise and constructive. The Houses used to debate threadbare any legislation which they were making. I have seen debates which had taken place on the Industrial Disputes Act and some amendments. A member from Tamil Nadu, CPM leader Ramamoorthy, used to discuss elaborately what are the consequences if the amendments are made, how it will affect the working class. Same way different, different laws were discussed and deliberated,” he said.
“Now (it is a) sorry state of affairs. We see a lot of gaps in legislation. There is a lot of ambiguity in making laws. There is no clarity in the laws. We do not know what purpose the laws are being made at, which is creating a lot of litigation, inconvenience to the public and government and loss to the government,” the CJI said, adding that aversion of intellectuals and lawyers to foray into public life and be members of legislatures has led to this nadir in the House proceedings.
The CJI said elaborate debates in the Houses always brought clarity to the object and intent behind legislations or amendments to existing laws. “So the burden on the courts while interpreting or implementing the laws was less. We (the judges and public) had a clear picture of what the legislature thought and what they wanted to tell why they are enacting such a legislation,” he said.
“This is what happens if intellectuals and professionals like lawyers are not there in the House. It is time for the lawyers and legal community to lead and participate actively in public life. Do not confine yourself to your profession, earning money and living comfortably. Please think over and we must participate in public life and do some good service and I hope and expect good days will come to the country and lawyers will contribute to nation building,” he said.
He said India runs unique legal aid services where free legal advice is given at state expense to poor and needy. “We are in the 25th year of providing free legal aid to the poor and 75% of the country’s population is covered by it. No other country has done it. Earlier there were problems about the quality of legal aid. Now we have sorted that out,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion in presence of two SC judges — Justices A M Khanwilkar and V Ramasubramanian, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said, “CJI is the Karta (head) of the legal community. Once he has spoken his mind, I cannot possibly add to what he has already said. I agree with what the CJI said.”
SCBA president Vikas Singh and secretary Ardhendumauli Prasad and other office-bearers were present during the unfurling of national flag at the SC premises.

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