New Delhi, Oct 17: Sharp differences were visible between BJP and Congress over the striking down of NJAC Act by Supreme Court, hinting at an uphill task for the government in case it wants to bring a new version of the legislation after the opposition party stressed on the "primacy of judiciary".
As Congress appeared to be siding with the judiciary, the ruling BJP accused it of playing "petty politics" and taking a U-turn in the wake of the Dadri lynching incident.
The NDA government suffered a huge setback yesterday as Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, which gives a major role to the executive in the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.
Commenting on the matter, senior Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said, "With the Executive having more voice, the dominant voice in the selection of judges and the primacy of the judiciary and Chief Justice of India is undermined.
"That should never be allowed to happen as the Constitution is supreme, not the Executive," said. The former Union Minister said, in an apparent reference to the Dadri lynching, that what has been happening in India has "raised concerns nationally and globally about the future of our parliamentary democracy and Constitution, particularly of free and full enjoyment of constitutional guarantees and fundamental rights".
"It is important that the primacy of judiciary is there," he said, adding that even the legislature takes oath under the Constitution. He also said that there is a "clear separation of powers".
BJP spokesman Sambit Patra, however, was quick to attack Congress as he reminded that the party had supported the NJAC Bill along with all other parties in Parliament. "As far as Congress is concerned, they are habitual hypocrites.
It is astonishing that they are bringing the matter of the Sahitya Kala Academy award winners into the NJAC issue. It is absolutely appalling and shows the mental bankruptcy of Congress," he said. The NJAC issue needed academic deliberations, Patra said.