Delhi law minister needs to understand separation of powers better: Manish Tewari

New Delhi, Jan.7, : Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has criticized Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, over his spat with the state government's Law Secretary A.S. Yadav.

Last week, Bharti is learnt to have rebuked Yadav when the latter expressed his inability to convene a meeting of Delhi court judges at the state secretariat.

Yadav is said to have told Bharti that the judiciary is independent of the executive, and that as per established administrative norms, only the Delhi High Court has the authority to summon and preside over a meeting of lower court judges.

Yadav, a district judge, who is on deputation to the Delhi State Government, tried to reason with Bharti, himself a lawyer with an IIT background, that it was unthinkable for a minister or anyone representing the executive to summon a meeting of judges. He said the Delhi High Court exercises exclusive administrative jurisdiction over judges in the state.

Yadav's contention, however, was rejected by Bharti, who accused him of being loyal to the old Congress regime. Bharti also said that Yadav was placing obstacles in the path of the AAP Government's plan to ensure speedy delivery of justice.

Reacting to this, Manish Tewari said: "The bedrock of constitutionalism is the doctrine of separation of powers. The doctrine of power is essentially predicated on two basic foundations, one is the independence of the judiciary, and the other is the autonomy of the legislature."

"So, law ministers of states have to tread a very fine balance. But, I am sure, that the Law Minister of Delhi will learn about all this, as he goes on," he added.

Meanwhile, Yadav has written a letter to Delhi Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, apprising him of the development. He also is learnt to have also met Ramana and requested that he be repatriated back to the judiciary.

Yadav is reported to have told the Delhi Chief Justice that it had become difficult for him to work with the present administrative set up in Delhi, and therefore, would like to resume the role of a district judge in his parent cadre.
Chief Justice Ramana is learnt to have assured Yadav that the Delhi High Court would protect him against any vindictive action by the state executive.

Bharti continues to maintain that his sole aim was to ensure two things a€" that the poorest of poor be given justice, and that every penny spent by the government is accounted for.

He asked: "Unless I interact with the judiciary, how will I address their problems, or that of the litigants?

He said he could not understand the reason for referring every legal matter to the Delhi High Court, and added that systems needed to be changed to ensure better delivery of justice to litigants.

--ANI (Posted on 07-01-2014)

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