New Delhi: Newly appointed Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on Monday said he would try to push through pending legislations of his ministry by consensus in Parliament, and if he fails to muster support, he will wait for "another day". (Agencies)
He also said that as the Law Minister, he would try to establish a "harmonious, congenial and communicative" relationship between the political executive and the higher judiciary so that the two carry can forward the "national agenda" together.
On the issue of corruption, Kumar (59) said the commitment of the UPA Government to push forward the agenda to tackle and eliminate corruption will receive priority.
"We will continue to endeavour to forge the broadest possible political consensus in favour of a credible and effective Lokpal Bill which will enable us, along with the other bills which form part of a bouquet of legislations, to check corruption," he told reporters soon after assuming charge.
Former Law Minister Salman Khurshid, who took over as the External Affairs Minister yeaterday, was present to hand over the charge to Kumar.
With four Law Ministry bills pending in Parliament in various stages, Kumar conceded these can only be pushed through "if we can harness the requisite support in Parliament. We will press forward with our attempts to get that consensus and support. Where we succeed, we will push forward that legislation, where we do not succeed we will leave to another day till we have the requisite support."
He said he sincerely hopes to be able to pursuade a large number of parliamentarians who may have reservations to support legislative measures in "overarching national interest."
Four Law Ministry Bills, including the one to set up commercial divisions in High Court to tackle high value commercial disputes, are pending in the two Houses of Parliament.
A Constitutional amendment bill which seeks to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65 years to bring it at par with retirement age of Supreme Court judges is pending in Lok Sabha as opposition, especially the BJP, is not on board.
The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill which seeks to make divorce an easier process and provide a better safety net for women is also pending in Rajya Sabha. Recently, Khurshid had approached the Cabinet to get certain amendments cleared to benefit women even when the Bill was pending in the Upper House.
Though the amendments, suggested by the opposition, were cleared, there has been no forward movement on the legislation.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which seeks to lay judicial standards for higher judiciary is yet to be taken up in Rajya Sabha after its passage in Lok Sabha.
Khurshid had recently said that he would move the Cabinet to get a controversial clause removed.
The clause states that: "No judge shall make unwarranted comments against the conduct of any constitutional or statutory institution or officials at the time of hearing matters in open courts during the course of hearing matters."
Once the amendments are cleared by the Cabinet, it will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha after its passage in the Upper House.
Several top jurists had objected to the provision.
Referring to the relationship between the government and the higher judiciary, Kumar said, "It has always been and will be the endeavour of the Law Ministry as the administrative and nodal ministry for law and justice to constantly work towards reiterating the need and to consolidate the fine constitutional balance between the three organs of the state as was envisaged by the founding fathers."
He said sometimes a view has been expressed that there is tension on the jurisdiction of other organs of the state. "I am not saying that that is necessarily the case all the time. But quite clearly I do believe that the constitutional disciple needs to be preserved at every stage by all organs."
Kumar, who is the third Law Minister in UPA II government, said a very harmonious, congenial and communicative relationship should be established between the political executive and the higher judiciary.
New Delhi: Newly appointed Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on Monday said he would try to push through pending legislations of his ministry by consensus in Parliament, and if he fails to muster support, he will wait for "another day".