New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has raised alarm with regard to the judiciary encroaching upon the authority of the legislature.
“Step by step, brick by brick, the edifice of India’s legislature is being destroyed,” Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The minister also urged MPs to protect budgetary and taxation powers from being handed over to the judiciary.
The minister was speaking in the context of the GST Bill, during a discussion in the Upper House on The Appropriation (No 2) Bill 2016 and the Finance Bill, 2016.
The remarks came on a day when the Supreme Court reinstated Harish Rawat as the chief minister of Uttarakhand, following the Congress' victory in the floor test in the Assembly.
In the context of the GST, the Congress had demanded that a dispute redressal mechanism be put in place under which a judge would resolve any dispute arising out between the Centre and states.
Reacting to the demand, the Finance Minister said, “For heaven’s sake, I beseech you in the interest of Indian democracy not to go on this misadventure… With the manner in which encroachment of legislative and executive authority by India’s judiciary is taking place, probably financial power and budget making is the last power that you have left. Taxation is the only power which states have.”
“It would be wholly misconceived for any political party to say, ‘let us hand over the taxation power to judiciary’. That is your (Congress’s) proposal,” he said, as per The Indian Express.
“We will have budget-making going outside Parliament and if there is a taxation dispute between the Centre and states, a major party says now let the judge decide, so taxation power also goes,” Jaitley said.
He stressed that taxation being a political issue, it should be decided politically.
Referring to the Supreme Court's direction to the Centre to set up a new fund for disaster mitigation, Jaitley said the National Disaster Response Fund and State Disaster Response Fund were already existent.