The SC's ruling comes as a huge relief to NGOs and activists who cite the findings of the parliamentary reports that are generally critical to the government, in their petitions.
The Supreme Court today ruled that parliamentary committee reports can be referred to during constitutional court proceedings. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the reports can be referred to for statutory interpretation in accordance with law. The top court, however, said that parliamentary reports can’t be challenged and their validity can’t be questioned in courts.
The bench also comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan said that there is no need to exclude the parliamentary reports from the judicial proceedings. The top court observed that courts can refer to parliamentary reports for statutory interpretation in accordance with the law. It held that taking judicial note of such reports will not be the breach of the parliamentary privilege.
The bench said the Constitution envisages separation of power among the three organs of democracy and the court has to “strike a balance between legislature and judiciary”.
The Supreme Court passed this order while hearing pleas filed by activist Kalapana Mehta and Delhi-based Sama-Resource Group for Women and Health. The petitioners had sought directions to cancel the licenses of two vaccines that had been used on tribal women in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh to treat cervical cancer.
The petitioners had relied upon a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare report that had in 2014 concluded that the vaccines used in the two states are serious breach of medical ethics, a clear-cut violation of human rights.
The SC’s ruling comes as a huge relief to NGOs and activists who cite the findings of the parliamentary reports that are generally critical to the government, in their petitions.