Judiciary must not cross Lakshman Rekha: Arun Jaitley

Hyderabad: In a gentle hint to the Supreme Court, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that while he respects the apex court, "one should not try to interfere in others' areas".

In a wide-ranging interview to mark two years of the Narendra Modi government, Jaitley called the prime minister "a hard working person" and also said he (Jaitley) wasn't happy with the 7.5 per cent growth rate.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Speaking in the context of the Uttarakhand political developments, the minister told ETV News Network that everyone should respect the clear demarcation among the judiciary, executive and legislature.

"Everyone should respect that. One should not try to interfere in others' areas."

The veteran Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said a debate on Article 356 and on President's Rule was not new.

The Modi government, he said, had not made any mistake by imposing President's Rule in Uttarakhand.

According to him, March 18 was the real floor test in Uttarakhand and on that day the Congress government lost its majority.

"The present floor test was done after floor equation was changed," he said, apparently referring to the Uttarakhand High Court and Supreme Court rulings that nine rebel Congress legislators could not take part in the assembly floor test that helped Harish Rawat to return as chief minister.

Jaitley also said that tax came under the purview of the government and not the judiciary. So, the government had to take decisions on taxation, not the court.

Jaitley praised Modi - who took office in May 2014 - "as a great communicator" who had knowledge in every sector and also a clear vision.

The prime minister, he said, was hard working, had the ability to extract work from his associates, and led by example. Jaitley gave credit to Modi for changing India's image across the world.

The minister quickly added that he was not happy with the 7.5 per cent growth rate.

The Modi government was working harder to increase the growth rate and retain it over a longer period. For this, the government was focusing on development of villages and in infrastructure.

He also blamed the Congress for opposing the GST and vowed to bring about consensus among all the parties and pass the bill.

The BJP leader urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish, who recently hit out at the BJP and RSS at Varanasi, Modi's Lok Sabha constituency, to pay more attention to Bihar.

"Nitish should focus on law and order situation in Bihar."

On the AgustaWestland deal, he said while the bribe givers had been sentenced and the middlemen identified, "the issue is where are the bribe takers". He said a search was on for the bribe takers.

Jaitley said that earlier banks were forced to hide the non-performing assets (NPAs). Now, the banks had been given full rights to recover money from willful defaulters.

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