Validity of Parl Committee reports can’t be challenged: SC

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New Delhi, May 9: A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that parliamentary committee reports can’t be challenged or their validity questioned in courts.
The five-judge bench said courts can rely on reports of such committees in its proceedings and this will not amount to breach of privilege of the House. However, their veracity and conclusions can’t be questioned in court.
The Constitution Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, had in November 2027 reserved its judgment on whether courts could rely on Parliamentary Standing Committee reports, without violating the privileges of members of Parliament.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice had remarked that a delicate balance had to be struck and observed that parliamentary panel reports can be judicially taken note of. But Venugopal responded saying the contents could not be taken note of.
Colin Gonsalves, who argued on behalf of the petitioner Kalpana Mehta, submitted if Parliament can take note of the Supreme Court judgment, there is no harm in the courts taking cognizance of parliamentary panel reports.
According to Gonsalves, the Evidence Act states that the courts shall take judicial notice of proceedings of Parliament and of the legislatures.
The issue of whether parliamentary committee reports should be considered was raised in a matter related to cancer drug trials on tribals. The petitioner cited a parliamentary panel report in support of her case in which she had sought direction to cancel licences of two vaccines, which had been used on tribal women in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat for treatment of cervical cancer. (Courtesy: HT)