Cong accuses govt of ‘interfering, intimidating, influencing’ judiciary

NEW DELHI, 12 Jul: The Congress on Tuesday attacked the government over its approach towards judiciary, alleging there was “interference, intimidation and influence,” and also an attempt to “sabotage and subjugate” the important pillar of democracy.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told a press conference that “these have unfortunately have become the insignia and spikes of this government, which is deplorable.”
“The Modi government’s approach towards the judiciary smacks of three ‘I’s: influence, interference and intimidation. The ruling party in this government can equally be accused of three ‘S’s, an attempt to ‘sabotage, subjugate and subvert’ the judiciary. This deadly combination of 3 ‘I’s along with 3 ‘S’s is deplorable,” he told reporters.
There was no official comment from the BJP on the charge.
Singhvi alleged that it is now the worst kept secret for many years in legal circles and outside that “this control freak, micro management and dossier-loving sarkar” and its ruling party have indulged in several “manipulative tactics” towards the most trusted third organ of governance, the judiciary.
The Congress leader said that the relevance of the Supreme Court’s clear observation that lack of speed in dealing with bails as also hesitation or obstruction in their grant, would make India look “like a police state.”
“The Congress believes that this is much needed guidance from the apex court, especially where the ruling dispensation seeks to rule through fear, control through coercion. We the Congress party intend, using due process of law, in accordance with the Constitution and obviously subject to due legislative process in Congress-ruled states, to create in the near future legislative enactments encapsulating, in letter and spirit, as many as possible of the Supreme Court guidelines through appropriate state amendments,” he said.
Singhvi alleged that the government has excessively but selectively delayed judicial appointment proposals both to the high courts and to the Supreme Court and Justice Quereshi may be only one out of many such names.
“This government and its ruling component has arbitrarily bifurcated approved judicial appointees’ lists to the higher judiciary, again selectively, to allow some from the original common list to be appointed quickly, while selectively appointing others after a considerable time lag, thereby irreversibly prejudicing their inter se seniority,” he said, alleging that there are more than one very recent examples in respect of a leading high court of the country.
“This government and ruling party has inaugurated an ambience, an atmosphere of fear, trepidation, anxiety and hesitation in the judicial sector by the misuse of dossier raj and oblique insinuations based thereupon. It has tried to prevail upon judicial collegia, as they are always anxious to fill up judicial vacancies. To take advantage of this urgency to fill vacancies, they have constantly tried to prevail upon judicial colleagia to do punitive transfers of judicial authorities perceived as inconvenient,” he said.
“It has attempted illegally and unfairly to interfere, whenever it can and whenever it deems necessary as per its own narrow, party and ideological thinking, with judges and the judiciary in general and the legal process,” Singhvi said, alleging that it has attempted to install a section of judicial personnel vetted by it and its supporters, on impermissible tests of loyalty, ideology and commitment to its own norms.
The Congress leader said that, as far as interference is concerned, there is a non-exhaustive list of “manipulative tactics,” comes the most startling and shocking example from Karnataka which is symptomatic of this extremely deep seated malaise.
He quoted reports of a high court judge saying that he had received a call from Delhi talking about the transfer of a judge, handling the case of an ADGP who is considered “very powerful.”
He said Justice Sandesh has reported the perceived threat to the authorities concerned and this affects the independence of the judiciary and amounts to direct interference in the judiciary and with the dispensation of justice.
Singhvi also cited the tactic of “intimidation” by trolling or launching an orchestrated attack on social media against the members of the bench making observations against an individual. He cited the recent example of Supreme Court making strong and pertinent observations regarding the conduct of a BJP spokesperson.
“We saw the three-pronged attack that has become an all too familiar tool of the ruling dispensation. Savage and faceless trolls spewed fake news and propaganda, an orchestrated letter by ‘intellectuals’ was dispatched and one-sided, and even contemptuous, reporting by sections of the Godi media,” he said.
Singhvi said a sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice Pardiwala, was recently forced to observe that attacks attempted at judges for the judgments will lead to a dangerous scenario where the judges will have to pay greater attention as to what the media thinks rather than what the law actually mandates.
This puts the rule of law on the burner, ignoring the sanctity of the respect for the courts, he said.
“The BJP appears to have empowered its goons with audacity, authority, and reckless over adventurism to intimidate judges,” he said, citing the example of BJP minister Arjun Ram Meghwal making a strong pitch in 2016 in the Lok Sabha for putting a stop to the running commentary by the judiciary against other organs of the state. (PTI)