ON A day the Supreme Court rapped the Union government for delay in appointments to higher judiciary, main Opposition Congress on Friday accused the Centre of eroding and undermining “yet another pillar of democracy” and asked it to listen to the apex court’s “cry of agony.”
The party alleged that the government was using the Memorandum of Procedure as an “instrument of blackmail”.
Anand Sharma, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, which is looking into the “Inordinate Delay in Filling up Vacancies in the Supreme Court and High Courts”, said the situation is unacceptable. “The government cannot hide behind anything now,” he said. “We have examined it (the issue) in detail. We have consulted the stakeholders, the Bar, jurists.the government has made its submission.”
Stating that the Centre is “fully accountable to Parliament” on this issue, Sharma said, it cannot “escape accountability”.
At the AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “We are now seeing a clear attempt to demean, control or otherwise embarrass the judiciary. It is very regrettable that the Memorandum of Procedure is being used by the government of the day as an instrument of blackmail — virtually as much has been said, suggesting that we will not clear appointments on time or we will not clear them except with huge delay unless you — the judiciary — agree to the Memorandum of Procedure proposed by us — the government…”
On the SC’s censure of the government’s delay in judicial appointments, Singhvi said, “We condemn this attempt by the government to erode and undermine yet another pillar of our democracy.”