The allegations of former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju echoed in both Houses of Parliament on Monday with the AIADMK charging the DMK and the previous UPA government with an interference in the appointment of a Madras High Court judge.
While the AIADMK group leader M Thambidurai raised the matter in the Lok Sabha during zero hour, his counter-part in the Rajya Sabha, V Maitreyan, led the protest by party members, forcing an adjournment of the Upper House twice during question hour.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her senior party colleagues had been visibly exercised over the issue since morning when Thambidurai made an unsuccessful attempt to raise it during question hour. Congress deputy leader Amarinder Singh, Shashi Tharoor and Jyotiraditya Scindia could be seen repeatedly browsing through the rule book as well as the Constitution and confer with her.
The whole lot was on their feet as soon as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed him to speak during zero hour. They tried to interrupt him, but Thambidurai went ahead.
“It is a serious matter,” Thjambidurai said, claiming “the previous government and the DMK interfered in the appointment of a Madras High Court judge.” He said, “The Law Minister should respond to the allegations made by Katju. We urge him to hold an enquiry… to find out who is the judge, how DMK pressured the previous government by saying the government will fall…” All the AIADMK leaders were on their feet, some of them in the aisle, as he spoke and demanded a statement from the government. Though Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was present in the House, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she could not compel the government to make a statement during zero hour.
In the midst of a ruckus, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu pleaded with the Speaker to permit Amarinder Singh to raise a point of order. Mahajan ruled against it. However, she allowed Amarinder Singh to speak provided he did not refer to the rule book. The point Amarinder sought to make was that the Constitution did not permit a discussion on a Supreme Court or a High Court judge in the House. Mahajan said she had not permitted a discussion and allowed Thambidurai to only make a special mention.