Criticising Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s “unwarranted advice” to the judiciary,Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley today said the motivation behind his criticism was the “frustration of a loser”.
Jaitley said the “ill-advised” suggestion made to the judiciary by Singh has come when corruption of UPA government is being investigated by CBI and monitored by the Supreme Court and did not come when the SC had ordered monitoring of Gujarat riots cases.
“The likes of Digvijay Singh welcomed that monitoring. It is only when the corruption of the UPA government is being investigated by CBI and monitored by the Supreme Court that monitoring of investigation is now being termed as constitutionally unacceptable. Such arguments of convenience have very little place in a meaningful public discourse,” Jaitley said in an article.
He was commenting on Singh’s reacton to the apex court’s stinging criticism of CBI for the vetting of probe report on coal mines allocation scam.
Defending the Supreme Court comments on CBI,Jaitley said the same have come after government did not succeed in enacting a Lokpal and liberate CBI and has been “slow and reluctant” to do so.
“CBI gets belittled when it bends before to political pressure and conducts a pliable investigation. On the contrary,when the court discovered this pathetic plight of CBI,its investigation had to be monitored.
“The delinquent minister had to resign. The officials are still struggling for what reply to give. The government is nervous. The order of the court has indicated that either the government prepares a legislative plan to insulate CBI or the court could issue specific guidelines…If CBI is made more independent,it does not get belittled. On the contrary,it is strengthened,” Jaitley said.
The opposition leader said “the agency has been misused against political rivals. The agency has been used to pacify leaders of Samajwadi Party and BSP in order to contribute to the longevity of the government. The relationship between CBI,the government and the ruling party has become too close for comfort.”
Jaitley said in the investigation relating to allocation of coal blocks,”the judges got an impression that the agency was not being fair and honest” and its status report to court had been “doctored” and heart of the report was “altered”.
“Sustained grilling and oral observations compelled CBI to admit that the Law Minister and officials of PMO and Coal Ministry had made important deletions and changes in the report. The changes were significant. Here was a pliable CBI quite content with the executive,including the possible suspects,altering the status report,” he said.
Jaitley said over the years,the CBI has “belittled itself” while government has actively contributed to this process and “the image of the CBI has touched a rock bottom.”
The BJP leader said it is permissible to discuss on the correctness or otherwise of a Supreme Court judgement,and judgements can be debated as courts can go wrong.
“Criticism or comment which is intended to improve the functioning the justice delivery system is always welcome.
However,the motivation behind this criticism cannot be the frustration of a loser. This regrettably appears to be the impression that Digvijay Singh has conveyed,” he said,adding that Singh is “known to speak out of turn”.
Jaitley said when the government or investigating agency is going wrong,oral observations nudge them into correction.
“In a case like the coal block allocation investigation,a combination of oral observations coupled with a detailed written order blend judicial activism with restraint and statesmanship. The two together contribute to the administration of justice,” he said.
“If judges ever heeded to Digvijay Singh’s ill-advised suggestion of not speaking in court,hearings would become dull and often lead to miscarriage of justice since an opportunity to correct erroneous impression would be lost,” Jaitley said.