In his first public remarks on the unprecedented faceoff between the Chief Justice of India and the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said that the government and political parties must stay out of the issue and that the judiciary is capable of resolving its problems.
“Main manta hun mujhe is poore vivad se khud ko door rakhna chahiye. Sarkar ne bhi door rahna chahiye. Desh ke rajneetik dalon ne bhi door rahna chahiye. Hamare desh ki judiciary ka bahut hi ujjwal itihaas hai. Weh bahut hi saksham log hain. Woh mil-baith karke apne samasyaon ko samjhenge, samadhan karenge. Aur mujhe hamari is nyay pratha-pranali par bharosa hai. Zaroor koi na koi rasta nikalenge,” Modi said in an interview to Times Now news channel. (“I believe I should stay away from this whole controversy. The government must also stay away. Political parties must also keep out of it. Our country’s judiciary has a very bright past. They are very capable people. They will sit together, understand their problems and find a solution. I have faith in our justice system. They will certainly find a solution.”)
The government has been largely silent on the turmoil in the Supreme Court, brought out in the open by an unprecedented press conference on January 12 by Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who questioned the conduct of CJI Justice Dipak Misra, especially over allocation of cases. Since then, the CJI has met the four judges, but they are yet to arrive at a solution.
In the interview, the Prime Minister also indicated that the next Union Budget may not be populist, saying it’s a “myth” that the common man expects freebies and sops from the government.
“The common man expects honesty, he expects to get what he deserves. He doesn’t demand sops and freebies. It is our myth. And I trust the common man of the country. We run the government, take decision to fulfil their need and aspirations. And we are tackling obstacles and marching ahead,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also rejected the Opposition charge that jobs are not being created and asserted that the government was open to changes in the GST to make it a more efficient ‘one-nation-one-tax’ system.
Replying to a question on his slogan of a Congress-free India, the Prime Minister said it was not aimed at eliminating the main Opposition party politically but ridding the country of the “culture”.
“When I talk of a Congress-free India, I am talking of that culture. Even if a politician is going in an aeroplane, people cringe. How did this happen, when there are politicians who work for over 18-20 hours for the benefit of people? It’s not in just one party, it is in every party. But still that is the perception of people… So the term ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, which I have coined, is to put an end to that culture. I would accept even now, even the Congress needs to be Congress-mukt and other parties also need to prevent themselves from slipping into that culture. I am not talking about a particular group or party here, I am talking about that culture,” Modi said.