Go to court

Congress response to the National Herald case casts unflattering light on the party.

By: Express News Service | Updated: December 10, 2015 8:29 am
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi at Youth Congress' national convention to mark the 98th birth anniversary celebrations of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI Photo) Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi. (Source: PTI Photo)

In disrupting Parliament over the National Herald case, the Congress displays extremely bad form, and worse judgement. The Herald case is in the court and the party must submit to the due process it so loudly swears by.

This means that Congress leaders must respect the court summons and explore the legal avenues to defend themselves. By all accounts, there are serious questions that the Congress needs to answer on the manner in which The National Herald was bailed out and its assets brought under the control of a company promoted by four party leaders, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. By attributing motives to the judicial proceedings instead, and stalling Parliament, the Congress embarrasses itself and Jawaharlal Nehru, the founder of The National Herald and a stickler for parliamentary etiquette and political propriety.

The Congress’s apparent strategy — of turning an issue that belongs in a court of law into a political battle to be fought in Parliament — blurs the lines between the parliamentary institution, the party, and the family that rules it. Clearly, much of the party’s anxiety and conspiracy-mongering in the matter has to do with the fact that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are among the accused. But why should these or other party leaders be exempted from a court appearance if the judge considers it necessary? In fact, in stoking a clamour over the court summons to the Gandhis, the party may be lending substance to the charge that for the party, the Gandhi family has always been, and continues to be, more equal than others. Party leaders, especially Sonia Gandhi, have sought to draw parallels between the post-Emergency legal challenges that Indira Gandhi faced from the Janata government and the Herald case. But the charges that have come to haunt the Congress have to do with the period when it was in power. Its cries of vendetta politics or imputations that it is ranged against the might of state power
now seem diversionary.

Admittedly, the Herald case can potentially take the sheen off what its supporters have read as an upturn of sorts in Congress fortunes — the party found itself on the winning side in Bihar and it also has the power to withhold its cooperation on the crucial GST bill from the government. Yet, the Congress may be scoring a self-goal in turning a civil dispute into an existential political battle and thereby turning the spotlight more fully on what can be seen as the questionable management of the family heirlooms. The party needs to urgently rethink the wisdom of its strategy.

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    abhishek rawat
    Dec 10, 2015 at 3:46 am
    never supported the BJP, but the Cong is clearly in the wrong in this..not only is it violating parliamentary propriety, by questioning the legality of the case, it is also undermining the judiciary, which should be applauded for taking a brave, if yet unproven stand....
    1. S
      Dec 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm
      The behaviour of the Khangress MP's in the parliament was not only comical but amusing also.The court has issued a summons to the Dynasty and the members are blocking the business of the House in support of the Dynasty,disregarding they are elected to Debate and Discuss and not indulge in slogan shouting like T U labourers. I wish the Judiciary takes notice of this criminal behaviour of the Legislators and steps into the ring by taking suomotto action to resotore Democratic credibility
      1. H
        Dec 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm
        Ab aaya hai oonth Pahad Ke neeche.
        1. Hanamant Kulkarni
          Dec 10, 2015 at 5:09 am
          King can do no wrong - Congress party in general, and hi family in particular, seems to believe in this old adage. Maharajas of yore were prosecutors and the judge and never accused in their own court. But in democracy, judiciary is a separate eny. By disrupting the proceedings of the parliament, Congress party is holding the nation to ransom. After all, what the Congress expect of the Speaker or Chairman to do, when they stoop in the well of the house? Then what is their demand against Government? Can the Govt. take away the criminal case filed by Subramaniam Swamy? If the party feels that it is vindictive and battle politically, okay. Do it outside the parliament. If it wants to raise the matter in the parliament, that is also okay. Do it by giving due notice. Further, the matter pertains to top leaders in their individual capacity. Congress party has nothing to do with the allegation. We have never in the past witnessed any political party behaving in this fashion when an individual leader is accused of corrupt practice. Everyone has co-operated with the investigating agencies and the Courts. In fact, the world over, there have been umpteen instances when political heavy weights were made accountable and were humbled by judicial processes. Hence, I do agree with Indian Express that – in disrupting parliament over National Herald case, Congress displays extremely bad form and worst judgment. The party loudly swears by due process of law, now it is time for submitting to it. LET THE PARLIAMENT FUNCTION. The Hon’ble President has in the past often said that debate, amend and defeat and not disrupt. Now he may reiterate, his wisdom addressing in particular Congress party.
          1. J
            Dec 10, 2015 at 5:58 pm
            Good that at least you have come forward to crticise the "family" - Congress party workers/supporters/voters should introspect if they are around only for the sake of these few individuals?
            1. Load More Comments