Friday, Nov 21, 2014

‘Past few weeks have raised serious doubts as to the ability of the executive to respect the independence of the judiciary’

While harmony between different organs of the state is a desirable feature, the functionality of each organ is meant to have different, defining characteristics. While harmony between different organs of the state is a desirable feature, the functionality of each organ is meant to have different, defining characteristics.
Posted: June 26, 2014 12:13 am | Updated: June 26, 2014 12:18 am

Over the past two weeks, quite a few media reports have voiced the Union government’s reservations about my appointment. These reports speak of alleged adverse reports against me by the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI. I must say that these media reports are malicious insinuations based on half-truths, and appear to be a result of carefully planted leaks aimed at generating doubts in the minds of the collegium and of the public as to the suitability and propriety of appointing me as a judge of the Supreme Court. l am fully conscious that my independence as a lawyer is causing apprehensions that I will not toe the line of the government. This factor has been decisive in refusing to appoint me. I may add that on 15th May 2014, the IB had given me a clean chit.

The IB has sought my advice on sensitive matters of national security for over 25 years (including during the previous NDA regime). In fact, the then Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, used to treat me with much courtesy. The CBI has also consulted me on numerous occasions (before, during, and after my tenure as law officer) and I continued to have been its lead lawyer even after my resignation from the post of solicitor general. One wonders why the CBI would repeatedly engage me as lead counsel over the past 20 years if there was any doubt. I have reliably learnt that the ministry of law and justice initiated an inquiry after May 15, 2014, with a clear mandate to find something to describe me as unsuitable.

Further, media reports have alleged that I had convened a meeting between CBI officers and the counsel for a person who was a suspect at the time in the 2G case. This is factually incorrect. CBI officers never met with T.R. Andhyarujina (senior advocate) at my home or office in connection with the 2G case, or even otherwise. I must add that I had asked officers of the CBI, within the course of a briefing conference in the matter, to tell me whether their investigation had revealed anything against the former telecom minister, so that an incorrect stand might not be taken before the Court. This meeting was conducted separately. I may add that I had advised the then prime minister, subsequently, to allow an investigation by the CBI into the conduct of the then minister, notwithstanding the disposal of the writ petition relating to arbitrary allotments. The prime minister accepted my advice. That I was motivated by the highest sense of assisting the Supreme Court in the matter may be seen from the fact that I had written continued…

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