Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back at Rahul Gandhi on Sunday for his claim about the huge pendency of cases in courts and the shortage of judges, saying the government’s notice to Cambridge Analytica for data mining has unnerved the Congress president.
“Legal system collapsing under Pending Cases: Supreme Court 55,000+, High Court 37 Lakh+, Lower Courts 2.6 Crore+. Yet, a staggering 400 High Court and 6,000 Lower Court judges not appointed, while Law Minister preoccupied peddling fake news,” Gandhi said on Twitter on Saturday, using the hashtag “JudiciaryDemonetised”.
Hitting back at Gandhi for the tweet, Prasad said judiciary has never been made part of any political debate in the country. He also said that in 2016, a record 126 high court judges were appointed in one year, which he claimed was highest since independence “The tradition of the country has been that even in case of extreme political hostility, we keep judiciary aside, and we should continue to do so,” Prasad told PTI.
He wondered whether Rahul’s tweet on judicial pendency was a result of “nervousness” after government’s notice to Cambridge Analytica for data mining. Gandhi’s attack had come after Prasad accused the Congress of hiring the services of the controversial data firm, accused of harvesting data stolen from Facebook, in previous elections. The charge has been denied by the Congress, which instead accused the BJP of using the services of the firm.
“Should we suspect that the notice to Cambridge Analytica and the promise of a vigourous action has unnerved him, made him angry and also apprehensive,” the BJP leader said. Gandhi had also taken a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the delay in appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.
“Justice K M Joseph, overturned President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. When his name was proposed for the Supreme Court, Modi ji‘s ego was hurt. Approval of over 100 judges, cleared for the Supreme Court and various High Courts are now on hold. #JudiciaryDemonetised(sic),” he had said in another tweet. Reacting to it, Prasad had tweeted: “Mr Rahul Gandhi, maintaining your track record your team has failed you once again by not doing their homework. Average appointments of High Court Judges under UPA-1 was 86 per year, and in UPA-2 it was 79 per year. Under NDA it has been 109 per year.”
“In 2016 a record 126 High Court Judges were appointed in one year- highest since independence. Since May 2014 NDA Govt appointed 17 SC Judges, 326 HC judges & made 304 additional judges permanent & also created 173 new posts of High Court Judges, compared to 20 created in UPA 2,” he said in another tweet. “Mr Rahul Gandhi, pendency is the legacy which UPA Govt of 10years had given us where judicial infrastructure development was the lowest priority. We r (sic) improving the situation by creating more infrastructure, more digitization & greater technology application in disposal of cases,” he wrote. The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in levelling charges and counter-charges over using the services of the controversial data firm.