Govt eroded dignity of law officers,deserved apex court rap,says Jaitley

Mounting a fresh offensive on the government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s observations on the CBI sharing its probe status report on coal block allocation scam with the government,BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday charged the UPA with denigrating the institution of the law officers by using it for “political management”.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 1, 2013 2:07:01 am

Mounting a fresh offensive on the government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s observations on the CBI sharing its probe status report on coal block allocation scam with the government,BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday charged the UPA with denigrating the institution of the law officers by using it for “political management”. He demanded that the CBI should have a panel of advocates independent of the government.

“The rap that the government received from the apex court on this issue was well deserved,” the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said as his party reiterated the demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

Interestingly,BJP chief Rajnath Singh in a statement issued in the evening accused the government of shying away from owning moral responsibility for making large-scale changes in the report,but did not demand the PM’s resignation,merely asking him to tender an apology for desecrating the dignity of constitutional institutions. He,however,demanded that Ashwani Kumar should step down.

In a scathing attack,Jaitley said that in the last few years “the CBI control has gradually moved from the government to even the functionaries of the ruling party”. “By controlling the process of appointment,transfers and holding out temptations for the future,the government has frustrated all attempts to make the CBI independent and autonomous,” he charged.

Jaitley recalled that the BJP had submitted a note to the Parliamentary Select Committee which was looking into the Lokpal Bill on the issue of autonomy and independence to the CBI. “In our recommendation,we had suggested that the panel of lawyers who appear and advise the government must be independent. They must be appointed by the Director of Prosecution in consultation with the Lokpal,” he said,adding that “the Select Committee diluted our suggestions” and the Cabinet further diluted the recommendations of the Select Committee.

“At that stage,we had not visualised this ugly battle between the Attorney General and Additional Solicitor General. Yet,we were aware of the fact that a lot of government’s political management in sensitive cases is being done through the offices of the law officers. The stature and dignity of the law officers has been gradually eroded. It has been compromised,” he said. “In most cases where government or public servants are accused,the government cannot choose the prosecutors. The UPA government has denigrated the institution of the law officers. It is this failing institution that has today embarrassed the UPA government,” he added.

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