Let the verdict speakhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/let-the-verdict-speak/

Let the verdict speak

2G case is on,Justice Ganguly should avoid commenting on the ‘meaning’ of his judgment

2G case is on,Justice Ganguly should avoid commenting on the ‘meaning’ of his judgment

The recently retired Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly can look back on his innings with satisfaction — in his own words,he always played “with a straight bat”. He has always upheld the highest ideals of the judiciary — in his interview with this paper,he said he didn’t want any holidays when he died,a reference to the many delays and holidays that hold up the system and clog the courts. He capped his career with the 2G case,which he and Justice G.S. Singhvi had presided over from Court 11 since 2010. Right before he retired,he delivered some ringing judgments in the case — first,ordering that sanctions to prosecute public officials must be granted within four months,and second,cancelling the 122 licences awarded by then telecom minister,A Raja,in 2008.

In a recent interview,Ganguly clarified and nuanced certain aspects of the judgment. He explained that the court had not recommended auctions as the only way to allocate all natural resources and that the criticism of the first-come-first-serve method was confined to the context of the 2G case. He also explained why the judgment has drawn a distinction between the prime minister and his office,why the focus was on Raja’s dodgy decision-making,rather than the cabinet’s collective responsibility.

Ganguly was scrupulous about not going into the “nitty-gritties of the judgment”. He repeatedly underlined that his judgment would not have an impact on the ongoing criminal proceedings against Raja in the trial court. But given the saturation coverage of the 2G case,his most recent comments on the verdict have been splashed everywhere. So,with all due respect,even this trickle of commentary is perhaps avoidable,given that the 2G case is still under judicial consideration. There is a trial on in the lower court and some of the parties affected by the cancellation order have said they intend to file a review or seek the court’s clarification. While Justice Ganguly is free to reflect on his own decisions — and such reflection does richly add to public discourse — it would be advisable to refrain from any commentary while the legal process is on. For,the verdict and only the verdict should speak for itself.