After SC rap to Centre, Congress attacks govt
On a day the Supreme Court said the government cannot bring the judiciary to a “grinding halt” by not appointing High Court judges, Congress on Friday expressed concern over the apex court’s “cry of agony” and accused the Centre of attempting to “demean” the judiciary.
Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi also said the government is using the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) as an “instrument of blackmail”.
“The state of affairs is shocking. Overwhelming majority of our High Courts have 50 per cent of sanctioned strength...We have again heard a cry of agony from the judiciary as an Institution,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.
Singhvi, himself a senior lawyer, charged the government with attempting to “demean, control...or embarrass the judiciary”.
“It is sad that Memorandum of Procedure is being used by the government as an instrument of blackmail,” he said accusing the Prime Minister’s Office of acting as “File Hold Ministry” in Judicial appointments.
Condemning the government over the attempt to “erode and undermine another pillar of our democracy”, he said “You (the Modi dispensation) can’t have a SC judgement undermined and obstructed by bargaining in this manner on the MoP.”
Noting that India has a famed judiciary, one that is well respected around the world, he wanted the government to realise that its claim of good governance would come to a nought if there are arrears of three crore cases.
“We know this government’s track record in showing its intolerance for dissent. Eroding one pillar, free speech and even press freedom. We have seen its attack on Institutions. We have seen its scant regard on secularism,” he said.
He said the NJAC judgment from SC should have led to quietus. “Suggesting appointments will not be cleared on time, unless Judiciary agrees to the government’s MoP...This is unheard of.”