Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Congress rushed to pick Ranjit Sinha for CBI top job? BJP says

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Thursday reacted to Supreme Court's rebuke to CBI chief Ranjit Sinha by saying that Congress owed an explanation as to why it picked him to head the premier investigating agency despite then leaders of opposition in both Houses, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, cautioning against the move.

Party spokesman Nalin Kohli emphasized that the UPA government chose Sinha to head the CBI hours before the recommendation of a parliamentary committee that the CBI director be appointed by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, leader of opposition and Chief Justice of India was tabled in Rajya Sabha.

"With the apex court finding that there was credible evidence about Sinha seeking to scuttle the probe into mega scams involving top functionaries of UPA, the reason for the arrogant hurry becomes clear," Kohli said, recalling that Sinha was censured earlier for getting the law minister to vet the agency's findings about alleged complicity of Manmohan Singh's PMO in 'Coalgate' before they were submitted to the SC.

"The embarrassing events in the court on Thursday have validated our stand that the UPA government was keen to dodge the recommendation to end the monopoly of the government in the appointment of the CBI chief to install someone who would do their bidding," Kohli said.

Interestingly, suspended BJP member of Rajya Sabha Ram Jethmalani and Patna Saheb MP Shatughan Sinha had backed UPA's choice for CBI chief.

Swaraj and Jaitley had objected to Sinha's appointment and written to then PM Manmohan Singh that it be kept in abeyance. Referring to the parliamentary panel's recommendation for appointment of the CBI chief through a collegium, Swaraj and Jaitley had told the PM, "This is a matter of record that hours before this recommendation (of the select committee) was tabled on the floor of Rajya Sabha, the government has chosen to appoint a CBI director for a period of two years. We must record our strong disappointment and disapproval of this act of the government."

Kohli said BJP's plea for reconsideration of the decision was "rudely rebuffed" by the UPA government, as he termed the SC's decision to take Sinha off the 2G probe an embarrassment to the previous regime. 
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Sid Harth
However, CNN-IBN, legal editor, Ashok Bagriya felt that the sanctity of the judiciary must be maintained at any cost. "Justice RM Lodha made a very strong statement today. Whether we have A or B system, the judiciary should not be compromised. We have to get into the whole spectrum of corruption and deal with it once and for all," Bagriya said.
Sid Harth
Another representative form the judicial fraternity, former additional solicitor-general B Bhattacharya did not agree that the collegium system needs to be changed.
Sid Harth
Besides the Constitutional Amendment Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also introduced an enabling bill -- the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014.
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The BJP spokesperson's comment assumes significance as the Centre which is keen to scrap the collegium system, introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to establish a six-member body for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts.
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"There is little doubt that there is corruption in the judiciary. I don't understand if an individual is a jurist why he or she cannot be tried under the Prevention of Corruption Act. What is so sacrosanct about them? Where is the equality before law? A status quo to the current system is not correct. If the system has a problem then there must be changes," Mittal said.
Sid Harth
BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Mittal, who participated in the debate, expressed surprise as to how the judiciary can consider itself above the law.
Sid Harth
Katju's collegium can of worms: Why not fix a system that is broken? by FP Staff Aug 12, 2014 08:41 IST Former Supreme Court justice Markandey Katju who has been on a one-man bid to expose corruption in the judiciary struck again yesterday, by authoring two blogs within a span of 24 hours in which he sought not only to highlight corruption in the high seats of judiciary but also expressed disappointment over the alleged reluctance from the highest judicial authority to take firm action. In the first of his blog posts Katju wrote that then CJI Kapadia had not taken action against a Judge in Allahabad, despite finding through phone taps, that he was corrupt: Supreme Court of India. Reuters Katju's argument is that corruption is rampant and even well-known but, "most Chief Justices of India are reluctant to expose corruption in the judiciary thinking that this will defame the judiciary, and so they prefer to bury corruption under the carpet..". The former Supreme Court judge's spate of expose through his blogs has even managed to shaken up his ex-colleagues and juniors so that today Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, after dismissing a plea challenging the collegium system, said that there is a concerted campaign to defame judiciary and bring it to disrepute in the public eye. "Don't shake the confidence of the people in judiciary," he said. "Collegium system has not failed." Whatever may be the objective of Katju's blogs, the series of exposes has made everyone sit up and take notice, given that they come from a former insider. "I believe he should have written a long blog saying everything together. Why is he saying it in bits and pieces? Why is he also stopping short of naming the judges? When there is a criticism of the inadequacies in the collegium system, it is an aim to get the best appointments in the judiciary by pointing out the flaws. Criticism of the collegium system is not a criticism of the judges per se. Judiciary should not be hyper sensitive," former additional solicitor-general R Ramachandran told CNN-IBN during a debate.
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Markandey Katju's revelation: Congress says govt insulting collegium TNN | Jul 24, 2014, 04.01AM IST NEW DELHI: Congress defended Markandey Katju, its appointee as Press Council of India chairman, at every step when the former Supreme Court judge triggered controversies with his comments. But the equations seem to have changed with the party seeing motives in his bombshell that the government had lobbied to retain corrupt judges. With the controversy over Katju's claim refusing to die down, the opposition party sees an orchestrated plan to humiliate the judiciary, hinting at the hand of the Narendra Modi government. "This is an insult to the collegium (of Supreme Court) and it should not be engineered by any political party," AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said on Wednesday. Ahmed said UPA government too wanted a judicial commission to bring about transparency in the appointment of judges but what had been kicked off by Katju was entirely different. "We also believe in transparency in appointments, but not by humiliating the collegium which the present government is doing on one pretext or another," he said. He said there were insinuations in political circles that "very important and influential people in the government" were involved in the controversy. Asked if he meant that the former judge was in cahoots with the government, Ahmed said Congress suspected so. In a signed column in TOI, Katju said the government had pressured the judiciary to retain a judge suspected of corruption despite indictment by a discreet inquiry. It was said to have been done under pressure from UPA ally DMK. It has since come to light that the PMO had written to lobby for the judge. Congress sources said the government was using the former judge's shoulders to discomfit the judiciary. Though it is still early days for the NDA regime, the apex court has already embarrassed the Centre on a couple of occasions. Many believe such attacks, as levelled by Katju, are a ploy to put the judiciary on the defensive.

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