Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has slammed the Congress for attacking the Modi government over stalling the appointment of Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court, alleging that it was the opposition party which had a “record” of meting out “unfair treatment” to the judiciary.
In a fresh confrontation with the judiciary, the government told the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its proposal to appoint Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court, saying the elevation may not be “appropriate”.
The Congress criticised the government move saying that the independence of the judiciary “is in danger” and asked if it would now speak in one voice to state “enough is enough”.
Responding to the Congress’s criticism, Prasad told reporters, “The whole record of the Congress party is littered with instances of superceding judges who were found to be inconvenient… the legendary judge HR Khanna who gave the dissenting judgement during Emergency and upheld the freedom of Indians was denied the post of Chief Justice even for two months and superceded by a junior.”
He alleged that the “real provocation” for imposition of Emergency was a judgement of the Allahabad High Court against Indira Gandhi. “They (the Congress) have meted out unfair treatment to the judiciary during their rule,” Prasad said.
The minister said leaders of the BJP had fought for freedom of press and judiciary during the Emergency. “That is our commitment. We have fought for the cause of independence of the judiciary, Congress should stop lecturing us,” he said.
The government rejected the Supreme Court recommendation citing various reasons, including seniority. But it appointed senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the Supreme Court.