Thursday, March 3, 2011

Supreme Court verdict a slap in the Face of PM, Home Minister: Dr. JP

The Lok Satta Party today termed the Supreme Court judgment declaring the appointment of Mr. P. J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner as a slap in the face of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.

Welcoming the historic verdict wholeheartedly, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told a media conference the verdict also demonstrated how aberrations in democracy can be corrected peacefully and with dignity with the intervention of the judiciary. Dr. JP congratulated former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngodoh and the Center for Public Interest Litigation, the petitioners who challenged the appointment.

Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, S. Manorama and K. Gita Murthy took part in the media conference.

Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta Party had opposed Mr. Thomas’ appointment because he as a top official in the Telecom Ministry had opposed a CBI inquiry into 2 G spectrum allocations – the biggest scam in India’s history -- with a view to preventing facts from coming to light. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister brushed aside objections raised by BJP leader, the third member in the appointments committee, and went ahead with appointing a person who opposed investigation in a mega scam to a body which is supposed to eradicate corruption.

Dr. JP accused the rulers of weakening, instead of strengthening the Central Vigilance Commission which Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri constituted within three months of the Santhanam Committee on corruption submitting its report. That appointments to key posts have come up for judicial scrutiny is another welcome development, said Dr. JP.

Dr. JP said that people who lose faith in governments, legislatures and political parties look to the judiciary and other constitutional mechanisms to render them justice. That is why the Lok Satta Party has been silently striving for the creation of a National Judicial Commission with powers to appoint persons of probity and integrity as judges without any political interference and to remove corrupt judges.

However, in the long run constitutional mechanisms cannot be a substitute for effective functioning of legislatures. Members of the legislatures should view them as supreme institutions for discussing subjects ranging from the demand for a Telangana State to the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal Verdict.

Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court judgment in the appointment of the CVC, Dr. JP has written to Governor ESL Narasimhan suggesting that he nominate competent people irrespective of their party affiliation. (The Governor has to nominate four persons). As per the Constitution, only those known for their social service or for their proficiency in education, science and technology and literature should be nominated. The Council shall not be converted into a political rehabilitation center, he warned.

Replying to a question, he said that all agitations ultimately hurt people. For instance, the non-cooperation movement by Government employees hurts people looking for livelihood under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Movements against freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution are nothing but an assault on democracy, Dr. JP said.

Dr. JP hoped that the Union Government would cancel the 2g spectrum licenses without waiting for the Supreme Court in the case filed by the Lok Satta and others.

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