'Rahul above SC?', govt tears into Gandhis over transfer row

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/27/2020 12:47:38 PM Politics

New Delhi, Feb 27: The government has hit back hard and gave point by point rebuttal after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Prianka Gandhi Vadra raised questions over the transfer of Justice Muralidhar.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called the transfer of Justice Muralidhar a "routine" affair. He explained, "Transfer of Hon'ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge, his consent is taken. The well settled process has been followed."

Hitting back hard at the Gandhis who earlier called the transfer "deplorable", the law minister alleged that by politicising the issue, Congress has displayed its "scant regard for the judiciary". He connected it with the party's dismal electoral performance and added, "People of India have rejected the Congress and hence it is hell bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them."

Earlier, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: "The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn't shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad & shameful." Making a case for independence of judiciary, she went on to allege, "Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government's attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable."

Ravi Shankar Prasad minced no word in his reply. "We respect independence of judiciary. Record of Congress in compromising independence of judiciary, superseding judges even of Supreme Court during Emergency is well known. They rejoice only when the judgment is of their liking otherwise raise questions on the institutions itself," he alleged.

Answering to Rahul Gandhi raking up the Judge Loya issue over this matter, Prasad cited Supreme Court order. Without mentioning Rahul Gandhi's name, the law minister asked, "The Loya judgement has been well settled by the Supreme Court. Those raising questions do not respect the judgment of the apex court pronounced after elaborate arguments. Does Rahul Gandhi consider himself above the Supreme Court?"

The row that broke out after the Ministry of Law and Justice on Wednesday transferred Justice S. Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a day he came down heavily on the centre, the government appeared to be as unsparing as the opposition.

Taking a personal dig at the Gandhis, the Law Minister responded, "The Party, which is the private property of one family, has no right to lecture about objectionable speeches. The family & its cronies have routinely used the harshest words against the Courts, the Army, the CAG, the PM and the people of India."

Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Though the transfer was procedural but the day of the government's issuance of notification has sparked off a political row, with the government refusing to let the allegations go unanswered.


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