Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ex-Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph’s claim about alleged interference in administration of justice by the apex court, alleging that the ‘chowkidar’ had made a judge his “court-puppet”.
Gandhi further said it was the bad luck of the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman), a term he often uses for Modi, that there was no dearth of honest judges who do not allow “arrogance of power to prevail over truth”.
The Congress president’s attack follows a sensational claim made by the recently retired judge Joseph that the previous Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was “remote-controlled by an external source”.
Justice Joseph, however, did not elaborate on who the “external source” was and which were the cases in which administration of justice was affected.
There was no immediate reaction from the government or the BJP, while Misra has also not reacted to the allegation.
“The chowkidaar had made a Supreme Court judge his ‘court-putli’ (court-puppet),” Gandhi tweeted.
“It’s chowkidar’s bad luck that there is no dearth of honest judges in the country for whom truth is always bigger than power and who do not allow arrogance of power to prevail over truth. The country is proud of such judges,” Gandhi added.
Later, at a press conference, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also raised the issue, saying, “We want to ask the prime minister who was remote-controlling (the ex-CJI). If you know then tell the people and if you don’t know then order an inquiry.”
“It has been proved that our impeachment motion was based on facts,” Sibal said.
In April, the Congress and six other opposition parties had moved a notice for the impeachment of then CJI Misra, accusing him of five counts of “misbehaviour” and “misusing” authority.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had rejected the ‘impeachment motion’.
“They also alleged that I did not want that hearing should take place (in the Ram temple case), but they do not know that I did not appear in the case after December 2017...the hearing was continuing in the Supreme Court,” Sibal said.
Joseph was among the four senior judges of the apex court who had staged an open revolt against former CJI Misra by convening an unprecedented press conference on January 12 to flag their concerns about preferential allocation of sensitive cases to judges low down on the top court’s hierarchy.
Justices J Chelameswar, who has since retired, Ranjan Gogoi, the current Chief Justice and Madan Lokur were the other judges.
The Congress had on Monday said Justice Joseph’s remarks proved its allegations against the government of interference in the highest levels of judiciary and demanded separate parliamentary and judicial inquiries into the matter.