New Delhi: The government has hit back hard and gave point by point rebuttal after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka 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 politicizing 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 the independence of the 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 the independence of the judiciary. Record of Congress in compromising the independence of the judiciary, superseding judges even of the 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 the Supreme Court order. Without mentioning Rahul Gandhi's name, the law minister asked, "The Loya judgment 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 center, 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." (IANS)