Calls media reports quoting IB and CBI
Deevakar Anand | June 26, 2014
After being rejected from a list of four names recommended for appointment as supreme court (SC) judge, top lawyer and a former solicitor general during the UPA government Gopal Subramanium, has lashed out at the Modi government saying it is “not entitled to judge” his character after having seen him in public and professional domain for over 34 years.
He called the controversy over his name a "serious constitution aberration" and "orchestrated drama" for political reasons, in a nine-page letter to the chief justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha, Subrmanium said: “The fact that such attempts could be made (by the government) discloses not only a falling standard in constitutionalism, but obviously one encouraged by certain accommodative participants.”
While the government cleared the names of Calcutta high court chief justice Arun Mishra, Orissa high court chief justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and senior advocate Rohinton Nariman for elevation to the SC judge, it reportedly sent the name of Subramanium for reconsideration.
Subramanium has asked the SC collegium not to reconsider his case and has withdrawn his consent to be appointed as judge.
He has attached the Modi government’s denial to clear his name as judge with his role in the investigation of the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Sheikh was shot by the Gujarat police in 2005. He said he has been targeted because he was involved in that case as amicus curie and that led to murder charges against Amit Shah, former Gujarat home minister and close-aide of Narendra Modi.
Subramanium has also termed the media reports about averse feedback on him by the intelligence bureau (IB) and central bureau of investigation (CBI) to the government as “malicious insinuations based on half truths, and appear to be a result of carefully planted leaks aimed at generating doubts in the minds of the collegium and of the public as to the suitability and propriety of appointing me as a judge of the SC”.
Reportedly CBI’s report to the government cast aspersions on Subramanium’s role in the 2G scam where it alleged he met scam’s prime accused and former telecom minister A Raja’s lawyer and violated protocol. Subramanium has denied the charge.
He has also rubbished the charge that he was gifted the rights to use a swimming pool at a five-star hotel in Delhi by Niira Radia, a lobbyist for some of the top telecom firms in India.
In the letter, he has said that his independence as a lawyer had caused apprehensions that he would not toe the line of the government and “this factor has been decisive in refusing” his appointment.
Former supreme court judges V.R. Krishna Iyer has expressed his disappointment over the episode.
“Mr. Subramanium is a sound lawyer with great integrity and will be a tribute to the supreme court bench if he is installed as a judge. However, to eliminate him from the post will be an indefensible disaster, a disappointment which the country need not suffer at all,” Iyer’s office said in the statement.
He has appealed the Modi government to reconsider its decision not to approve Subramanium’s elevation as SC judge.
A senior advocate of the SC who did not wish to be named said, “The collegium recommends only those bar members for elevation to the position of a judge who it strongly thinks fits the suitability and propriety standards. Subramanium’s rejection by the government is disappointing for the lawyers and the judges.”
Meanwhile, Subramanium has decided not to practice in SC till the time the incumbent CJI Lodha demits office “as a mark of respect” since he did not become a judge after being invited to the bench by the SC collegium.
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