Aspersions should not be cast on Victoria Gowri’s appointment as High Court judge, says Centre
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court dismissed two petitions which challenged the appointment, alleging that she had made offensive remarks about minorities.
Aspersions should not be cast on the appointment of Victoria Gowri as a judge of the Madras High Court, Union minister Piyush Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, reported Live Law.
Goyal, the Leader of the Upper House made the remark in a reply to Trinamool Congress MP Jawhar Sircar’s comments on the appointment during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.
“You say only appropriate persons are appointed as judge,” Sircar said. “Do you consider Victoria Gowri’s appointment to be really an appropriate person, one who has been accused in public of casteist remarks?”
Goyal said in response that Gowri had been appointed following a due process, Live Law reported.
Gowri took oath as an additional judge of the Madras High Court on Tuesday even as the Supreme Court was hearing two petitions filed against her appointment. The court subsequently dismissed the petitions.
On January 17, the Supreme Court collegium had recommended the appointment of Gowri and four others to the Madras High Court. The Centre had notified her appointment on Monday. However, the appointment ran into controversy after social media users, including lawyers, pointed out that Gowri has been a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and has previously made offensive comments about Christians and Muslims.
On Thursday, besides Goyal, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, who was chairing the Rajya Sabha, also played down Sircar’s comments.
“When it comes to judiciary with respect to which judgment has already come, that issue should be kept away,” he said.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that conflict between the judiciary and executive was a part of democracy, PTI reported.
“Within a family, within political parties, there are differences of opinion,” he said. “When there are differences of opinion, there are ways to find solutions to that also. His question was not anything which he wanted to know from the government in terms of any figures or facts.”
Objections against Gowri’s appointment
Last week, members of the Madras High Court Bar had written to the collegium and President Droupadi Murmu, drawing their attention to the comments made by her about minority communities.
The letters had said that Gowri’s “regressive views are completely antithetical to foundational Constitutional values and reflect her deep-rooted religious bigotry”. This, the lawyers argued, made her unfit to be appointed as a High Court judge.
The Madras High Court lawyers referred to two interviews that Gowri gave to a YouTube channel purportedly hosted by the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The interviews are titled “Cultural genocide by Christian missionaries in Bharat” and “More threat to national security & peace? Jihad or Christian missionary?”.
The lawyers also drew the attention of the president and the collegium to an article written by her in the Organiser, the English language mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.