The Congress on Monday called for parliamentary and judicial inquiries after former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph claimed “someone from outside” controlled former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra while he was in office, PTI reported. Joseph retired on November 29.
“There were several instances of external influences on the working of the Supreme Court relating to allocation of cases to benches headed by select judges and appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts,” Joseph had told The Times of India in an interview published on Monday. “Someone from outside was controlling the chief justice of India, that is what we felt. So we met him, asked him, wrote to him to maintain independence and majesty of the Supreme Court. When all attempts failed, we decided to hold a press conference.”
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said his party’s suspicions of interference at the highest levels of the judiciary have been proved true. “No less than a Supreme Court judge who demitted office a couple of days ago has expressly articulated the grave threat to India’s highest judicial institution,” Singhvi said at a press conference in New Delhi. “Justice Joseph has in clear and unequivocal terms talked of the arbitrary bench selection, external influences, by implication remote controls, and political biases injected into the system by the government of India, by the ruling party.”
Singhvi said that while the judiciary can deal with Joseph’s allegations in an appropriate manner, the Congress is concerned about the accountability of the government. He demanded a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The nation rightfully wants to know the true nature, the true extent, the degree and the subject matter of the interference of the government,” the Congress leader said. “We further condemn this unconstitutional, invasive and illegal effort by the government.”
Singhvi claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is known for its “dirty tricks department” and for interfering in universities and independent institutions such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Lokpal and the Central Information Commission. The Congress leader said inquiries should find out which cases were interfered with and the people responsible.