The Opposition on Tuesday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government after the Supreme Court quashed the decision to divest Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma of his responsibilities.

The Congress said Narendra Modi was the first prime minister to have “his illegal orders set aside by the Supreme Court”, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) asked for the prime minister’s resignation.

The Left party said the top court’s verdict “shows how the Modi government has subverted and subordinated every single rule and norm in the functioning of institutions like the CBI, to suit its narrow political interests”.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi claimed that Verma was “removed at 1 am because he was about to begin an investigation in the Rafale scam”, ANI reported. “Now that he has been reinstated, some justice has been done,” he said.

Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted that governments change, but the integrity of the country’s institutions survive. “Let this be a lesson to you about the strength of our democracy and the Constitution,” he said. “Let this be a lesson that howsoever despotic you may be, law catches up in the end.”

He also asked the prime minister if he would “show the courage to return three months of lost tenure” of the CBI chief. “Unless you are afraid of investigation into Rafale scam,” the Congress leader added.

Surjewala’s party colleague Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters outside Parliament that the top court’s order was a lesson for the government, PTI reported. “We’re not against one individual and welcome the SC’s judgement...,” he added. “Today, you will use these agencies to pressurise people, tomorrow somebody else will, what will happen to democracy then?”

Congress leader Kapil Sibal told ANI that the objective of the “operation” to not let Alok Verma function has failed.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti also welcomed the court’s decision and hit out at the Centre.

“SC reinstating CBI director Alok Verma is a direct indictment of the PM,” tweeted Kejriwal. “Modi govt has ruined all institutions and democracy in our country. Wasn’t CBI director illegally removed at midnight to stall the probe in Rafale scam which directly leads to PM himself?”

Mufti said the court’s decision has reinstated people’s belief in the independent institutions of Indian democracy. “Time for the central government to stop misusing its influence to arm twist investigative agencies like NIA [National Investigating Agency] and CBI for political vendetta,” she said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha described the order as a “big slap” on the face of the government.