Congress hits out at SG for remarks in SC in migrants case

It also questions court’s ‘silence’ over reconstitution of a Gujarat HC Bench that had criticised govt handling of COVID-19

The Congress on Friday criticised Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s arguments in the Supreme Court in the migrant workers case and questioned the court’s ‘silence’ over the reconstitution of a Bench of the Gujarat High Court that had come down heavily on the State government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reported spat yesterday between the Solicitor General and a former minister is a new low in the rapidly declining quality of Court room discourse . The Solicitor general has no purpose or right to interrogate a Senior Counsel wishing to assist the court in a matter of overarching public interest as to his contribution to the cause,” former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said in a statement.

“A law officer, as an officer of the Court cannot seek to diminish another officer of the Court in the exercise of his professional rights nor was the Counsel right in dishing out a monetary sum as his contribution, consistent with the finer traditions of charity,” he stated.

Mr. Kumar questioned the top court’s decision not to allow Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala as a petitioner in the case.

“Political parties being integral to the processes of democracy, which is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution, cannot be foreclosed from agitating issues of public importance before a Constitutional Court. In this context questioning the locus of Randeep Surjewala to be heard was wrong and the Court’s decision in this regard based on the statement of the Solicitor General is clearly questionable,” he said.

Also read: Congress to launch “Speak Up” campaign on economic crisis created by lockdown

Mr. Kumar described Mr. Mehta’s remarks about the High Court becoming ‘parallel governments’ as “intemperate, and not expected of a Law officer, even as Govt is entitled to question the judgment of the High Court before the apex Court”.

Sibal’s comment

Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was one of the lawyers Mr. Mehta argued with, tweeted: “Sad but true. A law officer in the Supreme Court dealing with the plight of migrants epitomized by the images in the public domain said : Journalists are vultures and High Courts are running parallel governments. This is politics not law!”.

Mr. Surjewala also targeted the Solicitor General for the arguments made in the court and questioned the court’s ‘silence’ over the reconstitution of a Bench of the Gujarat High Court.

He said in a tweet, “Modi Govt’s ‘New Definitions’ in SC-1. ‘Some High Courts are running a parellel Govt’ 2. Those criticising the govt are ‘prophets of doom’. 3. Cites instance of a journalist as ‘vulture’. A prelude to complete ‘Autocracy & Abdication of Constitution’! No wonder the High Court Bench holding Gujarat Govt accountable for abdication of duty & turning hospital into a ‘dungeon’ is suddenly changed. Can there be a greater ‘travesty of justice’? Why is SC silent on such rank subversion of justice?”.

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