Playing safe, the Congress on Monday distanced itself from the swipe its senior party leader Digvijaya Singh took at the Supreme Court for making “off-the-cuff observations” on the CBI, during a hearing on the coal scam probe report vetting issue.
In an interview to IBN7’s Teekhi Baat, while defending the indefensible conduct of ousted Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and the government, Digvijaya Singh said, “I respect the Supreme Court very much, but the kind of off-the-cuff observations they make…are they right? If they put it in writing or issue an order, we can appeal against it.”
When in the interview it was pointed out to Digvijaya that the CBI Director, Ranjit Sinha, has endorsed the view of the SC that the investigative agency was indeed being treated like a “caged parrot” by its political “masters”, the Congress leader retorted, “The CBI is also accountable to someone.”
If that was not enough of a dig at the apex court, Digvijaya went on add, “Who is the Supreme Court answerable to? To the Constitution. Can Supreme Court make law?” In fact, alleging that the “concept of court” provision gives the judiciary a leg-up on the politician.
But the Congress turned the other way and expressed “respect’’ for the court. Worried that the party and the government would get the wrong side of the stick, the party quickly distanced itself from Singh’s bravado on Monday.
Even though it allowed Digvijaya Singh’s remarks and the debate on the balance of power issue to take grip of the public attention for a while.
Following the interview given to Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla, telecast in IBN7, the media rushed to the Congress general secretary on Monday morning, when he again took another dig at the SC for its “caged parrot”observation.
Digvijaya said “the public in general should question”, whether “by calling CBI a parrot in cage, then a Central Administration Bench in Bangalore calling the IB a chicken…are we not belittling our institutions.’’
However, the Congress was not ready to take the debate forward, not officially at least. All the party’s newly appointed spokesperson, Meen Afzal, said was that “Digvijay Singh is such a big leader, if he has said something he must have said it with due deliberation. Only he can explain what he has said.”
Afzal also the Supreme Court’s words are respected by all including the government and the media, “Even you do not comment on that.”
Without giving a specific answer on whether the party endorses Digvijaya’s remarks, Afzal said “The party’s view is only that whatever observations the Supreme Court has made, they should be taken seriously”.
Joshi, Sibal take charge
Road Transport and Highways minister C P Joshi on Monday took the additional charge of the Railways minister within a gap of nine years. Last time, he got the additional charge of the ministry in September after the Trinamool walked out of the government. Newly-appointed Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday said his main objective was to make the legal procedures less cumbersome, in order to spur economic growth, which would create the right ambience for the UPA.