Clear the air, please!
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
New Delhi, 20th December, 2018: The Supreme Court verdict on the Rafale deal that supports government’s decision to clinch it and discourages any questioning of it has turned out to be based on a wrong and misleading account by the government. Naturally, a verdict premised on false information has to be recalled immediately to prevent damage to the integrity and dignity of the highest court.
The Supreme Court judgment said, inter alia, that the CAG report on the deal had been examined by the Public Accounts Committee and a “redacted portion” of the report was placed before parliament and was in public domain.
This submission of the government was a brazen lie that amounted to perjury and a breach of privilege of the court and parliament. The fact is that neither the CAG had examined it, nor given it to PAC, nor was it placed before parliament. It amounted to contempt of court and rendered the verdict of a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi baseless.
In a further Smart Alecky act the government followed up its false submission before the court with a curative petition that claimed that somehow the learned judges had failed to grasp the English language of the government’s submission (or something to the effect).
In short, the government first told a lie to the highest court and misled it to get a manipulated judgment and then tried using what can be termed a “tedious argument of hideous intent” to whitewash its grievous misdeed. Both the Supreme Court and parliament have been sought to be cheated.
Today, there is no resort left for the apex court than to recall the judgment, penalise the government and its officials and condemn the brazen cheating. A notice of contempt of parliament through misrepresentation and falsehood by government should also be brought by the opposition.
Finally, the government would be well-advised not to continue with its post-truth and stop demolishing the country’s institutions. Now that the government’s demolition squad has come to the apex court and parliament it is for these two most sacred institutions to sit up and take a stern note. Only then the air will be clear.