Friday, July 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

LS, RS adjourned on Jethmalani issue
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, July 27 — A vociferous Opposition stalled proceedings in both Houses of Parliament today over the Ram Jethmalani issue demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister on the charges levelled by the former Law Minister against the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General.

Both Houses were thrown into turmoil by a determined Opposition, which forced small adjournments before finally leading to the Houses being adjourned for the day. The members sought to know the nature of the documents presented as annexures by the former Law Minister along with his statement.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned more than two hours ahead of schedule with the Opposition demanding the prosecution of Mr Jethmalani. The Lok Sabha, after witnessing pandemonium twice earlier was finally adjourned for the day amidst noisy scenes immediately after it reassembled at 4 pm.

Lok Sabha members were also seen urging the Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, to direct the Prime Minister to come to the House to clarify the matter. Several members from the Congress and the RPI even trooped into the Well of the House demanding the presence of the Prime Minister.

In the din, Trinamool Congress members were heard making a demand for President’s rule in West Bengal in the wake of today’s clashes in Bankura district in which 11 persons were killed.

The Speaker finally adjourned the House after his repeated appeals to the members to restore order in the House failed.

Earlier the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the second time shortly after it reassembled after the lunch recess with the Opposition members seeking an explanation from the Prime Minister over the growing confrontation between the Executive and the Judiciary.

Congress Deputy Leader in the House, Mr Madhavrao Scindia, who had raised the issue said the trend was unhealthy and pointed out that what was purported to be confidential information was being allowed to be leaked through the media. He said the Prime Minister was directly accountable for the happenings of the past three days.

The Congress was joined by the CPM and ADMK in demanding a statement from the Prime Minister on the issue.

Amid noisy scenes the Speaker asked Mr Pramod Mahajan to make a statement on the issue. As Mr Mahajan was making a statement the CPM members entered the Well of the House seeking a statement on the killings in West Bengal.

Further attempts by Mr Mahajan to make a statement also failed as the Congress members also moved towards the Well of the House. Amid the pandemonium, the Speaker adjourned the House till 4 p.m.


Jethmalani attacks CJI, AG
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, July 27 — Mr Ram Jethmalani, who quit as the Union Law Minister after the directive of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today made a scathing attack on the Attorney-General, Mr Soli J. Sorabjee and the Chief Justice of India, Dr A. S. Anand.

Releasing a 17-page statement explaining his resignation from the Union Cabinet, which he wanted to read out in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jethmalani told a crowded press conference that Mr Vajpayee’s action to relieve him of his ministerial office was based on a “carefully orchestrated campaign unleashed against me”.

Giving details of his highly strained relationship with Mr Sorabjee and “differences” with the Chief Justice of India, he alleged that Mr Sorabjee had tendered advice to the Hindujas, accused in the Bofors case, even when the CBI was investigating them and also charged him with “pliancy” in advising the government to issue a notification transferring AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha’s cases to special courts.

“He (Mr Sorabjee) put himself in a position of conflict of interest. The Attorney-General has a lot to explain how he decided to give opinion to a party (Hindujas) who has serious conflict of interest with the Union of India which he represents,” Mr Jethmalani said.

The former Law Minister released the statement to the press after Rajya Sabha Chairman Krishan Kant asked him to modify his statement in the wake of Opposition from members that he was seeking to make public confidential and secret documents.

Accusing Mr Sorabjee of charging the government lakhs of rupees for giving advice on the telecom policy, he said, “When my ministry raised objection that these fees are not permissible under rules, I was asked to amend the rules and I had put up a note on the file that the rules be amended.”

“Ultimately the payment was made even without amendment of the rules... this is not the only instance when such extraordinary fees were charged and had to be paid,” he said.

A shocking illustration of the Attorney-General’s “pliancy” is provided by the notifications which were issued in pending cases against Dr Jayalalitha, he said.

“Notifications were issued on the advice of Mr Sorabjee transferring the cases from the normal courts to other courts more congenial to AIADMK chief Jayalalitha. I tendered my resignation. Ultimately these notifications were declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court,” he said.

“It is therefore, not difficult to see that my being Law Minister is certainly not congenial to the Attorney-General,” he said.

Maintaining that his relations with the Chief Justice of India were “extremely cordial”, he said the only difference between him and the Chief Justice was over the appointment of retired Judge B. M. Lal as Chairman of the MRTPC.

Dr Anand wrote to me, citing two Supreme Court judgements, that he should have been consulted before the appointment of the MRTPC Chairman, which was contradicted by me saying those two ruling do not apply to the selection of the MRTPC Chairman, he said.

“His Lordship persisted with his demand for consultation. He acknowledged that the rulings cited by him were not applicable but he said their spirit was.... My firm answer was that before I consent to this deviation from the past practice I would have to consult my other colleagues in the Cabinet,” he said.

“Later I had a cordial meeting with Dr Anand and thought the matter was settled. But I thought wrongly. The Chief Justice thinks that I am pertinent. Yes, I do not easily surrender the privilege of the executive merely to keep a Chief Justice happy and contended. If that is impertinence, so be it,” he said.

Referring to the Chief Justice’s remarks during the hearing on a petition seeking implementation of the Sri Krishna Commission Report, Mr Jethmalani said “the propriety of the Chief Justice in making the observations which he did on July 21 is questionable.”

Pointing his fingers towards Mr Sorabjee, he said, “Had the Attorney-General done his duty, the Chief Justice would not have himself delivered the observation that my government was not a civilised government and the notion of collective cabinet responsibility was totally missing.”

“The Attorney-General should have advised the Prime Minister that the so called harsh observations of the Supreme Court are tentative and do not reflect the judgement of the court. But he appeared instead to have expressed agreement with these observations first in court and thereafter publicly on the mass media, creating an environment conducive for Mr Vajpayee to act as he did,” he said.

Maintaining that he did not blame the Prime Minister at all for what happened, Mr Jethmalani was upset that before asking for his resignation and till date, “Mr Vajpayee did not even have telephonic conversation with him.”

While I was a minister, Mr Vajpayee used to give me hardly any time. My only meeting with him used to be in Cabinet meetings, though “I several times demanded more time for me and my department”, he said.

Mr Jethmalani had faxed his resignation to the Prime Minister from Pune on July 22, when Mr Vajpayee asked him to quit the Cabinet in the wake of the Chief Justice of India’s remarks against him and other ministers for their views on Bal Thackeray case.Back


AG didn’t advise Hindujas on Bofors: Govt

NEW DELHI, July 27 (UNI) — The government today denied allegations levelled by former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani against Chief Justice A S Anand and Attorney General Soli Sorabjee.

Reacting to Mr Jethmalani’s remarks against the CJI and AG at a press conference this afternoon, Law Minister Arun Jaitely told newspersons that the government completely disagrees with the remarks made against CJI and AGI .

Defending the judicial officer, he said even the remark made against Mr Sorabjee for giving consultancy to Hinduja’s and a telecom company, were wrong. Mr Sorabjee had given consultancy on the issue of counter guarantee for the Andhra Pradesh Power Project, being set up by Hinduja’s, and not on the Bofors case as reported in the media.

Mr Jaitely said the Rajya Sabha Secretariat yesterday asked the government to give its opinion on the papers filed by the former Law Minister to the office of Rajya Sabha chairman.

The government communicated to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat that some of the papers submitted by Mr Jethmalani were marked secret, particularly communication between the CJI and the Law Minister. So these papers could not be laid on the table of the House.

The Rajya Sabha secretariat had communicated the same to Mr Jethmalani and he had decided not to make a statement in the House.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |