Why is the Modi Govt losing cases in Courts? What is wrong with its Legal team?
Why is the Modi Government legal team looking inept in the Courts? The latest goof-up was the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s own historical narratives on Kohinoor diamond. Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit were stunned to hear the blunders of the Solicitor General of India, who is supposed to state the Government’s stand in Court. Within hours after he described that the Kohinoor diamond was a gift and that India cannot ask the United Kingdom to return it; sensing a backlash, the Government corrected its stand. This begs the question as to who advised the second highest ranked Law Officer of the country to make such a sloppy argument? Was it deliberate or a lack of preparation that made him look like he knew neither history nor law? The irony is that Ranjit Kumar is considered a Constitutional expert!
What is Ranjit Kumar’s background to be appointed as the Solicitor General? He was counsel for the Gujarat government and amicus curiae in several cases in the Supreme Court. And he belongs to the coterie of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who allegedly, practically controls the Law Ministry. The Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, who practiced law many years ago, cannot be called a Legal Eagle by any stretch of the imagination. It appears as though all the lawyers in the government’s legal team including Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi owe their allegiance to Jaitley. Most of the legal team of government including Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar can be seen at morning walks of Arun Jaitley in Capital’s Lodhi Garden. People in the know say that entry to this powerful club requires one to show up in Lodhi Garden in a track suit and start networking.
Take the case of bail applications of Teesta Setalvad. It is alleged that the government lost this because of the shoddy presentation by this legal coterie. The team gave the distinct impression that raising their voices in the court makes up for lack of substance. Is this hubris because the legal team thinks that its proximity to Jaitley makes it immune from any strictures?
In the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case, Attorney General Rohatgi was often seen exercising his vocal chords to the fullest. He was ridiculing the Judges and even addressed a lady Judge in an inappropriate manner. And ultimately what happened? The government suffered an embarrassing defeat. The NJAC Act was drafted in haste. The Political leadership used their power by trying to pass a law with which they could control the judicial appointments. And failed miserably.
What did the Congress party, which supported Modi government in the NJAC Act do? The day after the Supreme Court scrapped the NJAC Act, they made a U-turn. From a distance, it appeared to have been stage-managed to guarantee a defeat for the government. Who advised Prime Minister to poke into Judiciary’s powers to appoint judges? What was the need for annoying the judiciary?
This legal team messed up in the case of Sec 66A of Information Technology (IT) Act too. Why did the BJP Government support UPA Government’s most hated action by the internet-using-people?
It does not take rocket science to figure out that the same legal team used questionable judgment by filing an affidavit to prosecute BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for “hate” speech. Even the UPA Government headed by Sonia Gandhi did not have the courage to do so. It is alleged that neither the Home Minister Rajnath Singh nor the Law Minister Sadananda Gowda were aware of this dubious affidavit which was later withdrawn after Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened.
Recently the legal team kept quiet on the need for the daily hearing of Ram Mandir case. All methods of procrastination were used in filing Central Government’s opinion on providing basic amenities to pilgrims going to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in Swamy’s case.
Except in the cases of tax evaders or corporate crimes, Rohatgi has never been seen arguing any serious case. Why was such a person chosen as the Attorney General (AG) of India? As he had appeared for several accused in corruption cases during UPA regime, Rohatgi can’t appear as Attorney General for Government in such cases. Why then did Modi Government appoint such a handicapped person is a million dollar question. Like Harish Salve, Rohatgi too handled the case of Italian marines for Italian Government. The irony is that he became the AG of government led by Modi, who during elections thundered that he will never leave the killer Italian marines for shooting poor fishermen. But the fact is that the Italian marine case is almost dead and the accused have reached Italy and to add insult to injury India agreed for an international arbitration. The lawyers of the accused Italians – Salve got Padma Bhushan from Modi Government and Rohatgi became AG.
The need of the hour is for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appoint a legally knowledgeable man as the Law Minister (there are rumors of an imminent re-shuffle) and put a full stop to all these goof ups and failures. A knowledgeable, thorough and professional legal team is a must for the remaining three years of this government.
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