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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kapil Sibal’s hypocritical theatrics: “No hope from SC” on odd days, “SC only hope to save democracy” on even days!

The hypocrisy of Congress leader Kapil Sibal was on display in the Supreme Court (SC) as he pleaded with the bench to set aside former Maharashtra governor BS Koshiyari’s decision calling for a trust vote for Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government to prove its majority. He is appearing along with Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of Uddhav Thackeray.

“When we enter this courtroom, we are in awe of its aura and come with a lot of hope. You (SC) are the only hope for 1.4 billion people in this country. You (SC) cannot allow decimation of democracy in this uncouth and un-civilised manner”, Sibal melodramatically proclaimed. Interestingly, he termed the governor’s decision as ‘unconstitutional’.

Not surprisingly, the Congress leader opined that BS Koshiyari had enabled an ‘unholy conspiracy to topple an elected government’. What he completely overlooked was the illegitimate manner in which Uddhav Thackeray formed the MVA by ditching the BJP and thereby allowing Congress and NCP a backdoor entry into the Maharashtra government after they had been rejected by the people of the state.

There was more melodrama as Sibal asked the SC to step in and ‘save democracy’. “I am absolutely certain that without the intervention of this court, our democracy will be in danger because no government will be allowed to survive. It is with that hope that I beseech your Lordships to set aside the governor’s decision (to ask Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister to face a vote of confidence)”, Sibal argued.

“The history of this court is a history of celebrations, to the lone exception of ADM Jabalpur (the 1976 judgment by a five-judge bench which, by a four-to-one majority, had upheld the suspension of fundamental rights during the Emergency). I wish and hope this (the Maharashtra issue) is an equally significant case, a moment in the history of this court when the future of democracy will be determined”, he said while concluding his arguments.

Sibal who now sees ‘hope only in the SC’ had himself targeted the apex court and said that he had no hopes and expectations left from the SC. He made the remarks while speaking at an event titled ‘People’s Tribunal on the Judicial rollback of Civil liberties’ in the Constitutional Club on August 6 last year.

“You have to come on the streets. If you think that the Supreme Court will give you justice, you are gravely mistaken. I am saying this with 50 years of experience. The court where the judges are made through a process of compromise, the court which has no system of who will hear what kind of cases, the court where the CJI decides that this matter will go to this bench when the case will go when it will be heard- there is no system- that court can never be independent”, Sibal said.

“I have also worked in this court for 50 years, I don’t like that I am saying these things about the courts, but the time has come. If we don’t do it, who will? The reality is that whichever sensitive matters are there in which we know there is a problem- they are listed before selective judges. When they appear before the court we know what the result is going to be”, remarked Sibal.

He was clearly upset with the apex court’s decision in the Zakia Jaffri and PMLA cases. “The point that I am making is what kind of confidence will you have in a system when the laws of this nature are upheld by the Supreme Court, how can you have confidence in that system?” Sibal said with regard to the SC’s PMLA judgment.

Following his controversial remarks, two advocates wrote to the Attorney General (AG) of India KK Venugopal requesting the initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Senior Advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal.

“Mr Kapil Sibal has directly made allegations with intent to disgrace and scandalise the sitting judges of the highest court, the Supreme Court, of our country. The statements by Mr Sibal have scandalized the judgments passed by the Supreme Court judges and accused the judges of being corrupt”, Advocate Vineet Jindal noted in his letter.

“This is becoming a common trend and setting the wrong precedence that lawyers with political affiliations use the judiciary as a means to push their political agenda thereby criticising the Court and the whole legal system by making reckless allegations against judges who do not decide cases in their favour”, Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha said in a separate letter while seeking consent from the AG to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Kapil Sibal.

This wasn’t the first instance when the senior Congress leader had lashed out at the SC. “In recent years free speech and how it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court has not allowed the space that is constitutionally permissible to it. When the judiciary turns a blind eye to ex facie violations of the rule of law one wonders why an institution designed to protect the rule of law allows the rule of law to be infringed with open eyes”, he had said in an interview with news agency PTI in July last year.

It would be apt to point out that Sibal who constantly attacked the SC had the temerity to deem Law Minister Kiran Rijiju’s comments on the apex court ‘unacceptable’. “As far as the law minister’s (Kiren Rijiju’s) attacks (on Supreme Court) are concerned, they are driven by the desire of the government to have the final say in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary”, Sibal said in December last year.

Basically, according to Sibal, only he and his ilk have the right to criticize the SC at will and it becomes unacceptable when others do so. Moreover, such is their sense of entitlement that they will lash out at the SC and its judges if the judgments are not to their liking and express ‘faith and hope’ in the SC when they want to ‘curry favour’ with the judges.

(Featured Image Source: The Indian Express)

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