Skip to main content

Sabarimala: Civil servants ask SC to take legal action against BJP chief's "blatant" contempt

Counterview Desk
As many as 50 retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers have reportedly written to the Election Commission, Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind, seeking action against BJP chief Amit Shah for his speech in Kannur, Kerala, on October 27, he where extended support to those who had been protesting women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple despite the Supreme Court.
“We will uproot this government if it continues arresting people who protested the Supreme Court verdict,” Shah said, asking courts to issue “practical instructions to governments”. Published in a Congress-controlled site, IAS and IFS officers' letter said, Shah’s speech made a “scary reading” and amounts to “gross constitutional misconduct”.

Text of the letter:

We are a group of former civil servants of the All-India and Central Services, who have worked for decades with the Central and State Governments during our careers. We wish to make it clear that, as a group, we have no affiliation with any political party but believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Indian Constitution. We continue to uphold the oath of allegiance to our Constitution we took when we entered service.
Addressing a public meeting at Kannur, Kerala, on Saturday, the 27th October 2018, the President of the main ruling party at the centre made two interrelated comments: That the Supreme Court ought to have issued implementable orders; and, that the State Government in Kerala would be brought down for its temerity to enforce the Supreme Court orders regarding the entry of women from a certain age group into the Sabrimala temple by arresting and suppressing ‘Ayyappa devotees.’
Taken together, these two comments make for a scary reading that the President of the main ruling party at the centre is casting aspersions upon and questioning the lawful authority of the highest court of the land, asking the State government to refrain from implementing the Court’s orders, and is explicitly threatening to bring it down by vigilante action of political workers in the streets by fuelling their religious sentiments. There is also an implicit threat of the dismissal of the State Government by the Union Government.
Under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, framed by the Election Commission India (ECI) under the plenary powers vested in it by Article 324 of the Constitution, the Commission has codified the provisions relating to the functioning of political parties. This Order provides for the registration of political parties and its general bases by the ECI. It also provides for their recognition on the basis of their poll performance in the general elections.
In 1989, the Parliament inserted a new section 29A in the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which provides that the registration of political parties by the Election Commission India (ECI) would involve an additional condition: every political party must include in its constitution/by-laws an undertaking that it ‘shall bear true faith allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India’.
The main ruling party at the centre too has made the necessary insertion of this additional condition in its Constitution. Further, the ECI has the power to suspend or withdraw the recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe the Model Code of Conduct or to follow lawful directions and instructions of the Commission.
It is well within the rights of any individual to critically opine upon a judicial decision without casting aspersions on the juridical intent. Indeed, judicial decisions do vary between one juridical level and another, and also from one bench to the other in the High and Supreme Courts. There is a due process in place to seek redressal from a decision that has caused one to feel aggrieved; this even applies, in some cases, to the decisions taken by a particular bench of the Supreme Court.
There have also been instances of legislative interventions in the Parliament by the executive to countermand an inconvenient judicial decision within the parameters set out in the Constitution. It is not open to any individual, group, or a political party to subvert the due constitutional process by threatening street action or adverse political action by the Union executive.
The cited public speech of the President of the ruling party at the centre amounts to a gross Constitutional misconduct. It is likely to have far-reaching adverse implications for our national polity if it passes unnoticed. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has been a great votary of strengthening federalism during his long innings as the Chief Minister of one of India’s frontline states.
As a Prime Minister, he has enthusiastically spoken of the cooperative federalism among the Union and the States. Therefore, the cited content of the public speech of the powerful President of the ruling party is as worrying as it is inexplicable even in the present times when political discourse touches a new low every day.
We respectfully ask:
  • The ECI to take cognisance of the cited public speech by the President of the main ruling party at the centre, to seek necessary explanations from the political party concerned, and to initiate thereafter such steps as deemed fit for defending the sanctity of the Constitution and of the laws made thereunder; 
  • The Head of the Government, the Hon’ble PM, to counsel his party President as appropriate and to categorically delink the executive’s support of his cited public speech. 
  • The Hon’ble Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of its contempt in such a blatant manner at a public forum, and to proceed forthwith with necessary legal action. 
  • The Head of the State, The Hon’ble President of India, to give his sage counsel to all concerned to maintain constitutional decorum and to enforce the corrective executive action to rectify its breach.

Comments

Ram Nagina said…
I extend my support for the demand of ex-Civil Servants

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.