Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Jaitley accuses Kharge of abusing power of dissent in CBI appointment

Agency News

New Delhi, Feb 3: Union Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday lashed out at the Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge for abusing the power of 'dissent' in the Collegium for appointment of CBI chief and said the right to give such a note should never be made a 'political tool'.

Mr Jaitley also said - Mr Kharge was a petitioner in the Supreme Court himself in support of Alok Verma. "He should have recused himself from the Committee since his views were known. He suffered from a bias and conflict of interest. Yet he did not recuse himself," wrote the Union Minister.

"A dissent should never be a political tool," wrote Mr Jaitley in a blog posted on Facebook from the United States where he is undergoing treatment.

"Dissents are a powerful instrument in democracy. ......The right to dissent is sacrosanct and has to be sparingly used," he wrote adding - "If a dissenter dissents on every conceivable occasion he comes out as a person either motivated by collateral reasons or as a person lacking objectivity".

The strong reactions from the senior Minister in the Modi cabinet comes hours after Mr Kharge alleged that the PM Narendra Modi-led panel diluted the required criteria for the selection of the CBI director, thus violating the spirit of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and the Supreme court guidelines.

In fact, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday evening also sought to target Prime Minister for appointment of Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla as the new CBI boss and compared it with choice of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the offset partner in the Rafale deal.

Mr Jaitley wrote giving a note of 'dissent' is prevalent in judicial pronouncements and also that dissents are also a part of the parliamentary system particularly in the Legislative Committees.

"The dissenter places an alternative view point. Where Monetary policy Committees exists, dissents are occasionally given by Members. Dissent in appointment Collegium are rare but not unknown. I concede to Shri Kharge the right to dissent," wrote Jaitley, an eminent lawyer and also a senior lawmaker in the Upper House of Parliament.

A dissenter represents an 'alternative view point', said Mr Jaitley adding - "a dissenter challenges the majority. He does it on the basis of a call of conscience dictated by his fair mind'.

He puts his dissent on record so that it can be of value to the wisdom of the future generations.

"If a dissenter dissents on every conceivable occasion he comes out as a person either motivated by collateral reasons or as a person lacking objectivity," wrote the Union Minister.

Mr Jaitley also wrote - "When the Leader of Opposition sits as a Member of the Collegium, he sheds off the political colour of his office as much as the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India shall both leave the authority of their respective domains and work exclusively towards appointing or transferring the Director on the criterion of merit or fairness".

The position of Shri Kharge as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, entitles him to sit in the Committee but the political colour of that office has to be left outside.

"Kharge dissents regularly. He dissented when Shri Alok Verma was appointed, dissented when Shri Alok Verma was transferred and has now dissented when Shri R. K. Shukla has been appointed. The only thing constant in the High Powered Committee comprising of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition which deals with the CBI Director’s appointment and transfer, is the Kharge dissent," wrote Mr Jaitley.

It may be mentioned that Mr Kharge had opposed appointment of Alok Verma as CBI chief on January 20, 2017, but later during the row between Verma and Rakesh Asthana - Mr Kharge openly backed Mr Verma and had opposed government's move to replace him from the coveted post.

On the entire issue, Mr Jaitley pointed out that Mr Kharge’s dissent in the matter of the transfer of Alok Verma was "coloured" by his political views.

"Shri Kharge has dissented a bit too frequently. Many may wonder if Collegium’s are workable. The appointment of a CBI Director was never envisaged to be a political battle. Shri Kharge has made it look like one," he wrote. (UNI)