Concern over judiciary
The Congress on Saturday expressed concern about the judiciary, saying institutions tasked to protect democracy and the basic rights of citizens have at times failed to respond adequately and timely.
“There has been institutional subversion and the institutions which are tasked with upholding constitutional democracy and delivery of justice, to protect the basic rights of the citizens, have been weakened,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said at a news conference.
“We have expected throughout that the judiciary of this country, being the custodian of the statute, shall protect its foundational values and citizens’ rights,” the leader said.
Sharma continued: “There are concerns that timely intervention and deliverance is not taking place. It is on multiple counts. What is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is of utmost importance. Citizens feel dismayed. Constitution bench has been formed but hearing has not started. The delay raises questions. Issues that should be taken seriously, at times are not dealt with properly.”
Choosing his words carefully to avoid direct criticism of the Supreme Court, Sharma said: “There is an atmosphere of fear. Citizens rely on institutions to protect democracy. It is not about individuals and parties. If people’s faith in institutions is shaken, it will cause a huge damage to India’s democracy. Institutions have to act without fear or favour. Delivery of justice and administration should be done without fear or favour.”
The Congress spokesperson also spoke of “a targeted vendetta” against leaders of the Opposition.
“Without going into details, there can be differences of views, ideologies, but in a democracy, the rights of all citizens are guaranteed under the Constitution. These concerns are bona fide concerns. There is a targeted vendetta unleashed by this government that is directed at Opposition parties.
“Many eminent citizens are in jail; Congress leaders have been singled out — be it former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram or former Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar. There are other examples.
“We have a question to ask. Are there two sets of rules and two sets of laws in India — one which governs the Opposition and one which benefits the ruling party leaders?”
Asked if he was questioning the credibility of the judiciary and saying it is not doing its job, Sharma said: “These are not my words, I am only saying the judiciary and other institutions have a huge responsibility of protecting constitutional democracy.”