As the battle between the warring Number 1 and Number 2 of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reaches the Supreme Court, with its director Alok Verma — who was sent on 'leave' on Wednesday along with the special director Rakesh Asthana — challenging the government's decision, the feud has now taken up an important constitutional question that will be argued in the apex court.
Further, as the battle reaches the highest court in the land, it will also witness a clash of legal luminaries.
Given that Verma is represented by India's towering jurist and legal luminary Fali S Nariman, and in Asthana's corner is former attorney-general and senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, one can expect things to hot up in the courtroom.
On the other hand, the government will be defended by Attorney-General KK Venugopal — who will be representing the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — and by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta who will be the council for Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC).
The constitutional history of India bears testimony to the fact that when constitutional questions are being argued in the Supreme Court, it is the presence of the legal veterans and their passionate arguments that have led to landmark judgments. It is worth recalling how during Kesavananda Bharati versus State of Kerala, there were several heated exchanges between two constitutional luminaries.
There were several instances of heated exchanges between NA Palkhivala who was representing the aggrieved petitioners and HM Seervai and Niren De who appeared for the State of Kerala and the Union of India respectively.
It will interesting to see how the arguments shape up with Nariman — a legal giant who has been practicing law for 67 years and has argued before 32 chief justices — and Rohatgi — senior counsel, known for his razor-sharp arguments — going head-to-head.
The 'legal eagles' representing the government form an equally notable list. Apart from the eminence that the post of attorney-general adds to Venugopal's name, he is a widely respected constitutional expert whose legal knowledge can be ascertained from the fact that he was appointed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to serve as the constitutional advisor when drafting the Constitution of Bhutan.
Venugopal has also held the office of additional solicitor-general in the Morarji Desai government in the 1970s and has been a part of many landmark cases in his career spanning more than 50 years. His legal eminence can also be gauged from the fact that he was appointed amicus curiae to assist the Supreme Court in the high profile 2G spectrum case.
Mehta, who will be representing the CVC has served as additional solicitor-general till recently and was appointed solicitor-general earlier this month.
Updated Date: Oct 26, 2018 11:13 AM