Eminent lawyer Gopal Subramanium today withdrew from being considered for appointment as Supreme Court judge, accusing the Modi government of "brazenly" ordering the CBI to "scrounge" for "dirt" against him to scuttle his appointment.
Subramanium, who had assisted the Supreme Court in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which Amit Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now an accused, said that he was being "targeted" because of his independence and integrity.
Protesting against "a very carefully orchestrated drama" to overcome the recommendation for his elevation, Subramanium said that "outrageous allegations" had been made against him "inspired" by "constituents of high authority".
He suggested that his role as amicus curiae, a friend of the court in the Sohrabuddin case, could have been the reason for government opposing his elevation, although he had no direct evidence.
Congress spokesperson Ameeben Yagnik echoed his charges, saying "Subramanium has been the solicitor general of this country. He has handled a number of cases, he knows the system in and out. That is why he says his independence and integrity may be an issue" she said.
SC lawyer Kamini Jaiswal said, "This is fixing par excellence. We have a fact and case in issue. You cannot ruin a man's character. If he was not competent, five judges of the SC would not have recommended him. The fact that all the people who appeared for the government in cases have been awarded is evidence of that." Questioning the motive of the government, Jaiswal said, "When you are independent and you are not ready to go with the tide, this is what happens."
The current government may be under fire, but senior lawyer in the Supreme Court Sanjay Hegde told CNN-IBN, "This government does not find Subramanium suitable. There have been earlier instances where the government said they will not appoint a person because they come from a particular organisation." Hegde instead took "exception to the way the government has gone about it. All this controversy could have avoided. Instead they chose to question his character."
Hegde said, "If the CBI could trust him to handle the prosecution of Ajmal Kasab and send him abroad for David Headley, then for the government to say no is wrong."
Subramaniam's name had been recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court bench by its collegium along with three others, Chief Justices of Calcutta and Odisha High Courts Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goyal respectively and senior advocate Rohinton Nariman. The other three have been approved.
Meahwhile former CJ of Jammu and Kashmir said, "When a collegium makes a recommendation, the ministry's job is to do inquiries. There are some names that are rejected. It is again for the collegium to consider whether the concerned candidate is fit. That occasion has not been allowed to arise. Subramanium may have over reacted."
Updated Date: Jun 26, 2014 09:06:40 IST