New Delhi: Efforts to “delegitimise” the judiciary were a troubling new development, and aimed at reducing its standing in the public eye, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Wednesday, addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
She also said the government’s “stubborn” refusal to allow any discussion in Parliament on Chinese incursions have left the House, the political parties as well as the people ignorant about the true situation on the ground.
Sonia spoke at length about the country’s “distressing economic situation”, then rounded up with her appreciation of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, led by son Rahul Gandhi.
She described the country-wide march as a “unique outreach” and a “matter of pride”. She urged Congress MPs from both Houses and every party man and woman to build on the Yatra’s momentum and to ensure that the dialogue with the people continued.
‘Calculated attempt underway to deligitimise judiciary’
Elaborating on her comments about the judiciary, Sonia Gandhi said a “calculated attempt was underway” to delegitimize it.
She added: “Ministers — and even a high constitutional authority — have been enlisted to make speeches attacking the judiciary on various grounds. It is quite clear that this is not an effort to provide reasonable suggestions for improvement. Rather, it is an effort to reduce the standing of the judiciary in the eyes of the public.”
Gandhi was referring to a series of statements made by Law Minister Kiren Rijju on the method of selection of judges and also the vacations enjoyed by the judiciary.
President Droupadi Murmu has also called upon the executive, judiciary and legislature to have “one thinking” for the country and one of the issues she highlighted was the decongesting of jails. Murmu was speaking in the presence of Rijiju and Chief Justice of India, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
‘Lack of China debate disrespect to democracy’
In her lengthy criticism of the government’s alleged refusal to allow a discussion on border incursions by China, Gandhi highlighted among other things, the trade deficit with the dragon and the need for debate to shed light on critical questions — such as, why is China “emboldened” and why the lack of an economic response to China’s military hostility.
Gandhi said: “The refusal to allow a Parliamentary debate on such a matter of grave national concern shows disrespect for our democracy, and reflects poorly on the government’s intentions. It demonstrates the inability to bring the nation together.”
She added: “On the contrary, by following divisive policies, by spreading hatred and by targetting some sections of our society, the government makes it harder for the country to stand up as one against foreign threats.”
Gandhi also said it was the duty of the government to inform the public and explain its policies and actions, stressing that it has been the country’s tradition to take Parliament into confidence whenever there was a significant national challenge.
After welcoming her successor Mallikarjun Kharge to his first CPP meeting as party president, Gandhi spoke about the country’s economic distress, inflation and unemployment as some of its significant internal challenges, alongside external ones such as China.
She said: “The price of daily commodities continue their intolerable rise, placing a heavy burden on crores of households. The inability to provide jobs, especially for the youth, has been a feature of this government’s tenure. Even as the Prime Minister hands over appointment letters to a few thousand, crores more face an uncertain future with government vacancies unfilled, exams unreliable and PSUs being privatised.
“Small businesses, which generate the bulk of employment in the country are still struggling to survive after the repeated blows of demonetisation, a poorly-implemented GST and a mismanaged response to the COVID pandemic.”
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