Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday questioned the Supreme Court's criticism of the CBI, triggering a political debate on whether judges should make oral comments against other institutions while hearing cases in open courts.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh during a press conference in Lucknow. PTI
Singh's comments brought the focus back on the bill to discipline erring judges, which is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The bill titled - Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 30 last year and is now pending before the Rajya Sabha,includes a clause, which debars judges from making oral comments against other constitutional authorities in open courts.
Responding to the Supreme Court having called the CBI a "caged parrot", Singh said such a description by the judiciary amounted to belittling important institutions.
"I have never belittled the judiciary. But then my only request to the judiciary is that the off-the-cuff observations unfortunately create headlines, and at the same time the person against whom such remarks are made does not get the opportunity to appeal against these observations," Singh said.
"If the SC feels the heart of the coalgate report was changed by the law minister (Ashwani Kumar), then it should pass a judicial order. Observations do not fix responsibility," he said.
BJP slammed Singh for what it termed "blaming" the country's top court. "If the CBI's morale has been downgraded, it is only because of its rank abuse by the government.
The CBI was deliberately not allowed to take up a fair investigation," said party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
CPI leader D Raja too said, "Leaders like Digvijay should understand that no constitutional body should be attacked."
However, both BJP and Left were represented in the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, which in its report in November 2011, had included the clause to treat unwarranted oral comments by judges against other authorities as judicial misbehavior.