Congress today dubbed as an "error" the appointment of P J Thomas as CVC, but rejected demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling quashing his appointment to the post.
"Absolutely not", was the refrain of party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi in reply to a volley of questions including whether the PM and the HM should quit owning moral responsibility for the appointment of P J Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
"It is completely wrong to politicise what is a legal verdict based on legal considerations......I disagree your generalisation that what is legally wrong is morally wrong", he said. Asked whether the ruling was an embarrassment for the Congress and the government, Singhvi maintained that "error is there and that is why court has intervened in the matter", but stressed that "no malafide has been alleged and no malafide proved."
"Invalidation of the appointment is not a matter of malafide. The error has been set right by a legal judgment. It's a judgement by the highest court and binding on all. We bow down before it", he said adding that it was not correct to attach a motive when validity is found to be lacking.
Singhvi spoke in a similar vein when asked whether Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan should resign owning moral responsibility as he was the Minister of state in the PMO who was involved in the process of appointment of the CVC.
"It is a bonafide error and the apex court has not spoken of malafide even indirectly," he said answering questions including whether the Prime Minister should be above suspicion like Caesar's wife.
Singhvi's argument was that the courts give hundreds of such judgements correcting legal errors by the central and the state governments and in no case motives are attributed. A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, admitted that the judgement has made "negative" impact for the party. "It is not a happy situation that the decision of a panel consisting of the PM and the HM has been struck down'. He dismissed suggestions that it would be a major issue in the elections in the five states including Kerala.