A simple exchange of letters between law minister M. Veerappa Moily and a leader of the Gujarat high court lawyers body has turned into an ugly spat.
It all began with the Gujarat high court advocates’ association president and BJP leader, Yatin Oza’s letter to Moily last month, in which he blamed the minister for not filling up the vacant posts of judges in the high court.
The law minister hit back, virtually terming Oza a liar, and asked him not to spoil the reputation of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace.
In his letter to Moily on June 11, Oza wrote :“To settle your personal score do not treat the people of Gujarat as aliens and the state of Gujarat as not a part of the country.”
He invited further trouble by charging the law minister with being revengeful and “absolutely malicious” towards Gujarat.
Oza’s grouse against the minister was regarding 18 vacant posts of judges out of a total sanctioned strength of 42 in the high court. “Twelve recommendations made by the high court collegium since a year have been pending with the Centre,” Oza stated.
A fortnight later, Moily responded with a strongly worded reply. He slammed Oza for not having done his homework before writing the letter.
“The tenor of the letter reflects total ignorance of the facts and law. I can assure you that there is not even a single proposal which is held up either in my office or in the Department of Justice,” Moily wrote.
“You could have ascertained the facts either with me or with the Department of Justice before writing a letter, which is malicious and politically motivated,” the minister’s replied.
Moily told Oza he should have chosen his words carefully. “Words used by you are not befitting for the president of a bar association which enjoys high reputation,” wrote the minister.
“Gujarat is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi which has always experimented on truth, but your letter reflects the process of experimentation with untruth,” Moily remarked.
Oza has been the president of the association since nine years. He left the BJP to contest against CM Narendra Modi in the 2002 assembly elections, but re-joined the saffron party after suffering a big defeat.