The appointment of a ‘tainted’ judge in Madras High Court in 2005 echoed in Parliament for the third day on Wednesday with AIADMK asking former PM Manmohan Singh to break his silence.
Both houses of Parliament saw stormy scenes with AIADMK MPs questioning the political intervention by then UPA ministers in the appointment. “Manmohan Singh owes an answer to the country. He should break his silence. His silence only confirms the allegation,” said AIADMK’s V Maitreyan. He also sought a statement from law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on the issue. The government responded in the Rajya Sabha saying it was looking into the matter.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu echoed similar views. “His (Singh’s) silence is an indication that there is something to hide. In the interest of justice, the former PM should make a categorical statement about what exactly happened. Was he really under pressure?” he asked.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha too, with AIADMK leader M Thambidurai demanding to know the names of the DMK ministers involved. He cited reports that the former prime minister’s office was involved in the judicial appointments.
Rajya Sabha’s deputy chairman PJ Kurien said the former PM was not liable to answer.
Hitting out at the NDA government, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said, “UPA too wanted more transparency in the appointment of judges but not by publicly humiliating the collegium as the Modi government is doing.”