The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has refused to clear a week-long visit to a US-based institute by Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati. All three have accordingly called off the trip.
They were invited by the Dean Rusk Center for International Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. But the MEA hinted that it was beneath their dignity to go.
“The programme set out at the Dean Rusk Center does not seem to merit the participation of the honourable CJI, honourable minister and Attorney General,” Vivek Katju, secretary (west) in the ministry, said in a letter Bhupinder Prasad, secretary, justice.
Though the letter said that if “the high-ranking personalities” felt it would be undesirable to turn down an invitation already accepted, they could go ahead. It added: “The MEA would like to reiterate that political clearance is not a mere formality and this should be kept in mind before accepting any engagements.”
Though the law ministry refused to comment officially on the matter, a senior official said: “It would have been better if a clear reason had been given for rejecting the visit.”