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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

‘Our judgment not to be played around with’: Supreme Court cautions Centre

The Supreme Court frowned at the way the Enforcement Directorate was treating citizens was not right.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2019 14:03 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Enforcement Directorate appeal against release of Congress leader DK Shivakumar on bail.
Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Enforcement Directorate appeal against release of Congress leader DK Shivakumar on bail.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Enforcement Directorate appeal against release of Congress leader DK Shivakumar on bail, with an observation that the way the federal agency was treating citizens was not right. “This wasn’t the way to treat citizens,” Justice RF Nariman remarked before dismissing the ED’s appeal.

As the judges were wrapping up the case, the Centre’s second most senior law officer Tushar Mehta made one last attempt to ask the court not to dismiss the ED appeal.

Justice Nariman responded with a sharp warning.

“Please read our dissenting judgment in Sabarimala. Our judgments are not to be played with. Tell your government that our judgments stand,” Justice Nariman shot back.

Also Watch l Constitutional power shouldn’t be misused: DK Shivakumar on ED case 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was taken aback, and assured the judges that “all Supreme Court judgments are taken seriously”.

Justice Nariman was one of the two judges who had delivered a dissenting verdict on dozens of review petitions filed against the court’s 2018 Sabarimala judgment. Justices Nariman and DY Chandrachud, who had favoured rejection of the review petitions against allowing women to enter the temple, had also delivered a strongly-worded message to lawmakers and governments that they did have an option but to implement the Supreme Court orders.

Justices Nariman and Chandrachud had taken a stern view of the protests against the original judgment and ordered Kerala government to comply with the ruling. “Organised acts of resistance to thwart the implementation of this judgment must be put down firmly,” the two judges said.

“After all, in India’s tryst with destiny, we have chosen to be wedded to the rule of law as laid down by the Constitution of India. Let every person remember that the ‘holy book’ is the Constitution of India, and it is with this book in hand that the citizens of India march together as a nation, so that they may move forward in all spheres of human endeavour to achieve the great goals set out by this ‘Magna Carta’ or Great Charter of India,” the two judges said.

But much of this message appears to have been lost. The Kerala government, which had earlier taken special measures to ensure that women who wanted to go to the temple could still come in, signalled that the government won’t encourage women to gate crash the temple.

“It is proper to maintain the status quo at the temple. The government is all for peace,” temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters at a press conference in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

DK Shivakumar, the senior Karnataka Congress leader, was last month released on bail by the Delhi High Court in a money laundering case. The judge had ruled out any chance that he could tamper with evidence, pointing out that the 57-year-old lawmaker belonged to the opposition and not the ruling party. By then, the seven-time MLA Shivakumar had spent nearly two months in jail on charges of money laundering.

The Congress has alleged that the case against Shivakumar, which has its origins in raids carried out by the income tax when he had hosted Gujarat lawmakers in 2017, was part of an elaborate exercise by the two agencies to target the senior leader.