Union minister Ashwini Choubey cautions judiciary to avoid conflict with legislature
A Buxar woman, Kiran Jaiswal, had lodged a complaint against Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey after she found a wellness centre closed a day after he had inaugurated it on September 15.Updated: Oct 14, 2018 19:32 IST
Furious at a criminal case lodged against him on the orders of a local court in Buxar earlier this month, Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Saturday cautioned the judiciary not to fuel conflict with the legislature.
“If you allow confrontation, you must remember that as public representatives, we make the law, and you are its custodian. Do not allow anyone to make a mockery of law because democracy will not survive if you allow it to happen,” Choubey said while speaking at a programme to release the analytical report of National Health Profile-2018 in Patna.
The Union minister of state for health and family welfare vented his anger after a court in Buxar ordered the filing of an FIR against him and two others, including Congress MLA Sanjay Tiwari and civil surgeon Dr KK Lal on a private complaint by a woman. The minister said he would not seek bail as he did not require one.
A Buxar woman, Kiran Jaiswal, had lodged a criminal complaint against the minister after she found a wellness centre closed a day after Choubey had inaugurated it on September 15. The minister, in his inaugural speech had claimed that the wellness centre would function 24x7. However, the woman found it closed when she visited there to consult a doctor at 11pm on September 16, prompting her to lodge a complaint against the minister for making false claims. The police registered an FIR on October 5.
At Patna on Saturday, Choubey appealed to chief justices of high courts and the Supreme Court to guard against such acts. He also urged them to use their wisdom to not only improve the system but also punish those within the system who were trying to misuse it.
Choubey said it was the first time in India that an FIR had been lodged against a Union minister for a wellness centre he had inaugurated as part of the Prime Minister’s programme (read Ayushman Bharat), which the Prime Minister had inaugurated. He said the matter had reached the Prime Minister.
“If any murder takes place in a district, do you lodge an FIR against the superintendent of police (SP) or the district magistrate (DM)?” he asked the audience. “Tell me how can a Central minister come into picture if a wellness centre is closed a day after its inauguration? How can a public representative be faulted for the fault of administrative officials?” he wondered.
Choubey said he respected the judiciary, the judges as well as the executive and would continue to do so, but hoped for proper coordination among them. “However, if any official is found to be tarnishing the image of the government, every attempt should be made to identify and punish the culprit,” he added.
Choubey also appealed to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to find who was responsible for the closed wellness centre and take action within 48 hours.
He warned corrupt officials not to try to tarnish the Ayushman Bharat health coverage scheme for the poor, failing which they would not be spared.
Choubey also lashed out at a section of the media for carrying reports that he could face a jail term up to three years if convicted in the case. He said he had yet not responded to such news reports, which he called frivolous and baseless.