Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about “poor judgment” by the Centre’s law officers — Attorney-General and Additional Solicitors-General — in crucial matters before the Supreme Court.
In the July 9 letter, Dr. Swamy highlighted how Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi made “personal remarks” about woman judges in the National Judicial Appointments Commission case, which had angered the Bar and the judiciary.
He said those who stood for the democratic fibre of the country were shocked to find the government defend Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which allowed the police the power to arrest persons for making “annoying” social media posts, brought in by the previous United Progressive Alliance government. The Supreme Court struck down the section as unconstitutional recently.
The letter said that similar to what happened in the Section 66A case, the government was trying to defend the criminalisation of defamation. Dr. Swamy, who is the lead petitioner arguing for quashing Sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code on the ground that they throttled free speech, said the government, through its law officers, was again defending the wrong cause and that it was prone to embarrassment in case the Supreme Court quashed the penal provisions and made defamation a civil liability.
He complained of how the law officers were seeking one adjournment after another in the Supreme Court in a petition filed by him to improve amenities for visitors to the Ram Janmabhoomi disputed site.
Noting that the Supreme Court has already issued notice on his petition and asked him to submit a proposal to improve conditions, Dr. Swamy said the case was listed before the court in the first week of August. He said the Prime Minister should direct the Law Ministry to ensure that an affidavit was filed before July 25.