Govt wants Manmohan to clarify on corrupt judge issue

AIADMK triggers uproar in Rajya Sabha over the controversy.

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:58 pm IST

Published - July 23, 2014 08:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finds himself at the centre of a controversy following former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju's charge that the PMO under Singh had pushed with the highest judiciary for tenure extension to a Madras High Court judge facing corruption charges. File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finds himself at the centre of a controversy following former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju's charge that the PMO under Singh had pushed with the highest judiciary for tenure extension to a Madras High Court judge facing corruption charges. File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

A day after informing Parliament that the PMO under Manmohan Singh had pushed with the highest judiciary for tenure extension to a judge of the Madras High Court facing corruption charges, the Government on Wednesday demanded that the former Prime Minister ``clarify’’ the position.

 

``Former Prime Minister must come out and clarify whether he acted under pressure or not. This will enhance the image of judiciary,’’ Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkiah Naidu said outside Parliament.

 

He said the >whole account of the affair, brought out by former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju , showed the working of the previous UPA government. It was trying to compromise on each and every issue, he charged.

 

Mr. Katju had alleged that the previous UPA Government had pushed for extension to a ``tainted’’ additional judge of the Madras High Court for staying in power as its key ally from Tamil Nadu had threatened to withdraw support.

Uproar in Rajya Sabha

In the Rajya Sabha the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) triggered an uproar over a similar demand for ``an answer’’ from Dr. Singh.

 

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan asked about ``the unusual interest former Prime Minister and his office had in the appointment of an additional judge of the Madras High Court?’’

 

He said ``Dr. Manmohan Singh is a member of the House. He is here. He owes an answer to the nation. Was he under pressure? The former PM was silent for 10 years. Now he should break his silence.’’

 

Dr Singh sat in stoic silence in the front row of Opposition benches even as Congress and DMK members were on their feet protesting loudly. ``This is unacceptable,’’ shouted Congress member Anand Sharma.

 

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was in the chair, said Dr. Singh is not expected to answer. He is not the Prime Minister now.  ``I am not guided by proceedings of the other House,’’ he told Mr. Maitreyan when the member said that Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was present in the House, could respond as he had done in the lower House.

 

However, Mr. Prasad intervened to say that he had taken note of the issue raised.

 

On Tuesday, Dr. Singh had told a television channel that the then Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj had explained everything and he had nothing more to add.

 

 

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