DEBATE @ THE HINDU Comment

Shyam Divan responds

Mr. Ray’s central point that the Coalgate PIL involves two distinct aspects is a distinction without a difference. The case is one. Professional responsibility applies to every aspect of it. The AG was defending the government. He may have considered it prudent to distance himself from the prosecuting agency. Instead, he advised the CBI more than once, as stated in the CBI Director’s affidavit which I quote:

“The issue of status report was first discussed in meeting of [the Law Minister] in the first week of February, 2013. . . . Ld. AG suggested that an application should be made to the Court for modification of the order and to place the Report in sealed cover. . . Thereafter, on March 6, 2013 . . . [t]he Ld. ASG was present in the meeting while the Ld. AG joined later. . . Since the Ld. AG had to leave, the Hon’ble Minister suggested that the Status Reports may be shown to Ld. AG later. . . On the same day in the afternoon, on receiving a message from our counsel, Ld. ASG, [CBI Officers] went to the residential office of Ld. AG. . . Ld. AG glanced through portions of the Status Reports . . . He made certain observations which were explained to him. He also suggested certain minor changes in the Status Report of PE 2. . .Besides, a few changes were also done on the suggestion of Ld. AG and officials of PMO and Ministry of Coal.”

The ethical issue raised by me was not about the quality or quantity of advice, but whether it should have been given at all. Q.E.D.

(Shyam Divan is a senior advocate.)

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 24, 2020 9:59:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/shyam-divan-responds/article4915238.ece

Next Story