Cong non-committal on Deshmukh`s fate

Congress on Monday remained non- committal on the fate of Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

New Delhi: Congress on Monday remained non-
committal on the fate of Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh,
whose continuance in the government was questioned by a
Supreme Court judge for influencing police from taking action
against a Congress MLA in a money lending case when he was
chief minister of Maharashtra.

Facing a volley of questions from reporters, party
spokesman Shakeel Ahmed suggested that moves for review of the
judicial order against Deshmukh could be underway and the
matter could go to a larger bench.

"We have also seen the report as to what the sitting
judge of the Supreme Court has observed. We do not want to be
in argument on this... Legal luminaries looking after the
case will look into it," was Ahmed`s refrain to questions
including whether Deshmukh has moral right to continue.

The rural development minister, who had earlier faced
severe criticism from the Supreme Court in the case, had two
days back at a public function in Mumbai come under further
attack from an apex court judge who questioned his continuance
in the government.

"It is sad and shocking to see how the government
allows and appreciates such ministers. Not only that, it also
gives them a Cabinet post. It is not a dignified act and I
would call it a shameless act," Justice AK Ganguly said at a
seminar in Mumbai two days back.

Asked whether it was proper for the judge of the apex
court to make such a comment at a public function, Ahmed
steered clear of the issue saying he does not want to make any

"Only a lawyer will be able to tell," remarked the
Congress spokesman when asked whether Justice Ganguly`s
comment needed to be taken as an "individual comment" or
"observation of Supreme Court."

He also refrained from reacting a query whether
Justice Ganguly`s carping comment on Deshmukh was part of
judicial activism which has been growing in recent days.

In reply to another question, he said that there was
no link between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s comment that
the power of judicial review should never be used to erode the
legitimate role assigned to other branches of the government
and the comment by Justice Ganguly.

Ahmed too said that all branches needed to be aware of
their responsibilities, indicating that there was unease in
the party over the growing judicial activism.

When pointed out that Congress had demanded Karnataka
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurrappa`s resignation on the basis of
adverse comments by Lokayukta, Ahmed said Yeddyurappa`s case
was different and a "clear case of corruption" whereas in
Deshmukh`s case there are observations of Supreme Court judge.


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