SC judge questions continuance of Deshmukh in government

A SC judge raised questions over how Vilasrao Deshmukh is allowed to continue as Union Cabinet minister after he was rapped by Apex Court for influencing police from taking action against a Congress MLA in money lending case.

Last Updated: Feb 06, 2011, 20:08 PM IST

New Delhi: A Supreme Court judge raised
questions over how Vilasrao Deshmukh is allowed to continue as
Union Cabinet minister after he was rapped by Apex Court for
influencing police from taking action against a Congress MLA
in a money lending case when he was chief minister of
Maharashtra.

"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 yesterday.

Justice Ganguly, who along with Justice G S Singhvi had
criticised Deshmukh for shielding a Congress MLA`s family from
complaints on money lending by poor farmers during his tenure
as chief minister, today said, "I have nothing more to say on
it. I said whatever I wanted to say and I am not denying it."

Deshmukh, who was earlier holding Heavy Industries
portfolio, has recently been shifted to Rural Development
Ministry.

Justice Ganguly`s remarks came against the backdrop of
concerns expressed over exploitation of poor farmers at the
hands of moneylenders. He referred to the case when the then
Maharashtra chief minister had tried to protect moneylenders
including the MLA from police action.

The judge was speaking at a two-day conference on gender
concern in conflict zones.

The Supreme Court had in its December 14 judgement
termed Deshmukh`s behaviour as anachronistic and incongruous
and had enhanced to Rs 10 lakh the fine of Rs 25,000 imposed
by the Bombay High Court on the Maharashtra government.

The court had said the action of Deshmukh was
condemnable as he acted beyond "all legal norms" for
"political consideration" despite Vidharbha region having the
dubious distinction of witnessing the largest number of
farmers` suicides.

"Chief Minister`s instructions are so incongruous and
anachronistic, being in defiance of all logic and reason, that
our conscience is deeply disturbed. We condemn the same in no
uncertain terms," the bench had said.

PTI