SC castigates Deshmukh for shielding MLA

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 22:12

New Delhi: An anguished Supreme Court today
came down heavily on Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh calling
as "anachronistic" and "incongruous" his interference in
shielding a Congress MLA`s family from money lending
complaints by poor farmers when he was Maharashtra Chief
Minister.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly while
"condemning" the action of Deshmukh in no uncertain terms with
some hard hitting observations also enhanced to Rs 10 lakh the
fine of Rs 25,000 imposed by the Bombay High Court on the
Maharashtra government.

Observing that the message conveyed in this case is
"extremely shocking", the court directed that the fine amount
collected should be used for the welfare of the distressed
farmers.

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

"This Court is extremely anguished to see that such
an instruction could come from the Chief Minister of a State
which is governed under a Constitution which resolves to
constitute India into a socialist, secular, democratic
republic.

"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 said.

Deshmukh declined to react to the verdict saying he was
yet to get the copy but said he will give a response once he
gets it.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing
the State Government`s appeal challenging a High Court order
which had held that Deshmukh acted in violation of the law by
asking the District Collector Buldhana and the Khamgaon Police
Station from registering cases against MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda
and his family.

The incident related to Deshmukh`s action as Chief
Minister in May 2006 after cases were registered by the
farmers of Vidharbha region led by Sarangdharsingh
Shivdassingh Chavan that the MLA and the family were torturing
the poor farmers for recovery and extracting 10 per cent
monthly interest for lending loans.

"The message conveyed in this case is extremely
shocking and it shocks the conscience of this Court about the
manner in which the Constitutional functionaries behaved in
the State of Maharashtra," the bench said.

It was stated that as many as 34 complaints were
registered against the MLA and his family till June 28,2006,
but due to Deshmukh`s interference no subsequent cases were
registered by the police forcing the distresses farmers to
move the High Court.

"Considering the entire matter in its proper
perspective, this Court is of the view that the way
interference was caused first from the office of the Chief
Minister by his Private Secretary by two telephone calls on
31.5.2006 and the manner in which District Collector was
summoned by the Chief Minister on the very next day i.e.
1.6.2006 for giving instructions to specially treat any
complaints filed against MLA Mr Dilip Kumar Sananda and his
family has no precedent either in law or in public
administration," the bench observed.

-PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 22:12

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