New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgment setting the government a three-month deadline to sanction the prosecution of public servants for corruption was a slap in the government`s face, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Tuesday.
Party general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for protecting the tainted and questioned the government`s stand on the prosecution of Home Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum scam.
"Today`s verdict of Supreme Court is a serious indictment of the functioning of the government of Manmohan Singh," Prasad said.
His colleague Balbir Punj echoed him.
"BJP welcomes Supreme Court`s judgment. This judgment is a slap in the face of Dr Manmohan Singh government," Punj told reporters.
"We must not forget the application seeking sanction of prime minister against then telecom minister A Raja was kept pending for 16 months," added Prasad, noting that the Prime Minister kept defending Raja in Parliament and outside as well.
The BJP leader also asked what the government`s position was on action against Chidambaram.
"Dr Manmohan Singh, the BJP would like to ask you in the light of the present verdict, how do you react to the role of the then finance minister at the time of 2G scam and present Home Minister P Chidambaram, as far as evidence relating to his involvement is concerned. There is voluminous evidence available on record".
According to Punj, the judgment would have far reaching consequences in the citizens` fight against corruption and in empowering the citizens.
He called it the second major embarrassment for the government.
"The first embarrassment this government faced was when prime minister had cleared Mr (PJ) Thomas`s candidature as the CVC chief," he said.
Punj also accused the government of not taking action against those involved in major corruption cases.
"Many people who are guilty and accused of acts of omission and commission are going scot free," he said. "In the 2G case, so far only (A) Raja has been sent to jail, other people who occupy more important posts in government and were equally responsible are free."
"I am sure, this latest judgment will help the law catch them," he said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the government a three-month deadline for sanctioning public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Need to read judgment first: Cong
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress said it needs to read the full judgment before reacting to the apex court order.
"We have respect for the Supreme Court order but party cannot make any comment on a judgment without reading it," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.
Criticising the BJP reaction calling it a slap on the government`s face, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said: "It is a politics of irresponsibility as it is inappropriate to comment without reading the full order."
"The principal opposition party can react without reading the whole text but not the Congress party. I find it astonishing to react to allegations when they (BJP) could not wait to react to a judgment, even when lawyers have not got the full text of the order," said Tiwari.
A senior PMO official said that the government would study the judgement in detail and the law ministry would come out with an "appropriate response if it warrants".