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When Government Commits Perjury!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Very recently it was alleged in these columns that the government did not utter lies but spoke half truths. Well, that seems to have changed. Now it is alleged that the government is an outright liar. In the Supreme Court (SC) during hearing of the case regarding the appointment of the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) PJ Thomas the Attorney General (AG) speaking on behalf of the government claimed that when it appointed him it was unaware about the court case pending against the CVC. The Prime Minister was part of the three member panel that appointed him.
This claim has been rubbished by leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj who said that she had personally mentioned the pending court case to both the PM and to the Home Minister before the appointment was approved. Ms Swaraj has announced that she will file an affidavit to that effect in the SC. If it transpires that she is correct then the government would have committed perjury in court. One cannot recall any such precedent. Will the SC punish the government for the crime of perjury?
The entire affair of the CVC’s appointment has been horribly mismanaged and misunderstood. The pending court case against the CVC which was overlooked by the government when it appointed him deals with corruption. The alleged corruption involved politicians too. There has been continuing debate among the politicians and the media about the probity or otherwise of the CVC. This debate is totally irrelevant. Whether blameless or not the SC has questioned how the CVC can credibly probe corruption cases when the accused can turn around and say that the CVC himself faces corruption charges. As long as the court case against him is not resolved the CVC’s credibility remains questionable.
Equally importantly, the court case to be heard against the CVC would lack credibility while the accused occupies high office. It is therefore not probity under the scanner but credibility. Recognizing this basic democratic norm should have ended the debate long ago. Now the pending court case involving the CVC will be heard on February 11th. That case cannot be disposed of credibly as long as the accused occupies the office of CVC. That and that alone is why PJ Thomas must quit his post. Meanwhile the controversy surrounding him may be dwarfed by the much bigger controversy created by the government’s alleged lies in the SC. If the government did speak a lie in the SC it deserves to go for utter lack of morality. If the government spoke the truth and was in fact unaware about the pending court case it deserves to go for utter lack of competence.
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02/01/2011 03:26 AM
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