Implications of Mr. Baru’s Revelations!
Former Press Adviser to Prime Minister, Mr. Sanjaya Baru, has authored a book recounting his stint in office. He has alleged and given substance to what many observers had long held. Namely, that it was Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and not Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh who wielded final authority. As expected this offers ammunition to the political opponents of the Congress who are going to town leveling criticism and ridicule at the Congress. But beyond political polemics there is a serious legal implication from the revelation that this writer would like constitutional, experts to consider.
Mr. Baru has written that in the UPA government decisions were cleared by Mrs. Gandhi before the PM gave his nod. The author has specifically stated that files were cleared by Mrs. Gandhi to which the PM perforce gave his assent. He has quoted the PM as saying: “I have to accept that the party president is the centre of power. The government is answerable to the party.” The government of course is answerable to parliament and the people of India.
What needs to be asked is whether decisions taken by the UPA government when according to Mr. Baru it was Mrs. Gandhi and not the PM or the cabinet which took decisions, are legal or not? Should not a proper inquiry be held to determine the authenticity of Mr. Baru’s allegation and review specific decisions by the government to determine their legality?
To be specific, if all the coal block allocations made by the government were decided by Mrs. Gandhi and not by the government, are those decisions legally valid? It might be recalled, as had been pointed out earlier, how Mrs. Gandhi's links with the AMR group, under investigation by CBI for a coal allotment, had been established through a letter from her to the government as well as by a photograph with the coal block allottee taken in her private study. If legally invalid, should not all the coal block allocations be cancelled?
It is up to a public interest litigant with requisite energy to take up this question and approach the courts. The PIL might demand clarification about whether official decisions taken by an extra constitutional authority and not by the elected government are still legally valid.
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Dr. Rajinder Puri
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