Doctrine of separation of power must be respected: Congress

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Congress Wednesday expressed reservations over a Supreme Court judge’s remarks about continuance of Vilasrao Deshmukh in the Union cabinet and said every institution must respect the doctrine of separation of power enshrined in the Constitution.

“Within the constitutional scheme, there is a very time tested and enduring concept called the doctrine of separation of power. While we respect the judiciary and have the utmost reverence for their judgements, I think each institution must respect this doctrine. This would entail a healthy functioning of our democratic polity,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

He said for a healthy democratic polity maintaining appropriate functioning of all institutions was essential.

The party had earlier downplayed remarks of Supreme Court judge A. K. Ganguly at a seminar in Mumbai last week where he raised questions over Deshmukh’s continuance in the ministry. Deshmukh was shifted to rural development ministry in the cabinet reshuffle last month.

Deshmukh had faced severe criticism from the Supreme Court last December for abusing his powers as Maharashtra chief minister.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had sought an answer from the government over the issue in the wake of critical remarks made by the judge.

Justice Ganguly had called Deshmukh’s shift by the United Progressive Alliance government from heavy industries to rural development “a shameless act”.

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

The apex court passed the judgment while dismissing the state government’s appeal challenging a high court order which had held that Deshmukh acted in violation of the law by using his influence as chief minister to prevent the police from registering a criminal case against a Congress legislator’s moneylender father.

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