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Amit Shah’s speech violates constitution – says retired civil servants

A group of former civil service officers and diplomats asked to take action against BJP president Amit Shah for questioning the authority of Supreme Court.

Addressing a public meeting at Kannur, Kerala, on, the 27th October 2018, the BJP President made two interrelated comments: That the Supreme Court ought to have issued implementable orders; and, that the State Government in Kerala would be brought down for its temerity to enforce the Supreme Court orders regarding the entry of women from a certain age group into the Sabarimala temple by arresting and suppressing ‘Ayyappa devotees.’

Taken together, these two comments make for a scary reading that the President of the main ruling party at the centre is casting aspersions upon and questioning the lawful authority of the highest court of the land, asking the State government to refrain from implementing the Court’s orders, and is explicitly threatening to bring it down by vigilante action of political workers in the streets by fuelling their religious sentiments. There is also an implicit threat of the dismissal of the State Government by the Union Government, in the letter the signatories has pointed out.

The signatories request the President of India, to give his sage counsel to all concerned to maintain constitutional decorum and to enforce the corrective executive action to rectify its breach, also Prime Minister must counsel his party President as appropriate and to categorically delink the executive’s support of his cited public speech.

They also request Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of its contempt in such a blatant manner at a public forum and to proceed forthwith with necessary legal action.

The signatories ask the Election Commission to take cognisance of the cited public speech by Shah, to seek necessary explanations BJP, and to initiate thereafter such steps as deemed fit for defending the sanctity of the Constitution and of the laws made thereunder.

It is well within the rights of any individual to critically opine upon a judicial decision without casting aspersions on the juridical intent. Indeed, judicial decisions do vary between one juridical level and another, and also from one bench to the other in the High and Supreme Courts.

There is a due process in place to seek redressal from a decision that has caused one to feel aggrieved; this even applies, in some cases, to the decisions taken by a particular bench of the Supreme Court. There have also been instances of legislative interventions in the Parliament by the executive to countermand an inconvenient judicial decision within the parameters set out in the Constitution.

So it is not open to any individual, group, or a political party to subvert the due constitutional process by threatening street action or adverse political action by the Union executive.

The cited public speech of the Shah amounts to a gross Constitutional misconduct. It is likely to have far-reaching adverse implications for our national polity if it passes unnoticed.

More than 40 retired civil service officers like Former Foreign Secretary and Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon Former Special Secretary  Vappala Balachandran,  K.P. Fabian, Former Ambassador to Italy, has signed the letter.

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