Cong non-committal on Deshmukh's fate

Facing a volley of questions from reporters, party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed suggested that moves for review of the judicial order against Deshmukh could be underway and the matter could go to a larger bench.

"We have also seen the report as to what the sitting judge of the Supreme Court has observed. We do not want to be in argument on this... Legal luminaries looking after the case will look into it," was Ahmed's refrain to questions including whether Deshmukh has moral right to continue.

The rural development minister, who had earlier faced severe criticism from the Supreme Court in the case, had two days back at a public function in Mumbai come under further attack from an apex court judge who questioned his continuance in the government.
"It is sad and shocking to see how the government allows and appreciates such ministers. Not only that, it also gives them a Cabinet post. It is not a dignified act and I would call it a shameless act," Justice A K Ganguly said at a seminar in Mumbai two days back.

Asked whether it was proper for the judge of the apex court to make such a comment at a public function, Ahmed steered clear of the issue saying he does not want to make any comment.

"Only a lawyer will be able to tell," remarked the Congress spokesman when asked whether Justice Ganguly's comment needed to be taken as an "individual comment" or "observation of Supreme Court."

He also refrained from reacting a query whether Justice Ganguly's carping comment on Deshmukh was part of judicial activism which has been growing in recent days.
In reply to another question, he said that there was no link between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's comment that the power of judicial review should never be used to erode the legitimate role assigned to other branches of the government and the comment by Justice Ganguly.

Ahmed too said that all branches needed to be aware of their responsibilities, indicating that there was unease in the party over the growing judicial activism.

When pointed out that Congress had demanded Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurrappa's resignation on the basis of adverse comments by Lokayukta, Ahmed said Yeddyurappa's case was different and a "clear case of corruption" whereas in Deshmukh's case there are observations of Supreme Court judge.

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