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Ashok Gehlot apologises in the Rajasthan HC for his ‘corruption in judiciary’ remark, claims statements were distorted and misconstrued

Ashok Gehlot said in the affidavit that he has been reading statements made about judicial corruption by numerous former Supreme Court justices.

On 3rd October Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot submitted an unreserved apology to the Rajasthan High Court in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought to initiate criminal proceedings against him for comments about the judiciary. He defended himself and cited his law degree as well as claimed distortion of his statement by news reports. The apology came after a month-long controversy that was started by his accusations on the legal system.

The Congressman alleged that he had never encountered any form of judicial corruption. However, he emphasised that other Supreme Court and high court judges have recently voiced their concerns about possible impropriety. “I was only expressing similar concerns but my statements were distorted and misconstrued in the news report.” 

According to the affidavit, Ashok Gehlot has been reading statements made about judicial corruption by numerous former Supreme Court justices. It nodded that the public members who met with him to discuss their complaints also brought up “corrupt practices” in the judiciary.

He requested that the PIL should be dismissed and urged the court to accept his apology. The bench of Justices M M Shrivastava and Praveer Bhatnagar set the matter to be heard by the High Court again on 7 November. 

An advocate named Shiv Charan Gupta submitted the PIL on 31st August and charged that the comments tantamount to “wilful scandalising and lowering the image of the judiciary.” A High Court division bench heard the same on 2nd September and asked the chief minister for a response.

Lawyer Prateek Kasliwal who appeared for the Congress leader read from his reply. “He has the utmost regard for the majesty of law and the judiciary. If the high court feels that by the statement he has in any manner attempted to lower the respect or dignity of the judiciary in the minds of the public, he tenders his unconditional apology.”

He further continued, “As an alumnus of Jodhpur University with a law degree in 1976, he has closely engaged with the legal profession earlier,” and mentioned that the chief minister “has been reading about corruption in the judiciary by many former judges of the Supreme Court.”

The attorney expressed, “The statement by him reflects concern shown by those who held higher positions in the judiciary. Also, in his tweet on August 31, he clarified his stand and said he had high regard for the judiciary.”

He echoed the assertions of the Congress stalwart that his views were “distorted and misconstrued” by the newspaper. He observed, “I have always believed that people have faith in the judiciary as whenever any untoward incident takes place, people demand a judicial enquiry. We have prayed that the reply be accepted and the PIL be dismissed.”

“This has greatly anguished the respondent,” proclaimed the counsel. The Congress leader’s rejoinder also included a few pieces that were earlier published about the judiciary.

Ashok Gehlot’s Comments on Judiciary

The veteran politician’s utterances on 30 August had angered the legal community. He had charged that some judges were handing down decisions that had been written by solicitors. “Corruption is rampant in the judiciary today. I have heard that some lawyers themselves take the judgement in writing and the same judgement is pronounced,” he highlighted while talking to the media.

His condemnation triggered a fierce protest from lawyers of the high court and Jodhpur lower courts participated in a day-long walkout in protest of the statement. Furthermore, a public interest lawsuit was initiated against him to pursue contempt charges.

He had to elucidate his criticism in response to the PIL which was scheduled for a hearing on 5 September. He backtracked and clarified that his comments about judicial corruption “were not his personal opinion”. He then stressed that he has always respected and trusted the judiciary.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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