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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 2018 batch officer trainees of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on May 20, 2019 in New Delhi

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Text of Supreme Court's indictment of PMO officials in Subramanian Swamy case

IN A major embarrassment to top bureaucrats in PMO, India’s apex court in a judgement on Tuesday criticized Manmohan Singh’s “advisors and other officers”. The Supreme Court in its judgement recommended that any complaint that asks for the prosecution of a public servant be decided by the government department within a period of four months. The two-judge bench passed the order on a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy who was made to wait for about 16 months by the Prime Minister's Office when he asked for former telecom minister A Raja to be tried on a corruption case related to 2G spectrum license. The judgement however exonerated the PM when it said: “Respondent No. 1 (PM) is not expected to personally look into the minute details of each and every case placed before him and has to depend on his advisers and other officers.”
Here is the excerpt of the Supreme Court judgment on PM and PMO officials
“The concerned officers in the PMO kept the matter pending   and then took the shelter of the fact that the CBI had registered the case and the investigation was pending. In our view, the officers in the PMO and the Ministry of Law and Justice, were duty bound to apprise respondent No.1 (the PM) about seriousness of allegations made by the appellant (Swamy)....By the very nature of the office held by him, respondent No. 1 (PM) is not expected to personally look into the minute details of each and every case placed before him and has to depend on his advisers and other officers. Unfortunately, those who were expected to give proper advice to respondent No. 1 (the PM) and place full facts and legal position before him failed to do so. We have no doubt that if respondent No.1 (the PM) had been apprised of the true factual and legal position regarding the representation made by the appellant (Swamy), he would have surely taken appropriate decision and would not have allowed the matter to linger for a period of more than one year.”
The PMO in a tweet first said: “Please standby for a statement from the PMO on today's judgement by the Honourable Supreme Court.” Minutes later, there were a number of funny tweets. One of them wrote after half an hour: “Still standing sir. Please speed up that tweet.” Another nasty comment said: “Will you give a statement after 16 months?” Yet another comment said: “PMO taking 8 hours to tweet means either Pachauri or Twitter is useless”. In fact, what social media enthusiasts can’t understand is how even a 140-word tweet by the PMO needs to be sanctioned through a sarkari mechanism. Anyway, the much waited tweet finally arrived, but it ended abruptly, and even meaninglessly. PMO tweet said: “We welcome the fact that both the learned Judges have completely vindicated the Prime Minister whilst appreciating the onerous duties…”. The Twitter veterans failed to understand whose duties were appreciated by the judges.
BoI then managed to get the entire PMO statement. It says: “We welcome the fact that both the learned Judges have completely vindicated the Prime Minister whilst appreciating the onerous duties of his office. The Government is examining their directions regarding the manner in which applications for sanctions are to be dealt with.”
But did the judges actually appreciate the onerous duties of the PM’s office? And more significantly, who will interpret this landmark judgement correctly and impartially?

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