Jairam Ramesh / Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday attacked the government over the appointment of retired Supreme Court judge S Abdul Nazeer as a governor by citing the late BJP leader Arun Jaitley's remarks against such appointments, and called the move a "great threat" to the independence of the judiciary.
The government on Sunday appointed six new faces as governors, including Nazeer, who was part of the historic 2019 Ayodhya verdict, and four BJP leaders, besides carrying out a rejig of the gubernatorial posts in seven states.
Nazeer, who retired on January 4, has been part of several path-breaking verdicts, including those on the politically sensitive Ayodhya land dispute, instant 'triple talaq' and the one that declared 'right to privacy' a fundamental right.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tagged a video on Twitter of former Union minister Arun Jaitley saying in 2012 that "pre-retirement judgements are influenced by post-retirement jobs".
"Adequate proof of this in the past 3-4 years for sure," Ramesh tweeted along with the video.
Asked about Nazeer's appointment, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said at a press conference, "One of your (BJP) tall leaders sadly no more with us, Arun Jaitley, on September 5, 2013 in the House and several times outside stated that 'the desire of a post-retirement job influences pre-retirement judgements. It is a threat to the Independence of the judiciary'."
He also dismissed the argument that this has happened several times earlier also so such an appointment is acceptable.
"We are not talking about persons or individuals. Personally, I have very great respect for this person (Nazeer). I know him, it is not about him at all. As a matter of principle we oppose it, as a matter of principle we believe it is a matter of great diminution and a great threat to the Independence of the judiciary for the reasons I have just quoted on the excerpt I played out," Singhvi said, referring to Jaitley's remarks.
"Therefore, we condemn it, we oppose it and we do not agree with it," the Rajya Sabha MP said.