Raja was intemperate in letter to PM: Apex courtDecember 2nd, 2010 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Even as former telecom minister A. Raja told the Supreme Court Thursday that he walked in the footsteps of his predecessors in allocating spectrum to mobile companies, he was pulled up by the court for not being “temperate” in his communication to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly pulled up Raja for being intemperate when his counsel referred to a letter written by Raja to the prime minister.
In the letter, Raja said that any change in the entry fee and pricing of the spectrum between the existing licence holders and new entrants would be “unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary and capricious” and against the principle of a level playing field.
Referring to his (Raja) command of the English language, the court asked Raja’s counsel T.R. Andhyarujina if the former minister was not showing disrespect to the prime minister.
“We don’t have any experience on how the government functions. With limited experience as chief justices of high courts we know we act responsibly,” the bench noted.
Responding to the court’s observations, Andhyarujina said Raja’s letter did not show any disrespect to the prime minister but was an answer to Manmohan Singh’s Nov 2, 2007, letter.
Speaking for his client, Andhyarujina said: “I may be guilty of various things but I am not guilty of showing disrespect to the prime minister.”
Andhyarujina earlier told the court: “I walked in the footsteps of my predecessors and had no clue that I would be indicted for the same by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).”
The minister again came in for censure when court observed: “If Raja seeks the opinion of the law ministry, then he can’t skip that opinion and brush it aside as out of context.”
The court was referring to a communication by the Department of Telecommunications to law ministry seeking its advice on the procedure to be followed in the allocation of spectrum.
The law ministry in its advice said that the entire matter should be referred to a group of ministers. This advice was disregarded by Raja, saying it was “out of context”.
The court was hearing a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation seeking apex court monitoring of the probe into the scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The hearing will continue Tuesday.
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Tags: apex, apex court, censure, chief justices, comptroller, court bench, disrespect, footsteps, ganguly, government functions, high courts, law ministry, licence holders, manmohan, manmohan singh, mobile companies, nov 2, predecessors, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh