The recent period of time has been full of stories about two Ministers and a demand for their resignations. Finally they resigned on the 10th of May. It is a tragedy that neither the Parliament nor the press understood the issues correctly. While Mr. Bansal’s case was that of his nephew taking a bribe to get somebody promoted, and which has to be proven and whether Bansal himself knew of this or not is a matter which has to be investigated by the CBI. But the case of the Law Minister is a blatant, brazen, crude, arrogant exercise of his power, misuse of his power. The funny part is that after resigning he said I have done no wrong but I am resigning because I do not want the controversy to go on. Indeed, if it is his view that he has done no wrong, the Prime Minister must publically speak and it is a question of law, whether in his opinion, any Law Minister has a right to go into an investigative report to be submitted to the court before it is submitted. There is a law point. If the Prime Minister also says that he has done no wrong then we are in deep trouble because the Constitution is about to be broken down. Tomorrow the Home Minister of a State will call the Commissioner or an SHO and ask him to show the murder investigation report and suggest changes to protect somebody or implicate somebody. The valid Minister can call the tax department and ask him to show the assessment of the individual and say something should be added or subtracted. This is not the scheme of our Constitution. In our Constitution the Ministries are only administratively controlling the CBI or income tax department or the police respectively. They have no power to interfere in the individual assessment or investigation. That is the history, the scheme of the Constitution. And now, if this Government or the Prime Minister say the Law Minister of the day can change the investigation report, then we are in deep trouble. Then nobody can save this country. Then this Constitution has gone. Mr. Ashwini Kumar’s issue is far more serious. Pawan Kumar Bansal’s issue is of corruption and if proven naturally he will have to suffer the consequences. But what about this? In July the Supreme Court will again be saying something. What is the Government waiting for? That the Supreme Court should ask the Government to remove the Minister? That is not the job of the Supreme Court. Sorry. The Supreme Court has said enough. What the Supreme Court now says is not so important, but it is important what the Prime Minister says. I want to know what the Prime Minister says. Does he support Ashwini Kumar’s position that he has done no wrong? Even the BJP as the principal opposition has not come up to the mark. They also did not understand the seriousness of the matter. They also started shouting that both the Ministers should resign. They should have said Ashwini Kumar should be removed immediately because what he has done is unconstitutional, illegal. It is not a question of bribery. Compared to this, bribery is a small matter. This is like Emergency. And even in Emergency, Ministers did not behave in this way. Of course there was no free press at that time so one does not know but I am sure such a brazen attempt was not made. It is high time that Mr. Manmohan Singh takes things in his own hands and rectifies the situation. Still, there are months to go before the general elections and it appears from the press that the Congress is again vying for power as UPA-3. I am afraid, if UPA-3 comes to power with the theory that Ministers can interfere in an investigation and assessment then we have to say bye-bye to this Constitution adopted on 26 January 1950. Republic. What is a Republic? Res Publica. Means property of the public, that is a Republic. I think everything has gone and I do not understand why this drama was played out for so many days before the resolution came. In this column we have been saying they should resign and finally they have resigned, but they have been dragged out of the Cabinet, kicking and screaming. This should not have happened and should have been done gracefully. I have to say to the credit of the Congress President that she did put her foot down and said the party cannot take the sad image of these people not resigning and insisted on their resignation. But even now there is time to restore the Republic to its proper shape no matter who comes to power. After every five years people will vote and the Government will come and go. But the Republic and the Constitution should be safeguarded.
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