Allow PM to make statement on coal issue, says Shourie

CHENNAI, Aug 25:
Former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be allowed to make a statement on coal blocks allocation controversy in the wake of CAG’s findings, saying the Opposition gained nothing by stalling Parliament over the issue.
“…Prime Minister was the Minister-in-charge (handling Coal Ministry). He must be given the opportunity to explain the facts as he sees them,” Shourie, who was a minister in the A B Vajpayee government, told reporters here on the sidelines of an event.
On BJP disrupting Parliament proceedings, Shourie said “As I understand it, the grievance of the opposition is not the debate but that nothing happens after the debate.”
“Therefore some politicians are let off and that is their grievance. But once government demonstrates action that will follow then there will be no problem. In the end opposition does not gain much by disrupting Parliament,” he said.
Shourie, however, said while the Opposition takes a stand, it “finds a reason not to pursue” it after five days, recalling BJP’s boycott of Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament demanding his resignation over the 2G scam.
“After a few days everything was forgotten and Chidambaram continued to speak in Parliament and they said nothing,” he said. If the MPs felt ‘outraged’ they should be Gandhian and not compromise. Otherwise it seems “its just for the moment.”
He alleged the Centre had no intent to retrieve black money deposited by Indians in foreign tax havens.
On Chidambaram being re-assigned Finance Ministry, he said “No doubt country is suffering from his budgets; of the deficits which he pioneered, of the populist schemes which he included; of the off-budget items which he did not include in the budget and all of which had inflationary consequences.”
“He is very likeable and intelligent person. I hope his subsequent budgets will be better than his past budgets,” Shourie said.
Earlier, in his address at the annual Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on “Judicial Activism and the Alternatives,” Shourie said present day judicial activism was fuelled, in most cases, due to ‘failure’ of Legislature and Executive.
He said courts were delivering judgements on issues as mundane as mosquito menace and cited instances where courts had stepped into act outside their traditional role due to the ‘failure’ of Legislature and Executive.
Shourie said courts should intervene in a particular issue only after it was proved that Executive won’t discharge duties and added it should always see the bigger picture.
He said judges should think more deeply, be informed by experts on issues and “curtail rhetoric in judgements as they are not the place.”
Judgements must also be subject to more scrutiny and analysis, he said saying this will help in accountability.
Responding to audience queries on disproportionate assets cases, he called for quick disposal off cases and barring the convicted from public life as a punishment. (PTI)


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