Close to 50 retired civil servants and diplomats have termed as “worrying” the recent speech in Kannur, Kerala, made by Amit Shah, President of the ruling BJP in the Centre, questioning the authority of the Supreme Court (SC) as well his veiled threat to bring down an elected government.
In public appeal, the former civil servants, such as Shivshankar Menon, Nitin Desai, Wajahat Habibullah, Julio Rebeiro, Niranjan Pant among others, cited reports of Shah’s public meeting in Kannur on October 27, in the wake of the Sabarimala issue heating up, and flayed two “inter-related” comments made by the BJP President.
“Addressing a public meeting at Kannur, Kerala, on Saturday, the 27th October 2018, the President of the main ruling party at the centre made two interrelated comments: That the Supreme Court ought to have issued implementable orders; and, that the State Government in Kerala would be brought down for its temerity to enforce the Supreme Court orders regarding the entry of women from a certain age group into the Sabrimala temple by arresting and suppressing ‘Ayyappa devotees.’, said the statement, adding that “taken together, these two comments make for a scary reading that the President of the main ruling party at the centre is casting aspersions upon and questioning the lawful authority of the highest court of the land, asking the State government to refrain from implementing the Court’s orders, and is explicitly threatening to bring it down by vigilante action of political workers in the streets by fuelling their religious sentiments. There is also an implicit threat of the dismissal of the State Government by the Union Government.”
While holding that was well within the rights of any individual to critically opine upon a judicial decision without casting aspersions on the juridical intent, the statement added that “there is a due process in place to seek redressal from a decision that has caused one to feel aggrieved.” They said it was not right for any individual, group, or a political party to “subvert the due constitutional process by threatening street action or adverse political action by the Union executive.”
In the light of these statements, the former civil servants urged the Election Commission of India and the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of the speech and take measures accordingly, as well as appealed to the Prime Minister and the President of the country to give “sage counsel” to the BJP President and delink executive support to any speech violative of constitutional decorum.
Here is the full statement: