October 11, 2011

life in financial markets: (part 2) indian telecom 2g spectrum scam cases have complexities

(part 1 of this series was posted yesterday, on 10 October 2011)

One major telecom-scam-cases-related news yesterday was a 2-judge Supreme Court bench (hearing Subramanian Swamy's application before it asking for investigation of P Chidambaram's role and also hearing Prashant Bhushan's application before it asking for appointment of independent observers to supervise the CBI probe) reserved its order. The 2-judge bench comprises of Justice G. S. Singhvi and Justice A. K. Ganguly.

Just before this news broke out among the media sites yesterday, I had stumbled upon a website called legallyindia.com which had a 4 October-dated report (unsubstantiated though) on a party thrown by Congress Party spokesperson and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi in Delhi where lawyers and judges were invited. The report mentions, among other things, the attendance of Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly in the party. The report stated that this judge was the junior member of the bench hearing the 2G case and that India's Law Minister, Salman Khursheed, was seen interacting with this judge in the party.

As per this Supreme Court website page on individual judges, among other things stated was given the information that Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly is due to retire on February 3, 2012. This date is less than four months away.

Anyway, I am giving below the legallyindia.com report on the party for legal fraternity thrown by Singhvi:


Supreme Court Insider: Manu Singhvi invites to party, Delhi bench, bar, politicos answer

Written by Supreme Court Insider  |  Tuesday, 04 October 2011 17:25

Congress Party spokesperson and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi hosted a dinner for the upper echelons of the legal fraternity in Delhi on Saturday night. Found wining and dining at the seemingly non-descript but ultra-high profile occasion were judges of the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, senior advocates and well-connected lawyers from the Delhi-Bombay Bar.

Significantly Jayant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in his own right, attended the dinner but the absence of his brother, Prashant and father Shanthi Bhushan (the former law minister) did not go unnoticed. Prashant and Shanti Bhushan are integral members of Team Anna of course, which is in stormy negotiations with a Parliamentary committee presiding over the Lokpal Bill headed by Congress’ Singhvi.

Law minister Salman Khursheed’s interaction with Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly, who is the junior member of the bench hearing the 2G case, raised some eyebrows too.

2G or not 2G

Khursheed recently issued an opinion from his ministry on the definition of ‘associate’ companies - a move that bolsters the prospects of chargesheeted Reliance, Swan and their executives in the on-going criminal case before a trial court.

Ganguly along with his brother judge GS Singhvi had obliquely referred to the law ministry’s opinion last week during a hearing in the Supreme Court, saying that such interventions from government departments were “not appropriate”.

And so, with this as a backdrop on everybody’s mind, Khursheed and Ganguly sat together at a table and those assembled could only wonder what they spoke about.

Absent friends

All the other usual suspects were present, except of course members of the anti-Singhvi camp that includes the BJP's Arun Jaitley and Congress's Manish Tiwari.

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman were absent, although the senior Nariman (Fali) made an early entry and exit. Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Harish Salve, Rajiv Nayar, Gopal Subramanium and C. S. Sundaram did not attend.


Discussions on the controversial issue of judicial appointments and the collegium system, which is so strongly defended by the higher judiciary, were heard from various corners of the room.

This is not surprising since AM Singhvi’s parliamentary committee is also presiding over the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which contains a recommendation to create a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges.

Another chapter in the constitutional war between Parliament and the Supreme Court might be in the offing if the government reclaims its right to preside over judicial appointments.

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