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VS flags appointment of P.C. Iype

Staff Reporter

Says it shows government's intent to protect accused in ice-cream parlour sex-scandal case

V.S. Achuthanandan says Anna Hazare's campaign against corruption should be appreciated.

KOCHI: V.S. Achuthanandan, set to take over as the Leader of the Opposition again, said here on Sunday that the new government's choice for the post of Additional Advocate-General (P.C. Iype) gave explicit evidence of its intent to protect someone involved in the ice-cream parlour sex-scandal case.

Mr. Achuthanandan told presspersons on the sidelines of a seminar that the appointment of a person accused of being a mediator in allegedly influencing judges in the case proved that the government would go to any extent to sabotage such cases.

When pointed out that his position on the anti-corruption campaign by Anna Hazare, social activist, was at variance with the view of his party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Mr. Achuthanandan said the Gandhian, despite his limitations, had been able to undertake a strong fight. “That must be appreciated,” he said.

Earlier, in his valedictory address at the two-day seminar on “Judiciary, democracy, and the public interest,” Mr. Achuthanandan said the judiciary was not free of accusations, as the experience of the past few years alone showed. While the role of judiciary was much appreciated, many prominent judges faced allegations of corruption. The judiciary itself had admitted to the rot.

Corporate logic

He said the corporate logic of a globalised era found reflection even in the higher judiciary. He cited as examples the verdicts on self-financing professional colleges and a Supreme Court verdict stating that the managements had unbridled power to terminate the services of employees. Even in the 2G spectrum case, the judiciary had initially discouraged the petitioners, asking them to approach the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

He said the judiciary would find it inevitable to assume the supervisory and controlling roles of the executive in some special circumstances. “Its decision to supervise the investigation into the 2G spectrum case is in keeping with the public interest since the executive stands accused (in the case),” Mr. Achuthanandan said.

While stating that the judiciary sometimes adopted an approach that discouraged people coming forward to fight corruption, he was quick to add that an approach to the contrary too was seen.

Mr. Achuthanandan said that though the methods of protest by people such as Mr. Hazare had limitations, to be blind to their interventionist capacity was foolishness. Also foolish was to stay away from them in the hope that the judiciary would guard against corruption. The judiciary's capacity to intervene was linked to people's alertness.

He said other establishments would find it difficult to work towards upholding the public interest unless the media fulfilled its role as a strong independent intervening force.

He cited the ice-cream parlour sex-scandal case as an example of the alleged exploitation of the judiciary by the executive.

M.R. Hariharan Nair, former Ombudsman of Local Self-Government Institutions, presided over the function. P. Rajan, senior journalist, spoke.

The seminar was organised by the Media Information and Communication Centre of India, New Delhi, and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-India, in association with Media Education for Awareness and Social Transformation, Thiruvananthapuram, and Journalists' Initiative for Media Democracy, Thrissur.

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