Embarrassment for Congress I was asked to influence judiciary: Ex-law minister

Hansraj Bhardwaj accuses colleague and former HRD minister Arjun Singh of asking him to put pressure on the judiciary for seeking favourable verdict on imposing President’s rule in Bihar

New Delhi: Former union law minister Hansraj Bhardwaj on Friday alleged that some of his Congress Party colleagues, especially former HRD Minister Arjun Singh, had asked him to influence the judiciary during his time in office during the first term of Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government from 2004 to 2009.

Ex-HRD minister Arjun Singh
Ex-HRD minister Arjun Singh

“There was no pressure. When the comments came from the court, it appeared that the proclamation might be quashed. So, my colleague asked me that why can’t you do something so that we win this case. I said that the court has to decide this. Ultimately, the decision went against the government, then President’s Rule could not be imposed and re-elections were held,” Bharadwaj said.

Hansraj Bhardwaj
Hansraj Bhardwaj

When asked if pressure had come from the former prime minister, Bharadwaj said it not in Manmohan Singh’s nature to pressurize anyone.

"Those who want that a particular decision should come from the court, then it is wrong....It was Arjun Singh’s group, everyone knows it. I met him in the Central Hall of Parliament, and he said that this case is not proceeding along expected lines. He said that I might lose my job if I do not set it right. I replied who are you to decide about my job," he added.

Bhardwaj was referring to a 2005 Supreme Court verdict preventing the UPA government from imposing President’s rule in Bihar when a Janata Dal (United) and BJP coalition was attempting to form a government. The UPA government wanted the ruling to be in its favour.

Judiciary is sacrosanct: Congress
The Congress party yesterday rejected Bhardwaj’s allegation that his party colleagues asked him to influence the judiciary during his tenure as the law minister during UPA regime. The party stated it ‘respects the judiciary’ and can never even imagine interfering in its matters. “We outrightly reject this. Neither Manmohan Singh nor any of his cabinet ministers approached the judiciary for this,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

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