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CPI Leader and Member of Parliament, Gurudas Dasgupta has moved a breach of privilege notice against Attorney General, Goolam E Vahanvati. Dasgupta submitted his notice to Speaker Meira Kumar who said that the matter is currently, “under my consideration”.
Dasgupta took this step after receiving a legal notice from the Attorney General, a notice that had been drafted by reputed firm, Karanjawala & Co.
The legal notice was issued to Dasgupta a few weeks after Dasgupta made a series of allegations against the Attorney General to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The legal notice issued to Dasgupta reportedly stated that these allegations were made without any attempts to check their veracity. It further stated that,
“We call upon you to produce for our inspection, material if any in your possession, in support of these allegations,”
This is not the first time that Dasgupta has raised questions about the Attorney General’s role as the country’s top law officer. In June this year, soon after the resignation of the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, he had written to the PM where he had reportedly stated that,
“…from the sequence of events it is clear that the topmost law officer of the government, the Attorney-General of the country, who is supposed to advise the government how to work within the parameters of the law and constitution, had actually acted with an ulterior motive brazenly against his constitutional mandate and duty and helped the Minister and officers of CBI to change the report to the Supreme Court suppressing the facts as revealed during the inquiry.”
Earlier this year, Dasgupta had also asked the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G scam to summon the Attorney General for a second round of questioning. It was Dasgupta’s contention that Vahanvati was guilty of the “extremely crucial omission” of failing to read the first paragraph of a press release regarding spectrum allocation sent to him for approval.
It remains to be seen what Lok Sabha Speaker, Meira Kumar’s final decision in this regard will be. As per Rule 222 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the Speaker must first provide consent following which the Member of Parliament will be allowed to raise the “question involving a breach of privilege.”
It is extremely unlikely that this notice for breach of privilege will translate into action being taken against the Attorney General. As this article notes, a significant number of privilege motions are rejected by the Speaker, and criminal action recommended “in only a few”.