Gandhinagar, Apr 26: Amid a controversy over the appointment of Supreme Court judges, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said all political parties must ensure that the dignity of constitutional institutions like the courts was not diminished under any circumstances.
"All of us, be it the ruling party or the opposition parties or any government or non-government organisation, must try to ensure that the people's trust in constitutional institutions remains intact. This is necessary for a healthy democracy," he told reporters here.
Singh was responding to questions regarding the Centre's decision not to consider the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the top court, which has triggered a controversy. His comments came hours after the Centre asked the apex court collegium to reconsider its proposal to appoint Justice Joseph to the top court, saying the elevation might not be "appropriate".
Opposition parties such as the Congress and the CPI(M) have criticised the government over the issue. "It is the responsibility of every political party as well as other institutions to make sure that the dignity and honour of any constitutional institution do not get diminished under any circumstances," Singh said.
The Union minister was here to chair the 23rd meeting of the Western Zonal Council, comprising Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Asked to comment specifically about Joseph, Singh only said, "I should not comment on the judiciary." Asked about certain reports that claimed that the Kathua gang-rape incident had caused a communal rift among the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the home minister said the government would not tolerate any such attempt of "spreading hatred on communal lines and the perpetrators will be dealt with in the strictest manner".
Regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China amid tension along the border, Singh said the government believed in establishing a cordial relationship with the country's neighbours. "It has been our well thought-out strategy that we should maintain cordial relations with our neighbours. We always put in our maximum efforts in that direction. Atalji (former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) used to say that we can change our friends, but not our neighbours," he said, adding, "Modiji is also trying to establish cordial relations with our neighbours." To a question on the BJP's 2019 Lok Sabha polls strategy, Singh said the party would fight the election on the two-pronged plank of development and good governance. "Though there are many other achievements, we will go to the people with the issue of development and good governance. Even the international community has accepted that India is the fastest growing economy in the world at present. Some believe that our GDP growth rate will touch the double-digit mark in the next few years," he said.
Responding to a question about the rising prices of various commodities, including fuel, in the recent times, the home minister said the inflation mark was much below than what it was during the UPA rule. "During the UPA regime, the rate of inflation was almost double than the GDP growth rate. But now, the rate of inflation is less than half of the GDP growth rate," he said. Asked about the government's efforts to nab fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, Singh said the Centre had recently brought an ordinance to seize all the properties of such "fugitive economic offenders".