The Congress on Friday expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court expunging all adverse observations made by the high court in the National Herald case and asked the BJP to be more circumspect in making accusations against the party.
In a statement, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party has always believed that the remarks and conclusions recorded by the single-judge bench of Delhi High Court were “neither appropriate on the merits of the case nor in accordance with the established tenets of law”.
“In fact, these remarks amounted to prejudicing the ongoing judicial process before the trial court. The Supreme Court has set aside these remarks and conclusions,” he said.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to put on hold criminal proceedings against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi and others in the National Herald case but expunged all adverse observations, inferences and conclusions by the high court.
A bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan also exempted the Gandhis and others from personal appearances, noting that their presence in the trial court would cause more “inconvenience than convenience”.
However, it said the trial court was free to have their presence as and when needed.
In yet another relief to the Gandhis, the court permitted them to raise all the issues, including the locus of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is complainant in the case.
Surjewala said the Congress has complete faith in judiciary and the judicial process.
“Millions of Congressmen and women have a deep sense of satisfaction qua ends of justice having been met with the decision of Supreme Court today in National Herald case,” he said.
Surjewala said the Supreme Court has “also permitted that all assertions and submissions qua complete innocence, lack of culpability and absence of any crime of any nature on part of Congress leadership can be fairly raised before the trial court.”
Referring to BJP leader Swamy, Surjewala said, “He continues to make irresponsible and misleading statements.”
“We would request all concerned to respect the fairness and impartiality of judicial process of the country,” Surjewala said.
Another Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who appeared in the case, said they told the court that no case of cheating or breach of trust had been made out.
He said they contended that Swamy has no locus standi in filing a private complaint in matters relating to cheating and breach of trust because and it is only the person cheated who can complain to the court.
Sibal said the court struck out conclusions and inferences of the high court and “said the contentions should be raised by us at the time of the framing of the charges”.
“As we stand today, there is no observation, no conclusion of any judicial authority for any wrongdoing by any office-bearer of the Congress Party including Congress president or the vice president. There is no prima-facie finding of any illegality,” he said.
Sibal called upon the BJP to be more circumspect in its observations.
“We are very glad that now we will have the opportunity in the trial court to in fact expose Swamy and his malicious allegations and the propaganda machinery of the BJP,” Sibal said.