Chatterbox: Back story to SC judges' press conference; Rahul's foreign trip

Supreme Court of India
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Here’s the back story to the first ever public press conference held by four Supreme Court judges. How did the political parties react? We know that CPI leader D Raja called on Justice Chelameshwar. The Congress president summoned the party’s legal brain trust—P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari and Vivek Tankha. Abhishek Manu Singhvi was in Mumbai at the time. It looked for a political-legal response. The BJP went in for a more political response with the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah team consulting mainly one lawyer — and a key troubleshooter — Arun Jaitley. It was later Attorney General KK Venugopal who came out and said the matter had been solved. BJP’s spokesmen were initially told to lie low, but once their absence became conspicuous, they were told to restrict their comments to whether the judges should have gone public or not.

Rahul’s foreign trip

Rahul Gandhi is planning overseas trips to other countries in the Middle East, Singapore Canada and Europe, after his engagement with the Bahrain diaspora. The objective of these trips will be to meet the Indian community, build a relationship with heads of states, share what the Opposition’s view on India is and understand from different stakeholders, including businesses, what kind of reform and systemic changes they are seeking from India. Will this include a view on intractable legal and tax disputes that many big companies have with the government? Will Gandhi address (and offer) an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to companies like Kingfisher and Vodafone? The Congress is not saying, but watch this space.