Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha that the appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner P.J Thomas, quashed by the Supreme Court last week was an “error of judgement” and owned the responsibility for the lapse.
The main opposition BJP and its allies in the NDA accepted it, but the Left parties said the statement made by the PM was not explanatory and they walked out of the lower house.
“I have no hesitation in repeating what I said in Jammu. Obviously, there was an error of judgement. I accept full responsibility for it,” Singh said.
He stated this when Opposition created an uproar after his suo motu statement had no mention about responsibility and contained only the sequence of events beginning from the appointment of Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner and its annulment by the Supreme Court last week.
In his statement, Singh said, “we accept and respect the verdict” of the Supreme Court and that the government would take into consideration the guidelines/directions given by the court while appointing a new CVC.
He noted that the meeting of the committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition to choose the CVC took place on 3 September last year and recommended the name of Thomas for the post.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj gave a dissenting note, Singh recalled.
After Thomas’ appointment, two public interest litigation petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the appointment and the court quashed it, he said.
As he sat down after reading out the statement, the Opposition members were not satisfied.
Swaraj said she was “surprised” that the Prime Minister had not said even what he had stated in Jammu about owning up responsibility for the CVC appointment.
“I was expecting you to repeat at least what you said in Jammu,” she said amid chants of ‘shame shame´ by BJP members.
Left parties were not satisfied by the Prime Minister’s contention that it was an “error of judgement”.
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) wanted to know how it happened. Finally, the Left members staged a walkout.
PTI also contributed to this story