Sonia Gandhi apologised to me for partyman's behaviour: Justice Verma

Sonia Gandhi

On the afternoon of January 6, UPA Chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi telephoned former Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Verma (retd) to apologise. Gandhi's call came after Justice Verma complained to a senior Congress functionary about the arrogant and insensitive behaviour of a representative of All India Congress Committee general secretary and media in-charge Janardhan Dwivedi a day earlier.

Justice Verma was head of the three-member committee set up by the Centre to examine and suggest changes to the legal framework to tackle the growing incidence of rape in the country, which submitted its report on January 23.

"Around midnight on January 5, I was woken up by my family and informed that somebody from the Congress was at the gate, insisting on personally handing over the party's suggestions to the committee to me. It was actually past midnight. That person claimed to have been sent by Janardhan Dwivedi. Naturally, I refused to accept it, asking my staff to tell that man to either leave the letter at the gate or deliver it the next day at the committee's office at Vigyan Bhawan. The next day, I brought the incident to a senior Congress leader's notice and expressed my anguish. How could anybody, particularly the representative of a national political party, behave in such a flippant manner? Within a few hours, I received a call from Sonia Gandhi, who personally apologised for the misbehaviour by her party's representative. I think it was a graceful gesture," Justice Verma told The Indian Express.

The former CJI, known for his no-nonsense attitude, also confirmed that Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, whose ministry had appointed the committee, didn't bother to interact even once with the committee. On January 23, when the committee submitted its report, neither Shinde nor Union Home Secretary R K Singh was present to accept the report. Instead, it was Joint Secretary in the Ministry who accepted the report.

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