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Salman Khurshid denies mocking Supreme Court, Election Commission

Friday, 14 March 2014 - 9:55pm IST | Place: London | Agency: PTI

Under attack, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday denied mocking any institution in the country.

"I did not mock. What I said is a serious concern if you are discussing issues about democracy," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat here.

During a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on 'Challenges of Democracy in India' on Wednesday, Khurshid had referred to the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct as being overly restrictive on election campaigns inviting flak from opposition parties.

"I have a view that others may have or not. My view is that instead of breaking the code of conduct, I want to talk about the code of conduct. Surely, the code of conduct doesn't say that you can't have a difference of opinion.I think SOAS is the right place to be talking about this," Khurshid said.

Stressing that the code of conduct was a "consensual" agreement, he said: "It is about ensuring that I must not use my office to influence people...I am not saying if it is correct or not, all I am saying is that we must discuss it a little bit. I hold them (Election Commission) in high respect.

They are very good friends. But I probably can't even say they are very good friends because that violates the code of conduct.

"Some of them I've known for 30 years when they were young civil servants. Today they have an office and I must respect their office and I hope they respect my office," Khurshid said.
In reference to the Supreme Court, Khurshid had pointed out that mostly two or three out of a total of 31 judges pass judgements on major issues.

"I've worked in the Supreme Court for 30 years...I have been pushing that courts must sit in larger benches. This is something that is not easy to resolve due to various factors...but if I don't discuss this as part of Indian democracy, what am I going to discuss. Where did I mock anything," he said.

The minister was in the UK to attend the 43rd CMAG meeting, which issued a joint statement welcoming significant progress in Fiji's plans to hold national elections by September 2014.
The members declared a commitment towards reinstating the country as a Commonwealth member following credible elections.

Fiji remains suspended from the 54-member group over a lack of democratic process. 

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