How can a political party enter into an agreement with China, the Supreme Court asked on Friday as it declined to entertain a request for a probe into a 2008 pact between the Congress and the Communist Party of China. The top court asked the petitioner to approach the high court with his request.
"We find that there is something which appears to be, what might be called, unheard of and absurd in law. You are saying that China has entered into an agreement with a political party and not the government. How can a political party enter into an agreement with China," observed Chief Justice SA Bobde during the hearing.
The petitioner's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani argued that the agreement needs to be brought in public domain because there were "sinister motives" and the issue involved national security. However, he withdrew the case when the Supreme Court asked why he did not go to the high court.
The petitioners Shashank Shekhar Jha and journalist Savio Rodrigues wanted a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the agreement.
The case filed against the Congress party and its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi also wanted the court to direct the details of the agreement to be made public.
"Every relief which you are seeking, can be granted by the high court. Secondly, high court is a proper court. Thirdly, we will have the advantage of high court order also," said the Supreme Court bench which also included Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
In the past, the 2008 pact between the Congress and China's ruling Communist Party has been used by the BJP to deflect the opposition's questions about the India-China faceoff in June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
On Friday, BJP chief JP Nadda seized the court's observations to attack the Congress.
Even the SC is surprised at the MoU signed by the Congress party with the Chinese Gov...— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) August 7, 2020
Mrs Gandhi & her son, who led the signing, must explain.
Does this explain donations to RGF and opening Indian market for the Chinese in return, which affected Indian businesses? pic.twitter.com/hidmbcbO7Z
The 2008 Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the then ruling Congress and the Communist Party of China to for a mechanism that would help regular high-level exchanges between them. The deal was signed during party chief Sonia Gandhi's visit to Beijing with her family for the Olympics inaugural ceremony.
(With inputs from PTI)