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Congress 'Embarrassed' By Kapil Sibal's Defence of Triple Talaq in SC

“It’s a mixed feeling. Our battery of lawyers help us fight cases like the National Herald, and yet they also embarrass us by fighting cases which are against basic rights of women,” a senior Congress leader told News18.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18pallavighcnnibn

Updated:May 18, 2017, 8:25 AM IST
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Congress 'Embarrassed' By Kapil Sibal's Defence of Triple Talaq in SC
Congress is worried that Sibal’s defence in the triple talaq case might damage the party’s image. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Congress leadership is unhappy with Kapil Sibal’s decision to defend triple talaq on behalf of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in the Supreme Court, top party sources told News18.

The senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP defended triple talaq on the grounds that ‘it is an age-old tradition and could not be considered unconstitutional’, leading to criticism on social media and other platforms.

Highly placed sources in the party told News18 that the top brass was upset with Sibal for defending AIMPLB, which was in stark contrast to the party’s stand on the issue. Sources said Sibal’s stand was an ‘embarrassment’ to Congress, which came at a time when the party was trying hard to shed its ‘appeasement’ tag and come across as a progressive unit.

“Congress has always said that the issue of triple talaq was about the basic rights of women. Sibal countering that taints Congress’s image. The party high command has not approached Sibal to withdraw from the case yet. But, it is worried what his defence might do to the party’s image,” a source told News18.

This is not the first time when Congress leaders have acted out of the party’s stand on issues or worked in ways that are in contradiction to the party’s policies.

In 2010, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had fought on behalf of the lottery operators in Kerala, which irked the Kerala Congress since the party was fighting election in the state on its stand against the lottery mafia.

Singhvi later withdrew from the case. Singhvi had also defended Rajeev Chandrashekhar against the Akrama Sakrama scheme of the Karnataka government, which allowed regularization of ‘unauthorized’ construction in the state.

Sibal, too, has had run-ins with the party in the past. He had, earlier this year, defended the Trinamool Congress in the Sharada scam, at a time when the Congress had just worked up its alliance with the Left ahead of the Bengal polls. Ahmed Patel, Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, was asked to convince Sibal to drop the case.

“Sibal told the party that he was not going to back off since he was a lawyer too, who had to perform his professional duties,” a source told News18. The Bengal Congress unit was visibly upset and threatened to boycott Sibal and not allow him to attend any official events organized by it.

“It’s a mixed feeling. Our battery of lawyers help us fight cases like the National Herald, and yet they also embarrass us by fighting cases which are against basic rights of women,” a senior Congress leader told News18.

It’s not only the Congress which has had to face ‘embarrassment’ because of its lawyer leaders. Ram Jethmalani, for instance, fought for Kanimozhi during the high-profile 2G scam at a time when his party, the BJP, was making it a campaign issue for the 2014 polls. Jethmalani eventually left the saffron party.

A lawyer-politician combination clearly hasn’t looked like the order of the day in Indian politics.

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