The legal profession has thrown up some gems that adorn the political sphere from every political party including the Congress, BJP and the Left- P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Ashwani Kumar, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Manish Tiwari, H.R. Bharadwaj, Ram Jethmalani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Ravishankar Prasad, Somnath Chatterjee. The one thing that is common to all these persons is that the politics they practice is in the political arena- none of them ever filed a slew of Petitions to further their own political careers.
Dr. Subramanium Swamy was seated in the front row of the Chief Justice’s Court on 2nd April, 2013. During the day’s mentioning, he stood to mention the Italian marine’s matter when Chief Justice Altamas Kabir asked him if he was an Advocate who alone had the right of audience- when he demurred, Justice Kabir asked him why he was occupying the front row, when other lawyers were standing since there were no seats available. Dr. Swamy was flustered- just as someone who though not entitled to certain privileges, always manages to get them. He asked, if the CJI expected him to leave the Court, the CJI asked him to advise himself in the matter after which he left the Court premises in a huff.
Among the several ‘public interest’ litigations Dr. Swamy has filed, the one that hit gold in terms of advancing his political career indubitably is the 2G case.
Following the judgment in the petition filed by Dr. Swamy, the government was constrained to put on auction more than half of the spectrum that was freed from the Supreme Court after having cancelled 122 mobile permits. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai had speculated that former Telecom Minister Raja's decision to give away spectrum at rates fixed in 2001 had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer by illogically taking 3G auction prices as the benchmark.
With flagging interest in the sector since foreign companies have been stung by the Supreme Court’s decision and since the government has promised to refund the license free paid in 2008, the net gain to the exchequer is a big zero. Ultimately, if anybody is responsible for killing the goose that laid the golden eggs viz. the telecom sector, it is this deadly duo of Dr. Swamy and CAG Vinod Rai.
Dr. Swamy, who has several degrees to his credit is not a law graduate- his wife Roxana Swamy, however is one. Former President of India R. Venkataraman, in his book, My Presidential Years, states:
“Early in October, a file recommending the appointment of Roxana Subramanian Swamy as Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court came to me with the recommendation of all the constitutional authorities. Mrs Swamy had completed 10 years and four months at the bar, just a few months more than the minimum qualification fixed under the Constitution. Her income was stated to be Rs 20,000 per annum during 1989 and 1990. There were a number of women lawyers in the Delhi High Court with greater standing and with far greater income from the profession. To overlook all of them and appoint a person with Mrs Swamy's standing and practice would have been an affront to the bar. I therefore returned the file to the Prime Minister for reconsideration. Dr Subramanian Swamy mounted a tirade against me in the Central Hall of Parliament and outside which I ignored. I had never been either pressured or cajoled to act against my conviction.''
J. Jayalalitha, P. Chidambaram, Moopanar, Karunanidhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Ramakrishna Hegde and Margaret Alva have all been attacked savagely by Dr. Swamy. Ramakrishna Hegde had famously said about Dr. Swamy “he is the kind of pervert that secretly writes dirty messages on toilet walls.”
He continues to attack the Gandhi family by a combination of half-truths, innuendo and lies. Nobody takes on Dr. Swamy because as Jethmalani said in a signed article: “This country has suffered many a misfortune but none greater than the vice and persistence in our public life of a despicable character called Subramanian Swamy. His has been a life of character assassination, malicious mendacity and sordid blackmail of any one who happens to cross his path. No body has been able to deflect him from his criminal course of conduct because few have the inclination to take on this vicious viper and expose him for what he really is.”
Former US Supreme Court Judge Robert H. Jackson described the kind of defamation practiced by Dr. Swamy as “they are not in that class of epithets whose literal sting will be drawn if the speaker smiles when he uses them. They are always, and in every context, insults which do not spring from reason and can be answered by none.”