In February, the Union minister said India had transgressed the border ‘at least 50 times’ if China had done so 10 times.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking action against Union minister VK Singh for his statement that India had crossed the Line of Actual Control on more occasions than China, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy told the petitioner that the courts could do nothing in this matter.
“Somebody does not approve of comments made by a minister and so [is] the solution is to file a petition in the court to remove them?” the bench asked, according to Live Law. “If he has done something, it is for the prime minister to act if it is inappropriate. The court cannot pass any orders.”
Speaking to reporters in February amid border tensions between India and China, Singh had said, “Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times.”
He also said India’s border with China had never been demarcated, and that the two countries have differing perceptions about the de facto border. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin had said Singh’s remark was “an unwitting confession by the Indian side”.
The plea filed by an individual named Chandrasekaran Ramasamy submitted that Singh’s comment was in breach of his oath as a minister, and that it weakened India’s position globally. The petition added that the comment gave an opportunity to China to justify its transgressions into Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.
Ramasamy sought directions from the court to the Centre to declare that Singh committed a breach of oath. He contended that the government authorities do not spare ordinary citizens for such “dangerous anti-national offences” and that no special treatment should be afforded to Singh.
Indo-China border tensions
Ties have been strained between India and China for more than a year now. On June 15 last year, Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, which was the deadliest in 45 years. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the hand-to-hand combat. While Beijing had acknowledged casualties early, it did not disclose details till February, when it said four of its soldiers had died.
On February 19, India and China completed the first phase of disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control at the banks of the Pangong Tso in Ladakh. However, friction points remain between both sides in areas like Gogra Heights, Hot Springs and Depsang Plains.