A piquant, unprecedented, unheard of and singular in nature, impeachment move against the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, has been pushed by a few opposition parties led by Congress. As many as 71 members of the Rajya Sabha belonging to Congress, CPI, Samajwadi Party, CPI (M), BSP, NCP, IUML and nominated members signed the petition “charging” the CJI on five grounds of “misbehavior” and “misuse” of authority.
This move came on the heels of a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Deepak Mishra rejecting a PIL for a SIT probe into the death of CBI court judge B. H. Loya . Judge Loya, it may be recalled, was conducting a trial in the encounter of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in Gujarat in which BJP President Amit Shah was an accused.
Article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a Supreme Court Judge including the CJI. The President must pass an order after both the Houses of the Parliament, supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members of that House present and voting and presented to the President by the same session of such removal on the ground of proven misbehavior or incapability. Going by this provision in the constitution, the move as perhaps expected by the architects of the impeachment motion namely Gulam Nabi Azad , Kapil Sibal and D. Raja is likely not to have any smooth sail but one thing is without an iota of doubt , namely it was going to breach the trust in the judiciary of a common man on the street.
The reluctance and ultimately not being a party to signing the petition by Dr. Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram one or two prominent Congress leaders is no relief to the commoner in having his or her ultimate trust in the judicial system of this country getting somewhat scotched . In case, they have refused to sign, they should equally oppose the move openly, an unprecedented one so far, ever since we gave “unto ourselves” the constitution of India in 1950.
Whole of the world is watching such unfortunate political tantrums in India on the one hand while on the other, equally watching us as the fifth fastest economically growing country. The Chief Justice of India is constitutionally the head of Indian judiciary as well as the head of the Apex Court of India. The mild revolt by four judges on January 12 this year going public against the CJI in matters of allocating of cases and wherein the Government very rightly chose not to interfere in the “internal affairs” of the SC , unfortunately proved as a prelude to the current move of impeachment . Washing dirty linen, if any, in the public in the manner the country watched on January 12 this year did not augur well for our apex court. We know that our democracy was feared to be imperiled without a robust strong, impartial and fearless judiciary.
It should be the endeavour by the political parties to settle their political points and scores politically through the ballot and not go to the extent of reducing the highest constitutional posts or other constitutional modes of governing the country to a status of buffoonery and improbabilities as that would set to naught the balanced equations which the constitution has provided for running this country democratically and as per laws established.