The Congress today said opposition parties have “all options open” on the issue of moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal expressed concern over the issue of the independence of the judiciary and termed the matter as “very serious”. “We believe that the option that is available to us is still open. The opposition parties have all options open before them,” he told reporters when asked about the opposition proposal to bring an impeachment motion against the CJI. Asked why the opposition was dithering on the issue, he said it was a serious matter and needed to be deliberated upon.
“This is not instant coffee…We are dealing with an institution…We have to weigh. That’s why this is not instant coffee. This is a serious matter,” he said on the delay in moving the impeachment motion against Misra in Parliament. Sibal, who is also a former law minister, said it will be a “very sad” day if the Opposition has to take that step. “And, if the Opposition does do it, it will be with a very heavy heart. But that does not mean that the Opposition has foreclosed that matter,” he said.
The Congress leader said the Opposition is as concerned about the independence of the judiciary as anybody else. “We want to protect the institution from the kind of interference from the government”.
“We are very very concerned about what is happening in court…We want the independence of the judiciary,” he said. Sibal, however, said it was for the court to collectively protect its own independence. Expressing concern over the delay in appointment of judges, as recommended by the Supreme Court collegium, Sibal said no party should be allowed to interfere in the process of appointments in the judiciary, no matter which party is in power. “If there is any attempt to block recommendations, the Chief Justice of India and the senior-most judges must not only resist it, but ensure that their recommendation is implemented.
“If such steps are not taken, then it would amount to capitulation to the executive, which is a very very serious matter. We would urge the Chief Justice of India and the entire court to stand together and ensure that their appointments are implemented by using processes of law of which they are more familiar than us,” the Congress leader said. Sibal said his party is also very concerned about the fact that the issues raised by the four distinguished judges have not yet been fully addressed.
He noted that the matter of powers of the Chief Justice with respect to the roster system came up before Justice J Chelameswar in court today, but he declined to deal with the matter. Sibal said the judge refused to entertain the matter “because, I think he does not want the institution to be further embarrassed”. “We welcome that,” Sibal said.