CJI impeachment: The issue of the attempted impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has rocked the country’s politics. The war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress continues unabated even as Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion against the CJI moved by opposition parties led by Congress. While BJP MP Bhupender Yadav claims that Opposition-led by Congress has been trying to “intimidate” the Supreme Court, former Union Minister Kapil Sibal rejects the charge as “laughable”.
Asserting that the judiciary’s independence holds the key to upholding the rule of law, Yadav said that even today, India’s constitutional democracy can rely on the judiciary to be one of its pillars. Lashing out at the Congress over the impeachment move against the CJI, he said that this attempt can dent the faith of the masses in the institution. “The aim of the Opposition is only to settle political scores. These parties have gained nothing from this attempt, but in the process, they have hurt one of the most respected institutions of Indian democracy —- the Supreme Court, which is regarded as the guardian of the Constitution. It is an institution that is responsible for protecting and upholding constitutional values,” the BJP MP said in a column carried by The Indian Express.
Sibal, on the other hand, defended the Congress’ impeachment move. The senior Congress leader said that the charges against the CJI have nothing to do with ‘politics’. “…Therefore, the suggestion that the Opposition is playing politics is ex facie laughable. The truth is the government is playing politics to ensure that there is no inquiry that will embarrass the government,” Sibal said in another column published in IE.
Justifying the move, Sibal said, “There is no procedure under the law except through an impeachment motion to remove an errant judge. When all processes are politicised and the media is held captive with its key players enlisted as spin doctors for the government, then no process will succeed. A key person in the government has said the motion represented politics of revenge. I would like to ask — “revenge against whom”? It is the obduracy of the system to ensure that there is no inquiry that makes the government’s motive political, and not the motive behind the motion. ”
The BJP MP has called for stern action in this matter. “After the rejection of motion, the Congress has alleged that the CJI is a “bench fixer”. This is nothing but a clear case of contempt. It is time to clean up the mess. Stern action must be taken against the people who are continuously sub-venting the sanctity of the apex court,” Yadav said.
Sibal, on the other hand, claims that this is a “wake-up call” for the country and the judicial system needs “surgical attention”. “It is this government that is diminishing the institution of the judiciary. We have seen recommendations blocked. We have seen a previous CJI lament of a “lock out” of the judiciary by refusing to accept recommendations of the collegium. We have seen a previous CJI breakdown, which was evidence of the attitude of this government towards ensuring that judges of their choice are appointed. It is better to stand on principles knowing that a motion may be defeated than play politics knowing the judicial system needs surgical attention,” Sibal said.