The proposed motion to impeach the Chief Justice of India comes a shocking precedence in the history of Indian democracy as we, in India, have a track record of keeping the judiciary aloof from the low-level party-politics
The proposed motion to impeach the Chief Justice of India that was moved by Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to seven opposition parties is nothing but an alarming new low for the Indian democracy. Such a step that involves the credibility of one of the most respected institutions of the country, requires extreme circumspection, consensus and above all impeccable evidence. On the contrary, the current allegations that have been levelled against the honourable chief Justice consist of more speculations than concrete evidence. Even the language used to level the allegations contains surmises articulated through “may have been”, “likely to fall” and “appears to have”. Now this itself proves that the bunch of opposition parties led by Congress have nothing to substantiate their charges but are using this move as a tool to intimidate the judiciary. On the few earlier occasions petitions to remove judges were moved in parliament but those were based on specific corruption allegations with documentary evidence. This time there is no such case.
Now this comes a shocking precedence in the history of Indian democracy as we, in India have a track record of keeping the judiciary aloof from the low-level party-politics. Even after a lot of discussions and persisting ambiguity over the appointment of judges through the collegium system, finally, it was left on the judiciary to decide and mend its ways, if really required at all.
We all know that this move of removal motion is worthless, as it is ultimately going to fall in the parliament but how this ghastly move endangers our democracy? The danger is that political parties can make a habit of using the removal motion to intimidate judges – which would weaken the institution which will be no less than a big blow to our democracy. Just imagine that tomorrow, if a court delivers a decision against the government in power, what is going t happen? Noted jurist Fali Nariman has rightly described it as “The blackest possible day.”
Even within Congress, there is no unanimity over this move as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, is not among the signees. Former law minister Salman Khurshid’s view that “impeachment is too serious to be played with on grounds of disagreement with any judgment or with any point of view of the court” is also noteworthy.
There is no surprise element in the fact that Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu has rejected the removal motion without making any delay. But this should not be seen as a hasty decision as he has given this issue an utmost priority by suspending his other engagements, consulting the constitution-experts and giving a 22-points strong noting in support of his decision. Otherwise also, highly regarded institutions should not be left hanging amidst such political mudslinging.
Now, the Congress talking about moving to Supreme Court again against the decision of Vice President seems like another contradictory move whereas you are taking shelter of an institution you are yourself questioning.