By Pramod Kumar
New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Several legal luminaries and a constitutional expert on Saturday decried the opposition’s move to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, describing it as “unfortunate”, “suicidal” and “dangerous”.
Former Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur dubbed the situation “unfortunate”, while former Supreme Court Judge B. Sudershan Reddy termed it “suicidal and dangerous”.
Former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C. Kashyap said the move is “pure party politics”.
Kashyap contended that under the Constitution, only the President can be impeached and Article 124 only speaks about the removal of a Judge for misconduct or proven incapacity. “There is nothing like impeachment of a Judge.”
Former Delhi High Court Judge R.S. Sodhi, a practicing senior counsel in the Supreme Court, said it was the “most immature move” and a “political hara-kiri” by the Congress that betrays logic.
Congress-led seven opposition parties on April 20 met Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and submitted an impeachment motion for the removal of the Chief Justice on charges of “misbehaviour”.
Pointing out that he found no substance in the charges, former apex court Judge Reddy told IANS from Hyderabad that “it is suicidal on part of the political parties which have moved the impeachment motion”.
Prima facie, he claimed, “there is no material to establish the charge of any misbehaviour on part of the Chief Justice”, adding that “irregularities do not amount to misbehaviour”.
Former CJI Thakur, while refusing to go into the details, told IANS: “This is very unfortunate that the top judiciary is faced with such crisis.”
An authority on parliamentary rules and procedures, Kashyap emphatically said that the impeachment move is “not likely to succeed at all”.
“It is purely party politics. The purpose seems to be to embarrass the judiciary and the government — the party in power. It is not likely to pass (muster) at all,” the former Lok Sabha Secretary General said while agreeing to the views of Justice Reddy who said the entire move is fraught with dangers.
Justice Reddy said that the impeachment move had a definite political coating and it can’t be otherwise.
“Any impeachment motion”, Justice Reddy said, “is definitely political in its nature. In any impeachment proceedings politics can’t be avoided.”
“But in the present case, they are dragging — may be unintentionally — the judiciary into party politics, which is dangerous.”
Justice J. Chelameswar — one of the four senior most apex court Judges who went public on January 12 with their grievances over its functioning — had said that impeachment was not an answer for every problem in the higher judiciary.
“I do not know why the nation is obsessed with impeachment. Impeachment can’t be an answer to everything. There have to be other mechanisms in place to deal with such problems,” Justice Chelameswar had said in an interaction with TV host Karan Thapar.
Describing the Congress action as “the most immature move” it had committed in its history, Justice Sodhi said: “I am sorry that the Grand Old Party has committed hara-kiri.”
He said that the Congress had targeted the judiciary — the only organ of the State which has credibility — and it would hurt the country.
Kashyap said that Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu could reject the impeachment notice at his own level if he felt it had no material legs to stand on.
(Pramod Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)