BJP has been slammed regularly by Supreme Court judges, but neither the Prime Minister nor any of his ministers have maligned the apex court and its judges.
Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of the Congress-led Opposition’s notice to remove Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra is unlikely to end the controversy any time soon. The grand old party and its intellectual storm troopers will ensure that the issue doesn’t die down. In fact, they are already at it.
Of course, Naidu’s reasoning would be trashed. He said, “Having considered the material contained in the notice of motion and reflected upon the inputs received in my interaction with legal luminaries and constitutional experts, I am of the firm opinion that the notice of the motion does not deserve to be admitted. Accordingly, I refuse to admit the notice of motion.”
Then three former law ministers from the Congress are uncomfortable with the step to bring down the CJI.
Immediately after his rejection, Congress leader P.L. Punia said that his party and other Opposition parties would seek legal counsel. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said questioned Naidu’s authority to reject the impeachment move. “RS Chairman can’t adjudge the motion, for he has no mandate to decide the merits of the motion,” Surjewala tweeted. “This is truly a fight between forces ‘Rejecting Democracy’ & voices ‘Rescuing Democracy’.”
In other words, the grand old party is rescuing democracy. Now, one has to be extremely credulous, if not gullible, to believe this assertion. Even if we disregard the GOP’s history, its misdeeds during the Emergency (and before and after it), the subversion of institutions under its governments, the suppression of the press, the supersession of upright judges like Justice H.R. Khanna, and untoward intervention in the judiciary, there is little in what the Congress is doing right now that convinces us to trust it.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make them mad. Alternatively, those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make them susceptible to the counsel of clever lawyers. The reason Prime Minister Narendra Modi has squandered much of the political capital he had in 2014 is that he leaned too much on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. But now he should be relieved, for Congress president Rahul Gandhi has done the same: he seems to have given carte blanche to the likes of Kapil Sibal.
This is despite the fact that no less a person than former prime minister Manmohan Singh is against the impeachment move. In fact, earlier he reportedly had torpedoed the impeachment move. Then three former law ministers from the Congress—Ashwani Kumar, Salman Khurshid, and M. Veerappa Moily—are uncomfortable with the step to bring down the CJI. The GOP appears to be following what can enter Murphy’s law code: of all the proffered counsels to a doomed political organization, the stupidest one would be accepted.
Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party is looking good not because of its good deeds but because its rivals’ performance is infinitely worse than its own. Watching the battle in the political arena today is like watching a football match in which both teams are scoring self-goals; the winner is the one that scores fewer goals.
Yet, we have to admit that at least on one count the Modi regime’s record has been exemplary and impeccable: its relationship with the judiciary. It has been defeated in such high-profile cases as 66A and privacy; it has been slammed regularly by Supreme Court judges, but neither the Prime Minister nor any of his ministers have maligned the apex court and its judges. Even when it had the opportunity to do so, e.g., when the top four SC judges called a press conference early this year to talk against CJI Misra.
The Congress should learn from the BJP how deference is shown to the judiciary. It is unlikely, though, that it would.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.