BJP giving political twist to CJI impeachment motion, says Congress
Congress on Sunday said the BJP’s opposition to the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India undermines the independence of judiciary and the Supreme Court
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of undermining the position of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), saying that the party’s opposition to the impeachment motion undermines the independence of judiciary and the Supreme Court.
Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had lambasted Congress for moving the impeachment motion. Jaitley had described the motion as a 'political tool' and 'intimidatory tactic', stating that the party was using it as a 'revenge petition’ after the Supreme Court judgment on Judge Loya’s death case.
Addressing a media conference, Tankha reminded BJP of the motion for removal of Justice Dinakaran in 2009 that was initiated by the party leaders in Rajya Sabha. “Ever since this motion has been initiated, BJP has become over active. A minister has questioned how we could make public the contents (of the notice). The hand book (for RS members) is a guideline and not a rule. The Article 19 enshrined in the constitution that provides right to freedom of expressions is above these guidelines.”
Claiming that the BJP is unnecessarily giving it a political twist, he said that the issue before the country is basically about protecting democracy.
Vivek Tankha: “It’s not a fight between Congress and BJP. It’s a fight for trust (in judiciary and democracy) and dignity. No one is above law in this country—which is governed by rule of law,” he asserted, adding that “a single party need not defend him (CJI). If you appear to be defending him, you would be dishonouring him and his position.”
“The Chief Justice belongs to the entire country. In this situation, he should come forth and volunteer for any kind of probe against himself. If accusations that he is facing are false, then this should become known to the country. It’s about matter of faith that the people of the country have instilled in the institution that he represents,” he said, adding that “we’re not here to humiliate anybody.”
Maintaining that several MPs were worried for the past three months, since the four judges made an appeal that democracy is in danger in the country, he said: “It was followed by some letters that were published in the newspapers recently. In one such letter it was stated that the existence of the court is in danger. The material that was already there in the public domain compelled the parliamentarians from at least seven parties to perform their duty.”
Tankha said that this has happened for the first time in the history of constitution and judiciary that 71 MPs have brought impeachment motion against a sitting CJI, levelling such serious charges against him, before the Vice Chairman Rajya Sabha.”
“It’s a privilege and informed right to MPs under the constitution, and it has been exercised after thorough consideration and discussion. The Vice Chairman has to decide upon it on after taking into consideration number of MPs supporting the motion and examining if what has been written whether it prima facie comes into the category of the charge or not. The matter is heard or refuted in the second stage only after the constitution of a committee,” he said, adding that bringing impeachment motion is nothing but a constitutional procedure.
Responding to media queries as to why former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not sign the notice to impeach CJI, Tankha said, “at least 50 MPs, in their individual capacity can move the motion. The impeachment motion is not to be moved on the basis of parties. It should not be seen as a political issue.”
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