Zafar Agha: Time to stand up and back the impeachment move
Congress and other MPs who signed the impeachment move have, like the four judges earlier, effectively taken their concerns about state of affairs in the judiciary to the ultimate court of the people
There’s no need for any enquiry in Judge Loya’s death, decides the Supreme Court. Maya Kodnani gets benefit of doubt from Gujarat High Court in a case where eyewitnesses alleged she led a riotous mob leading to virtual mass murder. Aseemanand and four others walk free from a National Investigation Agency court in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, which killed nine people. All of this within just one week. It cannot be sheer coincidence that in all three cases the ‘saffron’ link hovers, and in all three cases, the verdict gives relief to saffron groups and leaders. Yet some quarters insist all is well within the Indian judiciary!
Well, every Indian knows that whenever Pakistan army stages a coup against a civilian government, it rushes to the Pakistan Supreme Court, which obediently puts its seal of approval on the army action. Even now when a Pakistani non-state actor like Hafiz Saeed is put behind bars, some court in Pakistan lets him walk free. Aren’t Kodnani and Aseemanand non-state actors working at the behest of the certain quarters from our own establishment? If yes, don’t you think that Indian judiciary is beginning to resemble the Pakistan judiciary?
The Congress Party along with some other opposition groups have pressed an impeachment motion against none other than the Chief Justice of India. They have raised five important reasons for the political establishment to consider, if it shares the growing concerns among the people that something is amiss within our judicial system, when they see charges being levelled in open court even against the Chief Justice of India.
There could be no more eloquent evidence that some urgent action is required than the despair of Judge Loya’s sister after the Supreme Court verdict. “There is no hope left,” said Anuradha Biyani. What do you do as a remedial move as a nation? Either you accept the situation and wait for a new Chief Justice to show willingness to correct the course. Or, you stand up now, like the four judges, and tell the nation it is time to give hope to Anuradha Biyani
The Opposition’s move has for obvious reasons raised a hue and cry. There are murmurs even within the Congress Party against the impeachment move. Some Opposition parties like Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress are even opposed to the move.
This is not unexpected. There could have never been unanimity on an issue as serious as moving an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India. But the issue is not about unanimity, or otherwise, over impeachment. The issue is whether to answer the questions and concerns being raised about the state of affairs in the judiciary—raised by no less than four out of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court—or continue to pretend that all is well.
There could be no more eloquent evidence that some urgent action is required than the despair of Judge Loya’s sister after the Supreme Court verdict. “There is no hope left,” said Anuradha Biyani.
What do you do as a remedial move as a nation? Either you accept the situation and wait for a new Chief Justice to show willingness to correct the course. Or, you stand up now, like the four judges, and tell the nation it is time to give hope to Anuradha Biyani. The Congress and other opposition MPs who have signed the impeachment draft, have taken the second option. They have done it knowing fully well that in the current Parliament heavily dominated in numbers by BJP, their move stands no chance.
It simply means that impeachment is not the purpose of the move. The purpose is to ring the bell and warn the nation about what is wrong with the judiciary. The Congress and others who made impeachment move have, like the four judges before them, gone to the peoples’ court rather than really try to impeach the Chief Justice of India. I think it is time for every Indian who values the significance of judiciary in the democratic process to stand up and back the impeachment move. Because it is no longer a mere judicial issue. It is a political issue now, wherein people of India need to be alerted and given a choice whether they want to live in a Pakistan-like situation.
So stand up and back the CJI impeachment move because we are Indians and not Pakistanis.
The author is Editor-in-chief of National Herald, Navjivan and Qaumi Awaz
- Supreme Court
- Chief Justice of India
- Mamata Banerjee
- Trinamool Congress
- Gujarat High Court
- National Investigation Agency
- Hafiz Saeed
- Maya Kodnani
- Judge Loya
- Opposition MPs
- CBI Judge Loya
- Anuradha Biyani
- impeachment motion
- CJI impeachment
- Mecca Masjid bomb blast
- Judge Loya’s sister