Turning politics into blood sport, Rahul uses impeachment to bludgeon judiciary.
They don’t even try and clothe the attempt to blackmail and intimidate the highest court in the land in some high-fluting principle. No. Having all along treated the judiciary as an appendage, the party of Indira Gandhi, she of the committed judiciary fame, revived the bid to impeach Chief Justice Dipak Misra within hours of the unanimous, three-judge verdict categorically dismissing all charges in the Judge Loya case as completely false. Doubts and suspicions about the natural death were made up with the sole intention of targeting the ruling party president, Amit Shah.
So audacious, and desperate, has the Congress become that even the open assault on the democratic edifice matters little. It must try and sully the image of the CJI for the latter’s refusal to oblige with an order which, at the very least, could have helped sustain the campaign of lies and innuendos against Shah, who has become a thorn in its side, his having masterminded a series of electoral blows for the Gandhis. Not unlike the hereditary right of kings, the Gandhis find it hard to adjust to the new reality that it is not their birthright to rule over India. Isn’t it enough that they still continue to live like the royals of yore, without having any ostensible source of income?
Unfortunately, a partisan media gives the Gandhis a free pass due to its own grievances, some of them genuine, against the ruling party. So does the so-called liberal-secularist class, which is so blinded by its dislike of the ruling dispensation that it is ready and willing to forgive a frontal assault on the constitutional order. However, if the system does not survive the wilful attack by the Gandhis and Courtiers Company (GCC), the same liberal-secularists will find themselves in the dock. Do not ever make the mistake of forsaking democratic principles for private pique.
However, if the sordid concoctions in the Loya case revealed a sick mindset, the attempt to hound CJI Misra exposes the ingrained arrogance of the owners of the Congress, whose minions are out to undermine the independence of the judiciary in order to curry favour with their bosses. Here is the thing. A couple of days before the verdict in the Loya case, two emissaries of the Gandhis, a little bird tells us, met the CJI, offering him a deal. Give us a favourable verdict in the Loya case and we shall drop the impeachment move. CJI Misra refused to play ball. The verdict speaks for itself. So does the revived move to denigrate him for his refusal to bend.
As for the detailed order, written by Judge D.Y. Chandrachud, who along with Rohinton Nariman ranks among the most qualified to grace the bench in a crowd of pedestrian, run-of-the-mill judges, the most admirable thing is its plain-speaking, its truth-telling. The sordidness of politicians, lawyers, the PIL entrepreneurs has been thoroughly exposed. Every Indian concerned with the state of affairs must read it. Judge Chandrachud can only be faulted for being ruthlessly blunt in spotlighting the rottenness of those who pedalled this campaign of calumny, and the lawyers who for their own private reasons lent their rude and loud voice to it.
The so-called activist lawyers, namely, Prashant Bhushan, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaisingh had duly earned the rebuke. They showed little concern for institutional civility, making wild allegations against all and sundry. Also, well-merited was the rap for those who had turned the once well-intentioned innovation of Public Interest Litigation into a tool for settling political, personal and corporate scores. A section of the media, which for want of wider readership, had resorted to sensationalism and falsehoods too was deservedly ticked off.
Hanging the entire tale of lies and half-truths on the alleged suspicions and doubts of the family of the deceased judge was a no-brainer in the first place. A family which had lost its main breadwinner, its sole social cachet, well…, it is natural for such a family to lend itself to a trumped up campaign about some hanky-panky in the death of its most prominent member.
Let me be the devil’s advocate. Even if you were to assume that the encounter in which the ISI agent Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his partners were killed was fake, how about the fact that one of the killers of Indira Gandhi was murdered by the ITBP guards in cold blood even though he had surrendered? The killing of Beant Singh took place when a key member of the Family was reportedly standing by. If you were to manufacture a Judge Loya-type conspiracy you would demand the apex court to constitute a SIT and reopen the case to unravel the conspiracy within the conspiracy behind Indira Gandhi’s killing by her security guards.
Of course, two wrongs do not make one right. The Loya judgement is a clear slap on those who seek to rope in the judiciary for pushing their own partisan political agendas. And that would automatically include the recalcitrant judges, who, breaking all conventions, addressed a press conference to air their grievances against the CJI. They too had lent credence to what they knew was a cock and bull story right from the word go. The widely-respected newspaper, Indian Express, no friend of the ruling party, followed up on the little known magazine’s scurrilous reportage and convincingly demolished it point-by-point.
But the fake news warriors did not let go, would not let go, quoting this or that relative of the deceased to bolster their concoction of lies, half-truths and utter irrelevancies. The three-member bench of the highest court demolished the house of cards built on wicked and wild imaginations and crude innuendoes. Anyone interested in the decline and fall of the political discourse, the abuse of the judicial process and, of course, the unscrupulousness and degradation of the media must read the judgement.
Meanwhile, if you think the judgement will induce contrition among those who had systematically carried on a vicious campaign based on falsehoods, think again. Whether it is Rahul Gandhi or his courtiers in the Bar or in the media, the malcontents will persist with their nonsense. Saying sorry takes courage, even character. These are men and women who have allowed partisan political agendas to kill their conscience, their sense of right and wrong. Indeed, Judge J. Chelameswar, who suo motu passed an order in the Loya case when the foul-tongued Dushyant Dave approached him, owes the CJI an apology.
Of course, nothing of the sort can be expected from them. That is the tragedy of modern India. We have become so political, so partisan, that collectively as a people we have surrendered our sense of right and wrong at the altar of opportunism. Hence the refusal by some sections even to treat the apex court order as the last word in the matter. How long the republic can withstand this frontal assault only time will tell, but one thing is clear. The Gandhis will not escape a harsh judgement of history for their role in wanting to demolish the constitutional order.