Real objective is to browbeat higher judiciary to embarrass government.
Trust the politicians to abuse the system for purely partisan ends. Nothing, it seems, is sacrosanct in their hands. Now, even the provision about the impeachment of members of the higher judiciary has come to be abused as an instrument for blackmail and intimidation. Make no mistake about it. There is a sinister agenda behind the move to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. They do not really want to impeach him. They cannot. They only want to browbeat him so that he does not perform his judicial functions independently, without fear or favour, and signs on, as they wish, orders they want him to pronounce so that the government is embarrassed.
They know full well that they do not have a half-decent case for impeachment, aside from some loose talk and cheap innuendoes. But they must play the last desperate card in order to try and get a favourable order in a couple of cases whose political implications could advance their own partisan agenda. There are diabolic elements in the polity, though no longer relevant in their own fast shrinking parties, but they still have immense potential for mischief. The chief among them was a member of the Rajya Sabha till very recently.
The extra-judicial route is also instigated by a few viciously self-absorbed elements in the SC Bar. They too will not succeed. But what the impeachment move will do is that it would needlessly make the honoruable judges extra-sensitive to the wild noises being made by a few vested interests. Frustrations of a few are sought to be visited upon as punishment on the entire judicial system. The movers of the impeachment motion ought to have been aware of the damage they will inflict on the institutional integrity and image of the judiciary by becoming a tool in the hands of the recalcitrant elements in the Bar and higher judiciary.
Unrequited ambition can destroy an institution
Supreme Court Judge, J. Chelameswar, after spearheading a so-called judicial coup earlier this year, was at it again. In a widely-publicised letter to CJI Dipak Misra, Chelameswar lamented about alleged bonhomie between the Supreme Court and the government. And painted a scary picture of a submissive judiciary should the executive succeed in blocking the recommendations of the SC collegium in regard to the appointment of judges. The senior-most judge in the SC fails to appreciate that the surest way to sully the judiciary’s image is to wash its dirty linen in public, which, unfortunately, he has taken to doing in recent years. He pegged the entire case on the fact that the Law Ministry had directly forwarded a 15-page sworn affidavit filed by a woman magistrate against a district judge in Karnataka, who had been recommended for elevation to the High Court. The affidavit, sent to the President and the Prime Minister, detailed how the concerned district magistrate had sought sexual favours, often calling her home at night. Earlier, the SC collegium had dismissed her complaint after “discrete” inquiries by a former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. Taking objection to the Law Ministry directly sending the complaint to the Karnataka High Court, Chelameswar harped much on protocol, saying such communication had to be routed through the CJI—as if Judge Chelameswar had followed protocol and convention when holding a press conference along with three other judges to denounce CJI Misra.
Anyway, after reading the complaint, it would have been a travesty of the judicial system had the SC collegium still insisted on the appointment of the said district magistrate as a High Court judge without a thorough inquiry into the charges of sexual harassment.
Upon reading the woman magistrate’s complaint, the charge of a breach of the protocol by the Law Ministry loses sting, especially since the collegium had cursorily dismissed her complaint of sexual harassment. Indeed, it knocks the bottom out of Chelameswar’s self-serving epistle to CJI Misra. If what he says is even remotely true, he too cannot escape blame, trying desperately to enlist the support of select members of the government to realise his ambition and generally behaving in a recalcitrant manner not only against the present but former CJIs as well.
Meanwhile, CJI Misra, having stopped the inquiry ordered by the Karnataka Chief Justice after Chelameswar’s holier-than-thou missive will be unfair to the complainant if he were to press for the alleged harasser’s appointment as a HC judge without first thoroughly investigating the charge against him.
Buying support with public funds
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal believes in buying support for self at taxpayer’s expense. Initially, he bought himself a huge constituency by offering free water and power to a large section of the people. Then, fearing defections from the party while throwing out Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from AAP, he appointed as many as 21 MLAs as principal secretaries. Again, he hired a huge army of AAP workers, paying them a handsome daily allowance during the pendency of the odd-even traffic scheme.
Besides, he has hired a number of AAP supporters in various advisory positions newly-created for the purpose. And recently he put a premium on money when sending three of his nominees to the Rajya Sabha.
And the latest scheme he has thought up to create a financial stake for the army of AAP supporters is the home-delivery of rations to some 40-lakh families. The central idea is to pay from the public kitty tens of thousands of AAP workers who will deliver rations to the people. This will render the 3,000-odd fair price shop owners redundant while it will firm up the AAP base. But the logistics of the scheme are poorly conceived. However, it proves yet again that Kerjiwal sees all politics through the prism of money and money alone.
Kejriwal dumps Hazare
Just as well Anna Hazare broke his fast after six days. This time round the RSS-BJP crowds who had earlier filled the Ramlila Maidan were completely missing. Because they are now in power. But the man who exploited the earlier fast by the Simple Simon too went missing. If anyone saw Arvind Kejriwal visiting the fasting Hazare, do let us know. Delhi CM did not have the courtesy to be solicitous about the health of his maker in more ways than one.