Anti-CJI front’s personal grudge is driving force in impeachment idea

The question is not whether an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Deepak Misra will succeed because it is clear as daylight that such a move will fail. Even if the proponents of the move manage to secure the requisite number of votes to get the motion introduced in either House of Parliament, there is the task of getting a majority. Given how the numbers are stacked, any such motion by opposition party members will collapse. After all, it is not as if the entire opposition is in favour of impeaching the incumbent CJI. Besides, it remains the discretion of the presiding officer of the two Houses as to whether to even admit the impeachment plea. Further, a panel would have to establish the guilt of the accused before the impeachment can happen.

The track record of the impeachment process in the country has been poor. The question, therefore, is: Why are some parliamentarians and elements outside the House determined to take this extreme step to express their disapproval of CJI Misra? But this is where clarity is missing. Ordinarily, an impeachment drive is clear on the accusations against the targeted person — misconduct of any kind, for instance. In the present case, those who wish to punish the CJI are unclear on their reasons. Politics and personal dislike have combined to target the CJI. That there are lawyers who desire to see Misra’s back, is public knowledge, and there are politicians who believe that somehow punishing the CJI would be an embarrassment to the Modi Government.

There is one section which contends that the Chief Justice Misra has failed to manage the affairs of the judiciary and lost trust among senior judges of the apex court. They point to the press conference of four senior judges. But there is another section which claims that the impeachment drive has got nothing to do with that incident. The more there is lack of clarity, the more the doubt gets enforced that the entire move is dubious and motivated by petty designs. One plausible reason could be the Ayodhya disputed site case which a bench led by the CJI is hearing. Perhaps it is an attempt to derail or at least delay a judicial verdict. The CJI had only recently quashed one such attempt, by directing that no third-party pleas in the case would be allowed and that only the original parties would be entertained.

It must be said that the impeachment idea is only at a tentative stage now. One should hope that it does not take off.