With the BJP linking the move by seven opposition parties to initiate an impeachment process against the CJI to the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the pleas for an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, Finance Minister Arun Jatiley on Friday termed the motion as “revenge petition”.
“It is a revenge petition after the falsehood of the Congress Party has been established in the Justice Loya death case,” Jailtey wrote in a blog posted on Facebook. “It is an attempt to intimidate a Judge and send a message to other Judges, that if you don’t agree with us, fifty MPs are enough for a revenge action.
“The charges read out are issues those which have been settled by judicial orders or by precedent. Some issues are stale, trivial and have nothing to do with judicial functions.”
Addressing the media at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, party national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that the move on impeachment process was linked to the judgment on the Judge Loya case as well as the acquittal of Maya Kodnani, a former BJP minister in Gujarat, in the 2002 riots case.
She said Kodnani, who was acquitted by the Gujarat High Court on Friday, was victimised by the Congress and implicated in a “false case” when the party was in power at the Centre, as it wanted to implicate the saffron party’s leaders in false cases.
Jaitley also criticised the judiciary, saying “the single greatest threat” to an independent judiciary is “the divided court itself.” Asking four senior Supreme Court judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Ranjan Gogoi and Kurian Joseph — whether they had checked the facts on Loya case before commenting on it during a press conference on January 12 on the functioning of CJI Dipak Misra, Jaitley wrote, “Is the impeachment motion filed today a direct result of the press conference? Does this impeachment set a precedent that political parties in India will use impeachment as an instrument to intimidate judges hearing controversial matters?”
In multiple tweets, Jaitley stated, “The Supreme Court judgment in Judge Loya case has exposed every fact of the conspiracy to generate falsehood as propaganda in the public and political space… It has shaken democratic conscience that national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost come out as conspirators.”
He also tweeted, “Impeachment should not be allowed to be used as political tool.”
Lashing out at the Congress, Jaitley wrote on the blog that “never ever so blatantly in the past have national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost come out as conspirators”.
Jaitley said the 114-page judgment in Judge Loya death case, pronounced on Thursday by Justice D Y Chandrachud on behalf of the three-judge bench of Supreme Court “exposes every fact of the conspiracy” to generate falsehood as propaganda in public and political space. The Finance Minister argued that BJP president Amit Shah “had no role in (the) Sohrabuddin Case. It was an alleged encounter executed by some central agencies through the State Police”.
Jaitley also slammed Caravan, which had published articles raising questions over the death of Judge Loya. “The Caravan Magazine stories and investigations are a textbook example of fake news. It was not gossip or rumour mongering but a deliberately generated fake news where falsehood was manufactured to generate a massive public controversy,” he wrote.
The former Union Law minister trained his guns also on some petitioners who file PIL on issues. Alleging that the last few years have witnessed the “evolution of these public interest crusaders graduating into Institution Disruptors”, Jaitley wrote, “They pick up even false causes and pursue the falsehood with a sense of deep commitment, indulge in intimidating advocacy, are shrill with their opposing colleagues, are rude and impolite with the judges.”
According to Jaitley, the divided court itself is a bigger threat to the judicial independence than “intimidatory tactics” of “Institution Disruptors” and the impeachment motion. He wrote, “The four judges of the Supreme Court who held the controversial Press Conference are all experienced judges and in my view men of high integrity. Had they checked up facts of Judge Loya case before commenting on it, even though only on a listing issue? Should anyone at all be commenting on a pending case because many comments created an environment of prejudice and even added credibility to utter falsehood as they did in the present case?”
He concluded, “What has happened today is a price the Indian judiciary has to pay for misadventures of many. There is no better time for judicial statesmanship and political foresight.”