- "Not sure of the purpose for impeachment," Justice AP Shah said
- The opposition "does not have the numbers," he highlighted
- Also, Chief Justice Dipak Misra is due to retire in October, he added
"If this doesn't happen, if the appointment does not go through, I would say that would be the blackest day for the judiciary of India. Justice Gogoi is one of our finest judges. He has come out openly on principle. It is true that an outgoing judge recommends the new CJI (Chief Justice of India) that's the reality. But I am sure that the wiser counsel will prevail and there would not be such adventure," he said.
Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court who criticised Chief Justice Misra's distribution of cases and raised an alarm about judicial appointments in an extraordinary press conference in January.
Justice Shah, however, dismissed the opposition's impeachment move as "purely political".
"It is a purely political issue. I'm not sure of the purpose for this impeachment. The opposition doesn't have the numbers. There is a possibility that the Speaker may or may not accept the motion. Then the matter will have to be taken to Supreme Court and in that process the Chief Justice would retire by that time."
Justice Misra was appointed in August last year and is due to retire in October, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 65.
About delay in the appointment of Justice KM Joseph from the Uttarakhand High Court to the Supreme Court, he said, "I personally feel that the executive sends messages saying that if you decide against the government, there might be some consequences. I am really concerned with that. In all fairness, the collegium should have acted. The Chief Justice should have acted on this."
Asked about yesterday's verdict in the Judge BH Loya case in which Justice Misra headed a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court to dismiss petitions calling for an investigation into the death of the lower court judge in 2014 when he was presiding over a case against BJP Chief Amit Shah, Justice Shah said he wished verdict had been "different".
"I have one important issue - can you say that with this verdict, the prestige and majesty of the court is enhanced? Or doubts about Loya's death will still persist? I mean, I wish that the inquiry from a retired judge would have been an alternate course."
(The NDTV Dialogues with Justice AP Shah airs at 9:30 pm on Sunday, April 22 on NDTV 24X7)