"Purely Political": Justice AP Shah On Opposition's Impeachment Move

Justice AP Shah also said that he wished the Supreme Court's verdict in the Judge BH Loya case was "different".

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"I'm not sure of the purpose for this impeachment," Justice AP Shah said on impeachment motion.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. "Not sure of the purpose for impeachment," Justice AP Shah said
  2. The opposition "does not have the numbers," he highlighted
  3. Also, Chief Justice Dipak Misra is due to retire in October, he added
As India's top judiciary once again found itself in the middle of a controversy with opposition parties launching an unprecedented bid to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Friday, a former senior judge voiced his reservations about the recent turmoil. Speaking on The NDTV Dialogues, Justice AP Shah, the former Delhi High Court Chief Justice and ex-chief of the Law Commission, said it would be the "blackest day" for Indian judiciary if Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is tipped to be the Supreme Court Chief Justice after Justice Misra retires in October, is not elevated.

"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.

But Justice Shah had strong words on a recent judgement by a Chief Justice-led bench on his powers to assign cases. "You keep the senior judges out, you select few and then you tell the people that 'sorry the Chief Justice is an institution, the Chief Justice's decision cannot be questioned'. If your own colleagues are not convinced about the manner in which the work is allocated, then how will the people be convinced about the working of the system?"

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)


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