Friday January 19, 2018
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Adjourned till noon: Episodes from the great Indian parliamentary circus

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Picture credit: thehindu.com
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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

Bizarreness and frivolity, these two words are hand in glove with our country’s parliamentarians’- the representatives of people who are supposed to behold responsibilities and wisdom, unlike the plebeians. Taking into consideration the opposition’s hammy protests in the recent past, and its vociferous attempt at being the soul vanguards of the poor, one might end up inferring the parliament as a circus wherein politicians take to every outrageous and horrid means to scuttle the expected decorum on the floor of the house.

Picture credit: indianexpress.com
Picture credit: indianexpress.com

While paging through the snippets of hamminess in Parliament or  words unleashed by our political leaders, one is reminded of the classic episode of hullabaloo that broke out last year while UPA 2, the then government at the helm of affairs, tabled the Telangana bill. Rajagopal, a man bearing high regards for decorum, one who endorses nothing but prudence and sagacity, ended up unleashing a bottle of pepper spray as a mark of reverence for his opponents who were hell bent on introducing the Bill.

The maverick was an MP of the TDP and in an attempt at protesting the Bill, he thought of taking to judicious means and ended up spraying pepper spray which not only vexed the continuity of the house but also ended up harming his colleagues. Our dear parliamentarians even went to the extent of uprooting microphones and using shards of broken glass to threaten the party in power.

Picture credit: indiatoday.in
Picture credit: indiatoday.in

Thinking of a high voltage drama, how can one forget Tapas Paul’s heart-wrenching statement on women. The actor turned TMC MP who has often been seen crooning away to cocky Bengali songs, in an attempt at taking a dig at his party’s arch rival, went to the extent of donning a Satanist role and rolled out his methods of salvation in a bid  to ensure his female party members’ security in the wake of increasing  attacks on them.

 Introspecting on the dire condition, he stood his ground and  called for an immediate action, “ If any CPI-M man dares to touch  anybody, I will take out my gun and shoot him. I warn my opponents …I will ask my boys to go there, they will rape them and leave them,” said the thoughtful Paul, a woman’s soul saviour.

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

If one talks of the grand episodes of Indian parliament, one might surely recall the recent fall out that shook viewers testifying a BJP MLA’s vehement attempt at supporting his party’s stance on Najeeb Jung, the Lt. Governor of Delhi. The scene was nothing less than a labyrinth, with our leaders laughing at a distorted scene, with marshals throwing out BJP MLA Om Prakash, owing to his stand on Alka Lamba’s comment on Najeeb Jung.

The heady leader was irked by Alka Lamba’s comment on Najeeb Jung, according to whom, Najeeb Jung must have paid a hefty amount to the ruling government for his appointment.  In order to further add to the flamboyance, the members of the legislative assembly were found laughing their lungs out at the buffoonery.

Picture credit: dailymail.co.uk
Picture credit: dailymail.co.uk

Toeing on a similar scene, SP MP Naresh Agarwal’s and BSP MP Avtar Singh Karimpuri’s blockbuster fist fight in the Lok Sabha over a Bill seeking to provide reservation for SC/STs in government jobs was in no way less than a melodrama etched with spice and action scenes worthy enough to be hooted at.

Our beloved leaders should understand and should learn to grasp the real meaning of decorum and scuttle their attempts at being buffoons. Sound deliberations and introspection might turn out to be a better option, hopefully someday they might mull over the same.

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CJI faces revolt from four senior most SC judges

The four judges -- Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar -- released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago

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Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
  • The sudden revolt against Chief Justice of India (CJI) by the four senior-most judges of Supreme Court has sent the whole judicial system into an uproar.
  • The four judges accused the CJI of corruption and breaches in a surprise Press Conference.
  • Judge Loya’s death’s controversy, supposedly, sparked this reaction out of the other judges.

Divisions in the Supreme Court burst out in the open on Friday when four senior-most judges took an unprecedented step of addressing the media to accuse Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, with one of them pointing to the plea regarding the mysterious death of Special CBI judge B. H. Loya.

The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI's corruption. Pixabay
The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI’s corruption. Pixabay

At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J. Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was “not in order” and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning “with a specific request” failed, forcing them to “communicate with the nation” directly.

The four judges — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar — released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”.

Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: “Yes.”

Judge Loya's death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay
Judge Loya’s death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay

Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.

Plea’s seeking probe came up for a hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday when the top court expressed concerns over it and said it was a “serious issue”. It asked the Maharashtra government to produce all the documents related to the case before January 15.

In a seven-page letter, the four judges said they were not mentioning details of the cases only to avoid embarrassing the institution because “such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent”.

The clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which Justice Misra declared that the Chief Justice “is the master of the roster” having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.

The CJI called himself 'master of roster' further enraging other judges. Pixabay
The CJI called himself ‘master of the roster’ further enraging other judges. Pixabay

The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.

Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice in dealing with the strength of the bench required or the composition thereof.

“A necessary corollary to the above-mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength-wise with due regard to the roster fixed,” they wrote in the letter.

They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to “unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution” but would create “chaos”.

The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on the appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.

The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com
The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com

The government, the letter said, had not responded to the communication and “in view of this silence it must be taken that the MoP has been accepted by the government on the basis of the order of this court”.

Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were “convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country… The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.

“Since all our efforts failed… Even this morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately, we could not convince him that we were right.”

Justice Gogoi said they were “discharging the debt to the nation that has got us here”.

The government appeared to distance itself from the controversy, saying the judges should sort the issue themselves.

Minister of State for Law P. Chaudhary said: “Our judiciary is one of the known, recognised judiciaries in the world. It is an independent judiciary. At this stage, I think no agency is required to intervene or interfere. The Chief Justice and other members should sit together and resolve. There is no question of panic.”

the matter should be resolved among the judges themselves, says P. Chaudhary.

The Supreme Court split had an immediate political fallout, with CPI leader D. Raja saying after meeting Justice Chelameswar that Parliament will have to devise methods to sort out problems like this in the top judiciary.

Two judges, Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, are understood to have called on Justice Chelameswar. IANS