RSS leader's diatribe against aggrieved judges vindicates the judges
The RSS has almost come out in the open to defend Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra from the allegations leveled against him by four of his brother judges in the Supreme Court.
J Nandakumar, All India Executive Committee Member of the RSS, has accused the four judges of “poisoning the waters”, alleging that their act of addressing the media was “a perfect political conspiracy”.
In a post on his Facebook page, Nandakumar identified three reasons that, according to him, indicate a political conspiracy. First, the incident “closely followed” the CJI's order to reopen cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Second, Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal was “pulled up for seeking deferment of the Ayodhya title suit case till after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.” Finally, Nandakumar pointed out that CPI leader D Raja visited Justice J Chelameshwar after the press conference.
Given Nandakumar's stature in the RSS, and the organisation’s much-publicised communication discipline, these words should not be taken lightly. They indicate the thought process in the Sangh Parivar regarding the unprecedented events of 12 January. They also, in a sense, vindicate the judges' allegations.
It is not fair to accuse the judges of being involved in a political conspiracy because nowhere in their exhortations did they allege that the CJI was playing into the hands of the government.
All that they flagged was a series of instances of “cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution” (of the SC) being assigned by the CJI “selectively to the Benches of their preferences without any rational basis for such assignment.”
It must be noted that they consciously chose to avoid mentioning any details of these cases “to avoid embarrassing the institution.” Would the judges have taken such care if this was a political conspiracy?
They were at pains to mention that they had first approached the CJI himself, and called a press conference only after being disappointed by the CJI. Nandakumar has also sought to draw attention to a Charter called the “Restatement of Values of Judicial Life” adopted by the apex court in May 1997.
One of the points in the charter mentions that a Judge “shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.”
Another point is that a Judge is “expected to let his judgments speak for themselves. He shall not give interviews to the media.” What Nandakumar has ignored is that the objective of this charter is to serve as a guide for ensuring an “independent, strong and respected judiciary, indispensable in the impartial administration of justice.”
It is precisely “impartial administration of justice” that the judges appeared to be concerned about. What recourse did they have when the protector of the institution himself, the CJI, was not ready to address their issues?
The issue is still within the judiciary and we are told everyday that efforts are being made to resolve it. Sangh Parivar enthusiasts on social media have in any case been attacking the four judges incessantly. For the RSS to publicly take a stand in such a situation, puts the organisation as well as CJI Misra in a negative light.