Congress MPs have withdrawn a plea challenging the rejection of CJI impeachment notice by the RS chairperson. Frankly, it was a game of wits. And, Kapil Sibal blinked. Maybe Congress should have entrusted this job to a regular full-time lawyer who had mastered the nuances of Supreme Court’s workings.
First, one constitution bench was formed consisting lawyers whose seniority is 6 to 10 from the top. Congress contended that CJI can’t hear a case that involves his own impeachment. Well, going by the same logic, even the next four seniors are eliminated as they went against CJI in public. So, the next five seniors. And there is Arun Mishra, against whom Prashant Bhushan& Co. has raised some points earlier. But, once it is constituted, this constitution bench can’t be questioned.
So, what is the best option for Kapil Sibal? To question who formed the constitution bench. He presumed it was CJI who constituted the bench and questioned, how can he constitute a bench to try a case involving himself – the same argument. Apparently, Registrar General has not passed the order and so Kapil Sibal termed there is no judicial order and interpreted the order as an administrative one.
He asked for a copy of the order that constituted the bench. When questioned whether he applied for the order, all Sibal could do was wondering in what way the dignity of the institution will be jeopardised if he was given a copy of the order. What he missed was “the Procedure” that is the foundation of our judiciary (the main reason behind its lethargy, some would say).
Kapil Sibal wanted to prove that it was CJI who constituted a bench to try a case that involves himself. In fact, he could have asked for a date so he can come prepared to argue before the constitution bench. But, like children involved in catfights, he demanded a copy of the order be given or the bench put it on record that he is not entitled for one. As he never applied for the order, entitlement becomes redundant.
On being denied both options, influenced by his behaviour in parliament, he announced a walk out – in this case. He said he would withdraw the case. Waiting for this statement, the bench immediately declared that the case is dismissed as withdrawn.
Now, Congress may argue in the streets as they were already denied to do so in the parliament. But, they can’t make this issue an electoral one. A case of proprietary involving CJI, who is nothing but an elite judge, especially when the judge who raised objections against him was seen with politicians (of all, it was a communist politician – the worst possible kind) will never stimulate the voters who are interested in getting holiday ideas by seeing Bollywood babes in bikinis.
The best course of action for Kapil Sibal was to continue his arguments irrespective of the outcome. His colleagues in the street may question “Who formed the Constitution Bench”. But, he was inside the court and what he says is heard across nation, even as an argument. This is one chance he got to convey to Congress cadre – to give them a direction; and he missed the chance.
Maybe it was for a good reason that Subramanian Swamy, not an LLB could make Gandhis come and stand before a magistrate. Many Congress leaders are lawyers. But, it appears they amassed most of their fortunes only by political settlements or power broking. Had they practiced law in the courts, they would have known how to argue in the courts. Learn from Jaitley who motivated Kejriwal to go on an apology spree.