Congress Was Looking for a Friendly Pitch to Bowl on, Says Arun Jaitley on Impeachment Plea in SC

The plea challenging the rejection of the impeachment motion in Rajya Sabha was first placed in front of Justice J Chelameswar, the most senior judge in the SC, and one of the four who had held an unprecedented press conference against the CJI in January this year.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday slammed the Congress party for the impeachment “fiasco” and said the fringe position it had adopted with the “latest attack on the judiciary” will cost it dearly in Karnataka.

Jaitley, who has previously accused Congress of using impeachment notice against the CJI as a political tool of dragging “intra court disputes into the parliamentary process”, wrote another Facebook post, his third in the last few weeks, to say that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India was wholly misconceived, poorly drafted and lacked in substance.

“If the motion for impeachment was unsustainable, the writ petition challenging the order of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, was unarguable,” Jaitley wrote. He said that Venkaiah Naidu’s order to reject the impeachment motion was well-reasoned and not subject to judicial review.

Despite this, he said, the Congress decided to fish in troubled waters on finding the top court to be a divided house. He said that the party had deliberately filed its petition before a “receptive court” to make the “unarguable matter” arguable.

“The Congress conceived of a strategy to choose a court of its choice for mentioning for constitution of the bench to hear the matter so that an unarguable matter could be arguable before a more receptive court. The Congress Party was looking for a friendly pitch to bowl on,” Jaitley added.

The lawyer for the petitioners, two Rajya Sabha MPs, was Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who himself had signed the impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.

He had submitted the plea challenging the rejection of the motion by Naidu in front of Justice J Chelameswar, the most senior judge in the SC, and one of the four who had held an unprecedented press conference against the CJI in January this year.

Jaitley alleged that the Congress had filed the plea in the SC as it wanted the sword to hang on the CJI and the apex court for its judgment in the Judge Loya death case.

“The judgment in the unfortunate death of Judge Loya has already exposed the false hallucination of the Congress Party where it concocted the unnatural death theory. Its efforts of a “foreign shopping” having failed, it refused to argue its unarguable case on merits,” he wrote.

The finance minister said that the leadership of Congress, which always occupied the centre stage of politics, has increasing started adopting fringe positions on issues after being ousted from state after state.

“It is not only electoral arithmetic that it occupies the fringe position but also the position that it adopts on several mainstream issues,” he said.

He listed issues like Rahul Gandhi visiting JNU when the anti-national debate was raging, the party opposing the use of technology like EVMs and demanding the use of paper ballots, preferring cash over digital modes of payment and questioning Aadhaar in courts and Parliament despite pioneering it.

“On economic reforms, the party takes a position hostile to any reform measure and wants to go back on the retrograde policies. The leader has no qualms of releasing his photographs with a convicted ally whom he had once opposed,” Jaitley added, referring to Rahul Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

He questioned if it behove a national party to deviate from the mainstream and take such fringe positions.

“Fringe organisations have no hope of ever coming to power. They can, therefore, afford to take positions which they will never have to implement. But can a party having ruled India for such a long tenure, push itself to take fringe position one after the other? This in reality is the price which each Congressman will pay because its leader has decided that fringe position are better than the mainstream one. The Congressmen in Karnataka will be the immediate victims,” Jaitley said.