Month: September 2011

Impeachment and Removal

Nowadays there has been lot of talk impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen. It is wrong to talk of impeachment of a High Court Judge. A High Court Judge is removed, not impeached.

The constitution of India provides for the impeachment of President and removal of Vice President, Deputy Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha), Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Chief Election Commissioner, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council, Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts and members of Public Service Commissions. Attorney General and Governors hold office during the pleasure of the President. Advocate General holds office during the pleasure of the Governor.

Only the President can be impeached, others can be removed or dismissed.

Soumitra Sen would have been the first judge to be removed by Parliament. Rajya Sabha had voted for his removal. After a few days he resigned. There was difference of opinion on whether the process of removal should continue. His first resignation was rejected as it was conditional. The President accepted his second resignation. The Speaker of Lok Sabha held an all-party meeting and decided not to proceed with the process of removal. May be Soumitra Sen would have lost his pension if he had been removed and not resigned.

Resolution on death penalty

Tamil Nadu is a fit case for imposition of President’s Rule as it is not run as per constitution and its Legislative Assembly passed a resolution asking for mercy to criminals whose petitions had been rejected by the President. Omar Abdullah was right in questioning whether the reaction would have been as muted if Jammu & Kashmir had passed a similar resolution in favour of Afzal Guru. In that case BJP and many other parties would have gone ballistic. There is hypocrisy in Tamil Nadu. Some years back Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution favouring death penalty for the criminals. Parties headed by Karunanidhi and Vaiko were part of NDA which rejected mercy petitions. Ram Jethmalani was member of BJP and did not oppose death penalty then. Madras High Court should not have entertained the petitions and stayed the executions for eight weeks and when that happened Supreme Court should have intervened and vacated the stay. If waiting for death penalty is cruel why extend it by eight weeks? That shows the falsehood of the claim that waiting for death penalty is cruel and an excuse to get death penalty commuted to life imprisonment. What happens in India puts banana republics to shame and there should be a new phrase to describe India.

TV channels are unfair in covering the events. Discussions are not balanced. Those who oppose death penalty are more in number and given more time. On NDTV 24×7 three were against death penalty and two were for death penalty. Pinky Anand who was in favour of death penalty was given very less time to speak. On CNN-IBN all five panellists were against death penalty. There is discussion-fixing. If TV channels are opposed to death penalty they should put a disclaimer before the discussion saying they are against death penalty and the discussion is one-sided. It seems there are efforts to influence public opinion. If TV channels or journalists are influenced by lobbyists they should disclose it. Someone on Times Now said death penalty is barbaric and India is in the company of Saudi Arabia. Death penalty is not barbaric, crime is low in Saudi Arabia and India is in the company of USA and China.

Who paid Ram Jethmalani, Colin Gonsalves and R. Vaigai and how much for appearing for criminals? Who finances PUCL? Why did judges C. Nagappan and M. Sathyanarayan stay the execution? The three lawyers and the two judges should be hanged along with the criminals.