In a significant development, 58 members of Rajya Sabha moved a petition seeking impeachment of Gujarat High Court judge JB Pardiwala for his alleged remarks against the reservation system. In their plea moved before the Chairman of Upper house Friday, the MPs have termed judge’s alleged remarks as “unconstitutional”.
According to their petition, Justice Pardiwala had made those alleged contentious remarks while delivering the judgment on an application filed against Hardik Patel, the leader of Patidar agitation in Gujarat, on December 1. The petition states that Gujarat High Court judge had remarked that two things have “destroyed this country or rather, (have) not allowed this country to progress in the right direction…(i) reservation and (ii) corruption”.
The petition goes on to say that Justice JB Pardiwala had also said that “when our Constitution was framed, it was understood that the reservations would remain for a period of ten years, but unfortunately, it has continued even after 65 years of independence”.
Eliciting the constitutional provisions on the reservation policy, the members said that the ten-year limit was prescribed for the political reservations i.e. representation to the SCs and STs in the Union and state legislatures, and not the reservation in the areas of education and employment. “It is distressing that Justice J B Pardiwala should be unaware of the constitutional provision with respect to the policy for the SCs and the STs,” their petition further read.
Pitching their appeal before Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to initiate the proceedings for impeachment against Justice Pardiwala, the members strongly noted that since the observations of a judge find place in judicial proceedings, “these are unconstitutional in nature and amount to behaviour misconduct towards the Constitution of India that forms the ground for an impeachment”.
The MPs who signed the petition include Anand Sharma, Digvijay Singh, Ashwani Kumar, PL Punia, Rajeev Shukla, Oscar Fernandes, Ambika Soni, BK Hariprasad (all Congress), D Raja (CPI), KN Balagopal (CPI-M), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), SC Misra and Narinder Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and DP Tripathi (NCP).
The matter is now under the consideration of Rajya Sabha Chairman Md. Hamid Ansari.
In their petition, the MPs have attached a copy of the resolution passed unanimously at a meeting attended by MPs, MLAs, former ministers of Gujarat and Government of India and leading members of SC/STs and OBCs, held at Ahmadabad on December 12 that sought action, including an impeachment against the said judge for his remarks against reservations.
Members of a Parliamentary panel on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, cutting across party lines, had on Thursday assailed the alleged remarks of a Gujarat High Court Judge and warned of impeachment proceedings against him. Meanwhile, the members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on SC/ST at a meeting in Parliament House have also “condemned” the remarks by Justice JP Pardiwala.
A protest may also be staged by some MPs in front of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s statue on December 23.
(With inputs from the PTI)