58 MPs seek impeachment proceedings against Gujarat HC judge

58 Rajya Sabha MPs today moved a petition before the Chairman seeking impeachment of Gujarat High Court judge J B Pardiwala for his alleged “unconstitutional” remarks against reservation made in the Hardik Patel case.

The MPs alleged that while delivering the judgment on a special criminal application against Hardik Patel, Justice Pardiwala has ruled 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 said the judge has also mentioned 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”.

The MPs said that the ten-year limit was prescribed for the political reservations ie 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,” it said.

The petition by MPs said since the observations of the 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 have appealed to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to initiate the proceedings for impeachment against Justice Pardiwala and have attached the necessary documents alongwith.

Sources in the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s office confirmed having received the petition and said it is “under consideration”.

The MPs who signed the petition include Anand Sharma, Digvijay Singh, Ashwani Kumar, P L Punia, Rajeev Shukla, Oscar Fernandes, Ambika Soni, B K Hariprasad (all Congress), D Raja (CPI), K N Balagopal (CPI-M), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), S C Misra and Narinder Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and D P Tripathi (NCP).

A minimum of 50 MPs are required to sign such a petition in Rajya Sabha, while in Lok Sabha the number is 100.

The MPs also 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 yesterday assailed the alleged “anti-reservation” remarks of a Gujarat High Court Judge and warned of impeachment proceedings against him.

The members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on SC/ST at a meeting in Parliament House “condemned” the remarks by Justice J P Pardiwala and resolved to stage a protest in front of B R Ambedkar’s statue on December 23.

The meeting was attended among others by Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Weeks after the Supreme Court scrapped the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, BJP member Udit Raj had targeted the judge in the Lok Sabha.

Pardiwala had made the remarks on December 1 while quashing the charge of ‘waging war against government’ against Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel and retaining the one of sedition.

An impeachment motion has to be passed by a two­ thirds majority of members present and voting. It has to be moved by a minimum of 100 Lok Sabha members or 50 Rajya Sabha members.

Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Pravin Rashtrapal said, ” a meeting of Dalit community was called on December 12 in Ahmedabad in which all party members remained present. A decision was taken in this meeting that the Judge should face impeachment motion for comparing corruption with reservation system.”

Rashtrapal further said, “the judge said something which was not constitutional. He said reservation was only for 10 years. Actually reservation for education and jobs was not for 10 years. The limit of 10 years was for assembly and parliament seats, but various governments extended that limit.”

BJP MP from Ahmedabad, Kirit Solanki said, reservation is constitutional provision and the Judge has questioned it. The judge has made unconstitutional observation after taking oath of constitution. And therefore we have written a letter to the President of India, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Chief Justice of India and Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court to take action against the judge.

About Justice Pardiwala:

Justice Pardiwala, 50, comes from a family of lawyers. His is the fourth generation in his family to practice law.His great grandfather Navrojji Pardiwala began practice in 1894 at Valsad. His father Burjor Cawasji, an advocate, was speaker of Gujarat assembly in the late 1980s.

Justice Pardiwala began legal practice at Valsad in 1989 and then shifted to the high court the next year. He was appointed HC judge in 2011. Regarding Justice Pardiwala’s judgments and observations, retired high court judge BJ Shethna has said: “He has proved himself in a very short time. He gave up a lucrative practice to become judge. He has remained outstanding -first as a lawyer and now as a judge.”

Portion of Justice Pardiwala’s order

If I am asked by any one to name two things, which has destroyed this country or rather, has not allowed the country, to progress in the right direction, then the same is, (i) Reservation and (ii) Corruption. It is very shameful for any citizen of this country to ask for reservation after 65 years of independence. When our Constitution was framed, it was understood that the reservation would remain for a period of 10 years, but unfortunately, it has continued even after 65 years of independence. The biggest threats, today, for the country is corruption. The countrymen should rise and fight against corruption at all levels, rather than shedding blood and indulging in violence for the reservation. The reservation has only played the role of an amoeboid monster sowing seeds of discord amongst the people. The importance of merit, in any society, cannot be understated. The merit stands for a positive goal and when looked at instrumentally, stands for “rewarding those actions that are considered good”. Then, this instrumental nature of merit that should be given importance – emphasizing on and rewarding merit is a means towards achieving what is regarded as good in the society. The parody of the situation is that India must be the only country wherein some of the citizens crave to be called backward.

Published on Desh Gujarat