20 October, 2020

Grand Jury At Large

Politicians take sides on Justice Punchhi's appointment as CJ

Grand Jury At Large
Political campaigns for and against Justice M.M. Punchhi, seniormost sitting Supreme Court judge and next in line for chief justice, picked up speed as incumbent Jagdish Sharan Verma's retirement on January 18, 1998, approached. Verma kept the Union government—and the nation—guessing. As late as Boxing Day, he had given no indication whether he would recommend Punchhi as his successor, creating immense consternation in political circles.

For the first time in judicial history, Rajya Sabha members launched a signature campaign against a probable chief justice. According to Hardev Singh of the Committee on Judicial Accountability (COJA), which set the campaign against Punchhi rolling in June 1997 with a 7-point memorandum questioning his integrity, some 30 MPs, cutting across party lines, lent their signatures.

Former Union law minister Shanti Bhushan says a process of impeachment could be initiated if the number reached 50. A representation would then be made to the vice-president to raise the issue in the House. But with the Lok Sabha having been...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Bhavdeep Kang

Latest Magazine

October 26, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section