The national convener of a key BJP cell on Monday demanded the resignation of Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir because he had decided to go ahead with hearing NCP leader PA Sangma’s petition against Pranab Mukherjee’s election as President.
According to the convener, Justice Kabir should have recused himself from the five-judge constitution bench because he was “close” to Mukherjee’s counsel Pravin H Parekh and Harish Salve. If the CJI does not step down, it could lead to an “unprecedented nationwide move for his removal”, he added.
The five-judge bench — including Justice Kabir — had rejected the election petition 3:2, BJP human rights cell convener Sudhir Aggarwal noted.
Aggarwal has written to the Prime Minister on the matter, marking copies of the letter to the President, CJI, vice-president, Lok Sabha speaker, and leaders of the opposition in both Houses of the Parliament. He alleged that the CJI was the president of a society, of which Mukherjee’s counsels were members.
The BJP had officially distanced itself from Sangma’s move to challenge Mukherjee after the latter was elected President, but one of its leaders – Satya Pal Jain – continued to actively assist Sangma. Significantly, the attack on the CJI also comes from a BJP leader, and the press release was prepared on the party letterhead.
The release reads: “He has placed the question before the nation whether it was just and proper for Hon’ble Justice Altamas Kabir to not recuse himself from the matter as he has close proximity with counsels Pravin H Parekh, who is the hon’ble secretary of International Institute of Human Rights Society, New Delhi, and Harish Salve, who is an office bearer of the same society… Hon’ble Justice Altamas Kabir, CJI, is the elected president of the said society.”
The letter to the PM went on: “We, the people of India, call upon Justice Kabir to uphold the sanctity of the judicial office held by him and resign from office…, and rule that his view of the election petition was nullity…”