It is an irony that the removal of superior court judges is in complete sync with the caste and regional politics.
Strangely judges who are under oath to be impartial in dispensation and act above caste find it easier to invoke the plea of caste or region that they belong to overawe the gravity of the allegations such as misconduct, corruption or amassing of wealth from unknown sources.
No fault can be found with the old adage that money is above caste, creed, faith, region, sex and legal and constitutional obligations. In a way it’s secular in the real sense of the term.
When a woman high court judge faced the prosecution for taking bribe, she cried foul saying she was discriminated against for she is a woman.
Earlier in 90s when a Supreme Court judge V Ramaswami faced the inquiry under the Judges Inquiry Act, a step before impeachment by parliament, his sympathisers vehemently argued that he had been singled out because he belonged to the southern part of the country.
The north -south divide overtook the findings of the inquiry committee that had held him guilty of ‘proven misconduct’.
However, a section of politicians who were more concerned with the fast-approaching polls in Tamil Nadu and its neighbouring states helped him out.
The Congress walked out at the crucial moment when the House was to pass the motion of removal by two-thirds of MPs present and voting. He escaped.
After being ‘removed’ unceremoniously, a judge is stripped of the right to call him or her a retired or a former judge.
That capitalisation on provincial sentiments had paid the dividends to Ramaswami. Now, Justice P D Dinakaran is following the footprints left behind by Ramaswami.
In his resignation letter to the president, Dinakaran says that he is being targeted as “he belongs to a lower caste’’, and that he has a sneaking suspicion that his misfortune was because of his “birth in the socially oppressed and underprivileged section of the society’’.
According to Dinakaran “integrity of members of these communities who attain high office is always baselessly questioned through innuendo, sneering and spreading of false rumours while the privileged are treated by the vested interests as embodiment of all virtues’’.
He shouldn’t forget that the first ‘dalit’ chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan had recommended his elevation to the apex court despite massive protests from within the member of collegium.