For the first time in three decades, India has a government with a single-party majority of itself in the Lok Sabha. A clash between the government and Constitutional institutions was more or less foreordained. But it was difficult to foresee that the gravest threat to institutional integrity will come from opposition parties.

With an unprecedented move to initiate impeachment proceedings against the sitting chief justice, Congress and six other political parties have given an ugly turn to their fight with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It is unlikely that the impeachment motion will succeed, but the consequences can nevertheless be devastating. In future, it will be difficult to separate the perceived political biases of the chief justice from case allotments and judgments.

In recent years, high-profile institutions like the Reserve Bank of India, the Election Commission, and the armed forces have all been caught in bitter political crossfire. The government has several questions to answer. But the Congress-led opposition can now be blamed for bringing India’s crisis of institutions to its lowest.

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