In an unprecedented move, Opposition parties in India have moved to impeach the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Deepak Misra accusing him of corruption, misusing his authority and failing to protect the independence of the judiciary.
In an unprecedented move, Opposition parties in India have moved to impeach the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Deepak Misra accusing him of corruption, misusing his authority and failing to protect the independence of the judiciary. However, this sudden move hasn’t gone down well with the former CJIs. According to a report by The Indian Express, Former Supreme Court judge Justice K T Thomas said that the allegations against CJI Dipak Misra aren’t fit to be called as the same. Justice KT Thomas said that of all the allegations levelled against him, only the allotment of cases relates to his performance as CJI. He added that the other charges against the CJI relate to the period before he became CJI.
Former CJI K G Balakrishnan also pointed out that charges of misbehaviour were not enough to seek removal of a judge, but it has to be “proved misbehaviour”. He added that he is deeply pained by the by the developments and termed it as “disturbing”. Justice R M Lodha termed it as a “sad day” and hoped that “such a situation never comes again”. Justice Lodha said that it is very difficult to call the move politically motivated but pointed out that ultimately it becomes a political exercise as the political parties act on it.
Earlier, the attempts of pursuing an impeachment motion against a Supreme Court judge have proved futile. In four cases, the notices for moving impeachment motions against Supreme Court and High Court judges were followed up by forming inquiry committees.
On May 15, 1970, the impeachment motion against Supreme Court Justice J C Shah was submitted to Speaker GS Dhillon. However, Dhillon turned down the notice after stating as “frivolous”. In May 1993, Supreme Court Justice V Ramaswami became the first to face an impeachment motion. But, as only 196 from 401 Lok Sabha members voted in favour of it, the motion fell through. Ramaswami did not tender his resignation and retired a year later.
Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court also faced the removal process in Rajya Sabha on August 17, 2011 after being accused of appropriating Rs 32 lakh as a court-appointed receiver in a case between Steel Authority of India Limited and Shipping Corporation of India. A three-judge inquiry committee, set up in 2007, held the charges against Justice Sen. However, a judges’ panel upheld the charge. The Lok Sabha was scheduled to discuss the motion on September 5 and 6, 2011. Justice Sen put in his papers on September 1.
Justice S K Gangele of Madhya Pradesh HC was the last to face with removal proceedings. A committee, set up by Ansari in April 2015 after admitting a motion supported by 58 MPs to look into charges of sexual harassment of a woman additional district judge posed in Gwalior, acquitted him last year.