In a major development, 71 members of the Rajya Sabha cutting across seven opposition parties today delivered a motion of impeachment against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to Vice President and Upper House chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
In a major development, 71 members of the Rajya Sabha cutting across seven opposition parties today delivered a motion of impeachment against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to Vice President and Upper House chairman Venkaiah Naidu. Over 60 MPs of the Rajya Sabha belonging to The opposition parties, led by the Congress, handed the notice for the impeachment against the CJI to the Vice President. The MPs who signed the notice belong to the Congress, NCP, CPI-M and CPI, SP, BSP and the Muslim League. The move came after Opposition leaders met in Parliament and gave final shape to the notice of impeachment.
After the meeting, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad confirmed that the leaders were moving the notice for impeachment against CJI. The opposition said that questions are being asked about the manner in which CJI Misra has handled certain cases and was exercising powers.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal alleged that CJI Deepak Misra violated constitutional norms while exercising his powers. A statements by the Indian National Congress stated that the Chief Justice had failed to assert the independence of the judiciary in the face of interference by the executive. Citing the January 12 press conference by four senior-most judges of the SUpreme Court, former Union Minister Kapil Sibal wondered if the nation should stand still and do nothing when the judges of the apex court themselves believe that the judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI.
The Congress said that the move by the opposition to call for the CJI’s impeachment was one they were doing with a heavy heart, but listed 5 pin-pointed allegations to justify that Dipak Misra’s conduct as the CJI amounted to lapses that made grounds to call for his removal.
Here are the 5 reasons Congress cited for impeachment against CJI Dipak Misra:
1. Charge No 1: The opposition’s first charge relates to an alleged conspiracy to pay illegal gratification by persons in relation to the Prasad Education Trust and the manner in which the case was dealt by the CJI. The Congress quoted that the denial of permission to the CBI to register an FIR against Justice of the Allahabad High Court, when the CBI shared incriminating information with the Chief Justice Narayan Shukla was itself an act of misbehaviour.
2. Charge No 2: The second charge relates to the CJI’s dealing on the administrative as well as on the judicial side with a writ petition which sought an investigation into the matter of Prasad Education Trust, in which the CJI was too likely to fall under the scope of investigation, Congress said.
3. Charge No 3: The third charge by the Opposition amounts to antedating. “The letter quoted that the practice in the Supreme Court is that when the Chief Justice is in a Constitution Bench, and matters are to be listed, requests for listing are made before the first puisne judge,” read the statement. “On 9 November 2017, when a writ petition was mentioned before Justice Chelameswar at 10.30 am since the Chief Justice was sitting in a Constitution Bench, the same was directed to be listed later the same day. When the matter was taken up, a note dated 6 November 2017 was placed before the judges hearing the matter by an official of the Registry. This is the basis of the third charge alleging that the note of 6 November brought to the attention of Justice Chelameswar on 9 November as the matter was taken up was antedated,” said the statement.
4. Charge No 4: The fourth charge, as per the opposition, relates to the CJI having acquired land when he was an advocate by giving an affidavit that was allegedly found to be false. The CJI surrendered the land in 2012 despite the orders of the ADM cancelling the allotment in 1985. “Despite the orders of the ADM cancelling the allotment in 1985, the Chief Justice surrendered the land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court,” said Kapil Sibal.
5. Charge No 5: The fifth charge relates to the alleged abuse of exercise of power by the Chief Justice in choosing to send sensitive matters to particular benches by misusing his authority as Master of the Roster with the likely intent to influence the outcome, the statement read.
At the press conference today, Congress said the matter was regarding the institution of Supreme Court and that no politics was involved in it. It also added that Judge Loya verdict has nothing to do with it as the application for an appointment with Venkaiah Naidu was moved a week ago.
The impeachment motion by the Opposition comes a day after the Supreme Court ordered that there will be no independent probe into the Justice BH Loya death case. The Congress had demanded a fair inquiry to address the “unanswered questions” and accused the BJP of making “false political capital” by “misinterpreting” the apex court order.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on the impeachment of judges. “We are all very disturbed about it,” a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said after the counsel appearing for the petitioner raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges.