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Notice for CJI Dipak Misra's impeachment on Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu's desk

With seven signatories having retired recently, 64 sitting MPs effectively backed the motion, for which the minimum number is CJI 50.

Published: 21st April 2018 07:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2018 12:57 PM   |  A+A-

Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu (File | PTI)

Express News Service

Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu is today likely to consider the motion for the impeachment of the CJI Dipak Misra, served by the Opposition parties. 

Naidu will be consulting legal opinions on whether to consider the notice or not, weighing the evidence against the CJI. 

According to the Hindustan Times, in previous cases when 'similar notices' were submitted, the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha speaker has taken three to 13 days to decide.

If the notice is admitted, the Chairman will constitute a three-member inquiry committee, which will have submit a report in three months, to look into the charges alleged against the Chief Justice. 
The committee will include a senior Supreme Court judge, a high court judge and a distinguised jurist.

A day after the Supreme Court ruled out an independent probe into special CBI judge 
BH Loya’s death saying documentary evidence indicated he died of “natural causes”, the Opposition, spearheaded by the Congress, moved a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. 

As many as 71 Rajya Sabha MPs from the Congress, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, SP, BSP and the Indian Union Muslim League signed the notice submitted to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, also the Rajya Sabha Chairman, on Friday.

However, with seven signatories having retired recently, 64 sitting MPs effectively backed the motion, for which the minimum number is 50.

If the motion reaches Parliament, it will be the first instance of a Chief Justice of India facing his removal and the fourth time a judge from the higher judiciary is doing so. None of the three earlier impeachment motions has reached its logical conclusion. And the whole process is so cumbersome, it might not be over before CJI Misra’s scheduled retirement on October 2.

READ | CJI impeachment motion: Four acts of 'misbehaviour' levelled against Chief Justice Dipak Misra

CJI Dipak Misra (Illustration | Amit Bandre)

Also, the notice moved on Friday was not a united step by the Opposition or even by the Congress. There were divisions within the Congress, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh staying away from the move and senior Supreme Court advocate Salman Khurshid expressing reservations. The notice was not backed by rival parties like Trinamool, DMK and RJD. 

“We deliberately kept the former prime minister away, keeping in mind that he held a top constitutional post,” Congress veteran Kapil Sibal said.

READ | Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram among those who did not sign impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra

Senior advocate Aryama Sundaram said, “This is the most unfortunate thing... This sets a bad precedent. Who will believe the institution if our elected MPs start disbelieving it? By doing this, they will make judges silent.”Although there were claims by the Opposition that the impeachment notice had nothing to do with the Loya case, a link between the two did not appear unlikely in the light of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s assurance to Justice Loya’s family that the country would not forget his death.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad Kapil Sibal CPI's D Raja
and KTS Tulsi address a press conference after opposition parties
submitted a notice to the Vice President and RS Chairperson
Venkaiah Naidu to initiate impeachment proceedings against
CJI Dipak Misra in New Delhi, 20
April, 2018. | PTI

Rahul tweeted on Friday: ‘There is no hope left, everything is managed’, says Judge Loya’s family. I want to tell them, there is hope. There is hope because millions of Indians can see the truth. India will not allow Judge Loya to be forgotten.”

Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, was quick to deny any link between the two. He claimed the Opposition had sought an appointment with Naidu a week ago but was given time only on Friday.Sources said the Opposition was likely to wait for around two weeks for Naidu to take a decision on the merits of the motion. If he rejects the motion, the Opposition could go in for a judicial review.Sibal said as per norms, any judge against whom an impeachment motion is accepted stops attending court. He hoped tradition would be followed in the CJI’s case as well.

The charges

Graft angle in Prasad Education Trust case and the manner in which CJI dealt with it. CBI FIR mentions taped conversations between middlemen, including a retired Orissa High Court judge, loaded with innuendos against the CJI. CBI denied permission to register FIR against Justice Narayan Shukla of the Allahabad High Court despite the agency sharing incriminating information with CJI 

CJI dealt with a writ petition seeking investigation into the Prasad Education Trust on both the administrative and the judicial sides, though he, too, was likely to fall within the scope of investigation

On Nov 9, 2017, a writ petition was mentioned before Justice Chelameswar since CJI was sitting in a Constitution Bench. When the matter was taken up, a note dated November 6, 2017 was placed before the judges hearing the matter by an official of the Registry. The note was antedated

SC judge Jasti Chelameswar (seated, second from left) along with
other judges addresses a press conference in New Delhi. | PTI

CJI Misra acquired land when he was an advocate by giving an affidavit which was found to be false. Despite orders of the ADM cancelling the allotment in 1985, CJI surrendered it only in 2012 after he was elevated to SC

Misra abused administrative authority as master of roster to arbitrarily assign individual cases of particular advocates in politically sensitive cases, to select judges in order to achieve a predetermined outcome

What next

■     RS Chairperson and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to seek legal opinion, send notice to the law ministry for advice. He can accept or reject impeachment notice
■     If admitted, he will have to set up a three-member probe panel consisting of one SC judge, one HC CJ and a distinguished jurist
■     After the panel files the probe report, he would share it with Lok Sabha
■     Both Houses need to pass an ‘address to the President’, seeking the CJI’s axing with 2/3rds majority of MPs present in each House during vote
■     If both addresses succeed, then the President can sack CJI through a Presidential Order

SC calls it disturbing, seeks Attorney general view

The Supreme Court on Friday said it was very disturbed by statements by MPs in public on the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. A bench of justices 

A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan made the observations while hearing of a petition. It sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal to deal with the issue and a plea which has sought laying of guidelines to regulate the procedure to be followed prior to initiating a motion for removing a judge of the top court.

(with online Desk inputs)



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