First Time : 7 Parties Serve Notice for Impeachment of CJI

First Time : 7 Parties Serve Notice for Impeachment of CJI

In an unprecedented step, seven opposition parties led by the rnCongress party have initiated a move to impeach the Chief Justice of rnIndia Dipak Misra. The notice accused Dipak Misra of "misbehaviour" and rn"misuse" of authority. Levelling five specific allegations, leaders of rnthe seven opposition parties met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who isrn also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and handed over the notice of rnimpeachment bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former MPs, who rnrecently retired. However, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, besides rnthe RJD and some other parties, have backed out from supporting the rnmove.

This is the first time that a notice of impeachment against arn sitting CJI has been moved, even though previously there have been rnthree cases of impeachment motions against the apex court and high courtrn judges in the last 25 years. The only time the impeachment process rnreached the final stage was in 1993 in the case of Justice V Ramaswami rnof the Supreme Court when the final vote failed to get a two-third rnmajority in the Lok Sabha. Ramaswami faced corruption charges. The rnnotice for impeachment comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a rnbunch of petitions seeking an independent investigation into the death rnof Judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter rncase.

The MPs who signed the notice belong to the Congress, the rnNCP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Indian Union Muslim rnLeague (IUML). The leaders of these parties earlier met in Parliament rnand gave final shape to the notice. "We wish this day had never come," rnsenior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told media. He said the step has beenrn taken "with a heavy heart" to protect the independence of the rnjudiciary. "The majesty of the law is more important than the majesty ofrn any office."

Sibal said the allegations against the CJI cannot rnbe ignored and if the notice for the impeachment motion is accepted rn"then as per convention, he has to refrain from discharging his judicialrn functions". Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad rnsaid, "We have moved a motion for removal of Chief Justice of India rnunder five grounds of misbehaviour. "We are very much sure that the rnchairman will take action. We expect positive action from the chairman."rn

Meanwhile, the impeachment move was condemned by the BJP with rnFinance Minister Arun Jaitley accusing the Congress and its friends of rnusing impeachment as a "political tool".

5 Allegations

- "Conspiracy to pay illegal gratification" in the Prasad Education Trust case.

- Denial of permission to proceed against a retired high court judge in the same matter.

-rn "serious charge" of "antedating" (backdating) of an order for listing rnof a petition related to the investigation against the Prasad Education rnTrust in the Supreme Court. Another charge is of listing the petition rnagainst the Prasad Education Trust before himself, even when he was rnheading the Constitution bench, and doing so was against the convention.

-rn "False affidavit" and the plot was surrendered in 2012 when he was rnelevated to the Supreme Court, even though orders cancelling the rnallotment were given in 1985.

- "The abuse of exercise of power rnby the Chief Justice in choosing to send sensitive matters to particularrn benches by misusing his authority as Master of the Roster with the rnlikely intent to influence the outcome".

Procedure

Anrn impeachment motion in Rajya Sabha has to be supported by at least 50 rnMPs, while that in the Lok Sabha is to be supported by 100 MPs Once the rnnotice for impeachment is submitted, the Rajya Sabha chairman will rnascertain if there is merit or ground for moving such a motion or can rnreject it.

If the motion is admitted, then a three-member rncommittee comprising a senior judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of a rnhigh court and a distinguished jurist is formed to investigate the rncharges levelled against the CJI. If the committee supports the motion, rnit can be taken up for discussion. It must be passed by a special rntwo-third majority of MPs in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. After rnit is passed in both Houses, it is presented to the President, who can rnpass a Presidential Order for the removal of the CJI.