New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the Congress and six other Opposition parties on Friday moved a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, accusing him of five counts of “misbehaviour” and “misusing” authority.
The Opposition parties first met in the room of Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and then proceeded to meet Vice-President and Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.
They handed over a notice for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) with signatures of 64 MPs of the Upper House.
However, some dissenting notes from within the Congress also emerged during the day. Interestingly, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was not one of the signatories to the impeachment notice. Any decision on the admission of the impeachment notice against the CJI is likely to be taken by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, following legal consultations.
Accusing the Congress of using impeachment as a political tool, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday termed its notice to remove Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra a “revenge petition” after the Supreme Court’s judgement in Judge Loya death case had “exposed” the conspiracy of falsehood.
Addressing a joint press conference of the Congress, Left parties and the NCP, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “We wish this day had never come. He said the step has been taken “with a heavy heart” to protect the independence of the judiciary.
Charges against CJI
Allegations of misbehaviour against the Chief Justice of India
The “serious charge” of “antedating” (backdating) of an order for listing of a petition related to the investigation against the Prasad Education Trust in the Supreme Court and denial of permission to proceed against a retired High Court judge in the same matter.
Another charge is of listing the petition against the Prasad Education Trust before himself, even when he was heading the Constitution bench, and doing so was against the convention.
The fourth charge pertains to a piece of land which Justice Misra acquired as an advocate by giving a “false affidavit” and the plot was surrendered in 2012 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court, even though orders cancelling the allotment were given in 1985.
The fifth charge relates to “the 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 chairman of Rajya Sabha may form a committee to look into the notice, if he finds merit in it. However, there is no specified time limit for the committee to submit its finding or for the chairman to admit or disallow the notice for