New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the opposition parties on Friday submitted a petition to Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in favour of an impeachment motion seeking removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. A delegation of the opposition parties met Rajya Sabha chairperson Naidu today in this regard. Briefing the media, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that seven parties had signed the impeachment motion against the CJI. He added that the impeachment motion had been brought under Article 271 of the Constitution, on grounds of ‘misbehaviour’ of CJI Dipak Misra.
Giving further details, Azad said that 71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion, however, as seven of the MPs had retired, the official number was now at 64. “We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Hon Chairman will take action,” Azad told reporters. Raising questions on the manner CJI Dipak Misra had executed his duties, senior Congress leader Kapil Misra said, “Since the day he (Dipak Misra) was appointed as CJI there have been questions raised in the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases.” He further said, “We wish this day had never come in the fabric of our constitutional framework.”
The Congress leaders alleged that the CJI had “misused his power as the master of the roster “, which amounted to misbehaviour. Sibal added that ‘democracy was under threat’ in the country. Referring to the January press conference held by the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, where they had raised questions on the administrative functioning of the apex court, Sibal said, “When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the Judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?”
It is perhaps the first time that such an impeachment motion has been moved against the Chief Justice of India. “The constitution allows only one recourse to remedy the situation.
Since there is no other way to protect the institution except to move on impeachment motion, we, members of the Rajya Sabha, do so with a heavy heart,” the opposition leaders said today.
Incidentally, former Prime Minister and veteran Congress leader Manmohan Singh has not signed the petition, with the Congress downplaying his exclusion, with Sibal stating that the Congress party had itself not approached Singh as he was the former Prime Minister.
The move comes just a day after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions demanding an independent probe into the alleged mysterious case of special CBI Judge BH Loya, stating that the petitions had ‘no merit’ and that the apex court could not become the venue to settle political scores. The Congress party was visibly unhappy with the SC’s decision to dismiss the PIL seeking probe in Justice Loya’s death. Taking to Twitter, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening said, “Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP, instinctively understand the truth about Mr. Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him.” On the other hand, The BJP has welcomed the SC judgment and said that the case, in the first place, was filed in Congress’ interest. “This was a case in the interest of Congress, not in the interest of the nation. This was not a case activated by public interest but driven to promote Cong interest. This was an attack on the judiciary,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said.