Opposition Parties Initiate Impeachment Procedure Against Chief Justice of India

Opposition Parties Initiate Impeachment Procedure Against Chief Justice of India

Opposition Parties Initiate Impeachment Procedure Against Chief Justice of India

Leveling five specific allegations, leaders of the Opposition parties met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and handed him over the notice of impeachment bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former MPs, who recently retired.

As the Budget session of Parliament was ending on April 6, several Opposition parties had second thoughts on moving an impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Nearly 64 Parliamentarians belonging to seven political parties today signed the impeachment notice for proceedings against CJI Misra. This manifested itself when four senior most judges held a press conference on January 12 where they publicly expressed their disquiet about the manner in the CJI was exercising his powers.

Moreover, since the matter involves the CJI, who is the master of the roster, who would, in his absence, take a call on which bench will hear the plea? Now opposition parties have further deepened the crisis by launching impeachment motion.

Justice Deepak Mishra, the Chief Justice of India has just delivered a ruling on a clutch of petitions claiming that judge Loyola had died an unnatural death and must be investigated. The political parties that are part of the move are the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Muslim League.

The test is of reasonableness, whether there are actual grounds for such motion, whether the introduction of such motion is in furtherance of constitutional values and principles.

However, reports said that opposition parties like Trinamool Congress (TMC), DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) did not support the impeachment motion.

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In any case, who will - or can - hear the case against the sitting CJI?

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing an NGO, "In Pursuit of Justice", argued that politicians were making all kinds of public statements about removal of a judge without there being any motion in this regard before Parliament. He will give due consideration to the fact that any decision to probe the CJI can impact public perception of judiciary and the standing and reputation of CJI Misra.

It would indeed be foolhardy for the opposition to persist with an impeachment motion which would only bring them negative publicity and public ridicule.

An impeachment motion in Rajya Sabha has to be supported by at least 50 MPs, while one in the Lok Sabha is to be supported by 100 MPs.

On the other hand, a senior leader of the BJP and the country's finance minister Arun Jaitley accused the opposition of trivializing the provision of impeachment, describing it as "a risky event".

Chief Justice Misra hails from Odisha.

"We took upon ourselves to move the impeachment motion in the background set out above but on the basis of charges of acts of misbehaviour that are set out in the impeachment motion".

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