BJD not in favour of impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra

Erika Holt
April 21, 2018

The leaders of these parties earlier met in Parliament and gave final shape to the notice for impeachment. Impeachment has to be matter of last resort; it should not destroy intra-institutional relationship between the Judiciary and the Parliament.

All is not smooth sailing for the Congress, and a few important stalwarts like the ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh have refused to sign the petition.This is something that will not be to the liking of the Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

He said the law was also silent on what could be done if the Rajya Sabha Chairman decides to sit on the notice.

Once the notice for impeachment is submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman, he will ascertain whether there is merit or ground for moving such a motion.

The fate of the impeachment motion rests with Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu, who is likely to seek legal opinion before accepting or rejecting it. The Congress Party and its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool, " he said in his Facebook post.

Apparently referring to the controversial January 12 press meet by four senior-most apex court judges - J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - who raised issues that were reflected in the impeachment notice, he said discontent among the judges of the top court did not justify the move.

Veteran lawyer Sibal had defended SC judge V. Ramaswami in 1993 when he faced an impeachment motion over charges of financial impropriety.

"When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the judiciary's independence is under threat and democracy in peril, alluding to the functioning of the office of the Chief Justice of India, should the nation stand still and do nothing?"

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The facts and circumstances relating to the Prasad Educational Trust case show prima facie evidence suggesting that chief justice Dipak Misra may have been involved in the conspiracy of paying illegal gratification, which at least warrants a thorough investigation. The fourth charge pertains to a piece of land which CJI 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. It is unlikely to pass muster because the movers lack the strength - the support of a majority of the total membership as well as two-thirds of those present and voting - in both Houses.

The CJI is also being charged with misusing his power as Master of the Roster by assigning sensitive cases to particular benches, with a possible intent to influence the outcome.

They also hoped that the Chairman would take a decision on their impeachment motion in a reasonable time.

Justice V. Ramaswami was the only Supreme Court judge to face an impeachment motion before Justice Misra. "Some people's matters are on (before courts) and we do not want to embarrass them", he said.

Once the committee lends its support to the motion, it can be taken up for discussion. The charges read out are issues those which have been settled by judicial orders or by precedent. "More than three months have passed, nothing has changed". Allegations of financial impropriety and irregularities were made against Justice Ramaswami from when he was Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

"As representatives of the people, we are entitled to hold the Chief Justice accountable, just as we are accountable to the people".

In 2016, Justice Nagarjuna Reddy of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana courted controversy when 61 Rajya Sabha members moved a petition for his impeachment on charges of misusing his position to "victimise" a "Dalit" judge.

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