Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, 23 April rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, moved by the Congress-led Opposition.
This is the first time in the country’s history that an impeachment motion would be moved against the CJI.
- Seven Opposition parties, led by the Congress, have submitted a motion to initiate impeachment proceedings against the CJI
- 71 MPs backed the impeachment motion initially, but with the retirement of 7 MPs, the total tally stands at 64
- The move comes a day after the SC ruling in the CBI Judge BH Loya’s death case
VP Venkaiah Naidu Begins Consultation
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, 23 April began consultation process on impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra. As the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Naidu will decide whether the notice will be accepted or rejected.
The VP has spoken to Attorney General KK Venugopal, former Supreme Court judge B Sudershan Reddy, senior officials of the Rajya Sabha secretariat, reported NDTV.
Impeachment Notice Against CJI ‘Attack on Judiciary’: Vijay Goel
The notice for impeachment of the CJI given by the Congress is an “attack on the judiciary” and is “politically motivated”, Union Minister Vijay Goel said on Saturday, 21 April.
Goel said the Congress was in a haste after the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Justice Loya case, which was not as per its “wishes”.
The opposition gave a notice under a provision of the Constitution, which only talks about removal of judges of the apex court and not impeachment, he claimed.
“According to media reports, the Congress has given a notice under Article 124 (4) (of the Constitution), but under this specific article there is only provision for removal of the Supreme Court judge and not for his impeachment. So, this is likely to be rejected,” the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs said.
Impeachment Move Could Have Been Avoided: Cong Leader Ashwani Kumar
Congress leader and former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar expressed his objection to the party’s move against impeachment of CJI Dipak Mishra. Kumar, who is not the only leader within the Congress ranks to express his disagreement, refused to pass any comment on the circumstances that led to it.
The Congress leader who is not a Member of Parliament at present, said he would defied his party even then.
“Would not like to get into the merits of the controversy, I am on a larger principle and the larger principle is that impeachment is the extreme remedy and that to against the chief justice, which is an unprecedented move. This move could have been avoided.” – Ashwani Kumar, Congress Leader to ANI
Manmohan Singh Did Not Sign Impeachment Motion: Reports
According to an NDTV report, Manmohan Singh does not feature among the signatories in the petition seeking the CJI’s impeachment.
According to the channel, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that Manmohan was intentionally not involved in the decision, as he is an ex-PM.
Sibal also denied reports stating that Singh had refused to sign the petition.
Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani Terms Impeachment ‘Mischievous Propaganda’
In an interview with News 18, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said it was ‘mischievous to name a CJI as a criminal.’
Speaking to the channel, Jethmalani said:
“The persons who have initiated this mischievous propaganda are people who have no knowledge of the law at all. Or, they know the law and they have completed ignored it.”
Meenakshi Lekhi Addresses Press Conference
Arun Jaitley Slams Cong for Using Impeachment as a ‘Weapon’
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his blog slammed the Congress for using the impeachment tool as a weapon. In his blog, Jaitley wrote:
“The Congress Party and its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool. “He further termed the Congress’s move to impeach the CJI as a revenge petition after their ‘falsehoods’ in the Judge Loya case stood exposed.
Disappointed and Distressed: Soli Sorabjee
Speaking to News18, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said that he was “disappointed and distressed” at the Opposition’s move.
“I am very disappointed and distressed that some members of the Opposition parties want to impeach the Chief Justice. The CJI can be impeached, but on substantial grounds. We will be striking at the very roots of the judiciary if we take this forward.” – Soli Sorabjee, Former AG
Salman Khurshid Opposes Party’s Impeachment Move
Senior Congress leader and former law minister Salman Khurshid opposed the party-led impeachment motion.
Speaking to ANI, Khurshid said:
“I don’t think anyone should cast aspersions on the judiciary. Not everyone will agree with the judiciary. The judiciary, in fact, doesn’t agree with itself sometimes. But this is procedure, we should respect it” – Salman Khurshid, Congress Leader “Impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with frivolously on the grounds of disagreement with any judgement or point of view of the Court. I am not party to or privy with discussions that have taken place between different parties. For me to reflect specifically on whether the grounds are justified would be unfair.”On Thursday, 19 April, Khurshid said that people should “respect” the SC’s verdict in the Judge Loya death case, even if they were “disappointed” with the verdict.
Did Not Involve Manmohan Singh Intentionally: Sibal
Sibal, in the press conference, also said that the party did not “intentionally” involve former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, amid rumours that he was against the motion.
“It is absolutely false that Manmohan Singh did not sign the Impeachment Motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.” – Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader
Watch: Congress Addresses Media on Impeachment Motion Against CJI
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that seven Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra. Azad made the announcement in the press conference after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
“71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion (against CJI) but as 7 have retired the number is now 64. We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Hon Chairman will take action.” – Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress LeaderSlamming CJI Misra, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the independence of the Judiciary was under “threat”.
“Since CJI office has been taken over by Dipak Misra, the administration of SC has not been in order. This led to the manifestation of the judges holding press conference.The manner in which he (CJI Dipak Misra) has been handling cases has been in question.” – Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader ” 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?.” – Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader
Opposition Meets Venkaiah Naidu
Opposition leaders led by the Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad arrived at Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s house reportedly to discuss the impeachment motion against the CJI.
The Opposition has reportedly collected 64 signatures of Upper House members for the motion which it may submit to Naidu.
SC Says MPs’ Public Statements on Impeachment Unfortunate
The Supreme Court on Friday, 20 April, termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on impeachment of judges.
“We are all very disturbed about it,” a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said after the counsel appearing for a petitioner raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges.
The apex court asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist it to deal with the plea, which has also sought a gag on the media from reporting such statements.
Opposition Meets to Reportedly Discuss Impeachment Motion Against CJI
The Opposition called for a meeting on Friday by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, which comes days after the party had said that the option of moving an impeachment motion against the CJI was still open.
Opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India, and the Nationalist Congress Party reportedly attended the meeting.
Congress leaders had earlier remarked that the issues raised by four senior-most Supreme Court judges have not been addressed yet by the CJI.
During the Budget Session that concluded earlier this month, the Congress had initiated a move collecting more than 50 signatures of Rajya Sabha members in a bid to table the motion, but there were reservations from parties like the Trinamool Congress.
The Congress kept the move on hold, saying it wanted to get as much support as possible from other parties. CJI Misra is scheduled to retire in October 2018.