Legal experts divided on CJI impeachment

Legal experts divided on CJI impeachment

Seven opposition parties including the Congress party had met Venkaiah Naidu on Friday and handed him the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

On April 20, the opposition parties led by Congress moved the impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha, seeking the removal of CJI Misra under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India. "We'll certainly file a petition (in Supreme Court) against this & would want the CJI to not take any decision with respect to it, be it the listing or anything else, we'll accept whatever SC decides", Sibal said.

According to sources, Naidu held deliberations with a number of constitutional and legal experts, including Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.

He also termed the upper house chairman's decision as "ill-advised", saying that he should have consulted the judges in the collegium taking a call on the privilege motion.

The order said the conversation between third parties with dubious credentials can not themselves constitute material evidence against CJI. They include MPs from the Congress, the NCP, CPM, the CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Muslim League. The notice has been rejected by Venkaiah Naidu but Mr Sibal, a senior lawyer, has said he will not appear in the court of the Chief Justice.

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He said this move by Naidu was also illegal because the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is required to conduct "a full-fledged inquiry" before he announces a decision. The party had on Sunday said Dipak Misra should consider recusing himself from judicial and administrative work till he was cleared of the charge of "misbehaviour".

India's vice president on Monday rejected a move by a group of opposition parties to impeach the country's top judge on grounds of misusing his office and bowing to government pressure. Several other senior BJP leaders reiterated Lekhi's assertions while adding that the Congress, and other Opposition parties, was trying to derail constitutional processes and institutions for their personal political gains.

Naidu is of the opinion that the Hon'ble Members of Parliament who presented the petition are unsure of their own case. "You can not boot the privilege in this manner", Sibal said, adding that the government is very keen that charges made in the petition must not be allowed to be inquired into.

"Based on all this, I have come to the conclusion that this motion does not deserve to be admitted.On careful analysis and reflection, I find there is virtually no concrete verifiable imputation", he said.

"I am constrained to observe that in the matter, the well established parliamentary customs and conventions have been delineated and the paragraph 2.2 of the handbook of the Rajya Sabha members have been disregarded. This is truly a fight between forces "Rejecting Democracy" and voices "Rescuing Democracy", Mr Surjewala claimed. "When you have a man like the chief justice of the Supreme Court, it (impeachment notice) has to have something that is far more important than just saying he did not do this or that".

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