The Hush Post: In a move never heard of before, opposition parties led by Congress took the first step towards the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
They have submitted a petition with more than 64 signatures to Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
As per the petition, five allegations have been listed such as “misbehaviour” against the Chief Justice.
Probably, for the first time in the country’s constitutional history, an impeachment motion would be moved against the CJI. Pertinently, the impeachment notice comes just a day after the apex court rejected petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Judge B H Loya.
Prominently missing among the signatories are former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal has categorically denied the conjectures that there was a division within the Congress about the issue. He said, “Since the issue dealt with the constitution, we have deliberately not included Dr Manmohan Singh, as he is a former Prime Minister. With regard to some others, whose cases are going on, we did not wish to embarrass them,” Sibal told the media. The impeachment has been condemned by the BJP. The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress and other parties of using impeachment as a “political tool.”
Jaitley said that the notice is a ‘revenge petition’ after the Supreme Court’s judgment in Judge Loya death case ‘exposed’ the conspiracy of falsehood.
Meanwhile, the TMC, DMK, and RJD and some other parties have refused to support the move.
What is impeachment and how does it happen? The process for the removal of a Supreme Court judge is mentioned in Article 124(4) of the Constitution. To initiate impeachment, a motion has to be moved by 50 Rajya Sabha members or 100 Lok Sabha.
If the motion is admitted, the Speaker of the LS or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha will constitute an inquiry committee. This inquiry committee will comprise three members – a Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and an eminent jurist. The committee will frame charges and ask the judge to give a written response.
The judge also has the right to examine witnesses. After the inquiry, the committee will determine whether the charges are valid or not and then submits its report.
If the inquiry committee finds that the judge is not guilty, then there is no further action. If it finds him guilty, then the House of Parliament which initiated the motion, may consider continuing with the motion.
The motion will be then debated and the judge (or his representative) will have the right to represent his case. After that, the motion will voted upon. If there is two-thirds support of those voting, and majority support of the total strength of the House, it will be considered to have been passed. The process will then repeated in the other House.
After that, the Houses will send an address to the President asking that the judge be removed from office.
How the impeachment motion against CJI Deepak Mishra really began: It started after Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, and Kurian Joseph in January this year held a press conference and issued a statement to say that the situation in the Supreme Court was “not in order” and that many “less than desirable” things had taken place.