The Hush Post: Here is a list of the five charges framed by Congress MPs to initiate impeachment proceedings against CJI Dipak Misra.
1.The first charge relates to an alleged bribery scandal involving Lucknow-based Prasad Education Trust, which ran a medical college. It was an “act of misbehaviour” on part of the CJI , the notice says, to deny permission to prosecute Allahabad HC judge Narayan Shukla. The Allahabad judge was alleged to have been bribed to deliver a favourable judgement to PET, which the union government had barred from admitting students. The Trust had moved the Allahabad court and the SC, where the CJI also heard it. Meanwhile, CBI was investigating the alleged bribery scandal.
2.The second charge is that the CJI dealt administratively and judicially with a writ petition “in which he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation”.
The notice lists the November 9 incident when Justice Chelameswar was told (by the CJI) not to hear a matter since it was with a different bench. This was a petition related to the CBI investigation into PET.
3.The third charge is that the letter by which Chelameswar was informed of the case allotment was “antedated”. It was dated November 6.
4.The fourth charge is that the Chief Justice acquired land when he was an advocate by giving a false affidavit. “The Chief Justice surrendered the land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court” despite the allotment being cancelled years earlier, the notice says.
5.The fifth charge relates to the “abuse of exercise of power” by the Chief Justice in choosing to send sensitive matters to particular benches by “misusing his authority as Master of the Roster with the likely intent to influence the outcome.”
In a press conference , the Opposition having support of seven political parties, led by Congress, said parties had to move the removal notice with a “very heavy heart” since Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra had not “asserted the independence of judiciary in the face of interference by the executive”.
Former Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not signed the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India. The Congress party, however, downplayed the development and said that he was not approached as he is the ex-PM.
The development comes on the backdrop of 71 MPs, a few of whom have retired since then, from seven parties backing an impeachment motion against the CJI. They said they still had the support of more than 60 Rajya Sabha members. Such notices require the signatures of at least 50 members of a House.
Earlier also, sitting judges have faced removal procedures but no judge has so far been removed despite serious charges of misconduct or corruption as the process could not reach the conclusive stage for one or the other procedural reason.
Justice V Ramaswami, a judge of the Supreme Court, was the first judge in independent India against whom removal proceedings were initiated in 1991. He was charged with spending extravagantly on his official residence during his tenureas chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1990. In his case, the required two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha could not be obtained. Apart from Ramaswamy, proceeding against five other judges were also initiated but none could pass the test.
The Constitution provides that a judge can be removed only by an order of the President, based on a motion passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by a majority of the total membership of the House and also the majority of at least two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.