Congress to move Supreme Court if CJI's impeachment-notice is rejected

Congress to move Supreme Court if CJI's impeachment-notice is rejected

CJI Misra came under a cloud of suspicion in January this year when in an unprecedented move, the four next highest-ranking judges in the Supreme Court criticized his distribution of cases and questioned certain judicial appointments. There is no denying the fact Congress and other opposition parties don't stand a chance to impeach the CJI but the manner and motive of the whole idea is indeed shameful and a bad precedence for the Judiciary of the nation as well.

The seven parties, including the Congress, that moved the impeachment notice against Misra, listed out five counts of "misbehaviour" which include a charge that the CJI brought a piece of land by filing an affidavit later found to be "false" and he returned the plot only in 2012 after he was elevated even though the same was cancelled in 1985.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress' floor leader in the Rajya Sabha, led leaders of seven parties to meet Venkaiah Naidu yesterday submitting a memorandum containing signatures of 67 MPs demanding impeachment of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Attacking the BJP, it said the ruling party was coming out in "defence" of the CJI and compromising the position and office of the Chief Justice as the neutral arbitrator and head of the judiciary.

Earlier, Justice Ranganath Misra (21st) and Justice Gopal Ballav Patnaik (32nd) have held the post.

At a press conference, the Congress cited a December 15, 2009 precedence when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was then Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, and CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury addressed the media about a motion for removal of a High Court judge. The first case of impeachment of a Supreme Court judge, Justice V. Ramaswamy, was voted out in the Lok Sabha in the mid-90s.

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Amid reports there were differences in the Congress over the impeachment move, former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not sign the motion. It is an attempt to intimidate a Judge and send a message to other Judges, that if you don't agree with us, fifty MP's are enough for a revenge action.

The fourth charge referred to a almost four-decade-old incident, when Justice Misra as an advocate had allegedly given a false affidavit to acquire land which was cancelled by the local additional district magistrate. Therefore, it was important to ascertain whether the CJI was abusing his powers as the "master of the roster" to allot matters to particular benches with "the likely intent of influencing the outcome".

The Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, mandates that the charges in a motion for removal of a judge of the or high courts have to be "definite", on the basis of which an investigation can be initiated. "I hope he (CJI) will follow the convention". Explaining the finer points of the motion, Sibal said under the constitution any Supreme Court judge can be removed only on grounds of "proved misbehaviour" and not for corruption.

Rijiju had criticised Congress on Friday as well saying that had BJP censured the apex court verdict on judge BH Loya's death, the party would have created havoc.

"We are very much sure that the chairman will take action".

Vivek Tankha, Chairman of the Congress' Legal Department, said: "He is the Chief Justice of India".

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