Seven opposition parties, led by Congress, have moved an impeachment motion in Rajya Sabha against CJI Dipak Misra. The development came after a delegation of political parties met with Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu at his residence earlier in the day.
Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad told media:
“We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. We have sought his removal under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India. … 71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion but as seven have retired the number is now 64. We have mentioned this in the letter. We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Honourable Chairman will take action.”
Senior Advocate & Congress leader Kapil Sibal said:
“Since Chief Justice Dipak Misra was appointed to the high office, there have been situations when questions have been raised about the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases and taken certain administrative decisions.”
Senior Advocate & Congress Leader Salman Khurshid, howver, said:
“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 and for me to reflect specifically on whether the grounds are justified would be unfair.”
It is not the first time that the Supreme Court has been marred by controversy ever since CJI Misra has joined the office. The initiation of the impeachment motion was back on the opposition’s agenda after the senior most judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice J. Chelameswar, along with Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Jospeh, held a press conference over the controversy relating to assignment of cases by the CJI. The judges had also released the letter that they had addressed to the CJI on the said issue. On the principle of Chief Justice being the ‘master of the roster’, the letter states:
“The convention of recognizing the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the Court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of the business of the Court but not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues.”
It is important to note that earlier, the Court number 1 of the Supreme Court witnessed a high voltage drama when a 7-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra, assembled for reviewing the 2-judge bench order calling for constitution of a Constitution Bench of the first five judges of the Supreme Court to hear the matter wherein it was alleged that attempts were made to bribe some Supreme Court Judges in the matters relating to Medical admission scam. The bench of J Chelameswar and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ had given the said order on 09.11.2017 .
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was one of the 4 judges who held the aforementioned press conference, is next in line to be the Chief Justice of India after CJI Justice Dipak Misra retires on 02.10.2018.
To know more about the current Chief Justice of India, click here.
(With inputs from ANI)