Impeachment Talk "Unfortunate", Says Top Court As Plea Seeks Gag On Media

The opposition has been trying to forge a broad consensus on impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra since the CPM suggested the idea in January. It gave a notice today to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha

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Impeachment Talk 'Unfortunate', Says Top Court As Plea Seeks Gag On Media

The Opposition has been working for a consensus on the impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Top court called the public discussions on impeachment "unfortunate"
  2. Sought Attorney General's views after petition asks for gag on media
  3. Said was "very disturbed" about politicians' statements against judiciary
As the opposition took the unprecedented decision to move for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the Rajya Sabha, the Supreme Court sought the Attorney General's views on restraining the media from reporting on impeachment of judges. The court called the public discussions on impeachment "unfortunate" and said it was "very disturbed" about politicians' statements against the judiciary.

The observation came in response to a petition -- filed by a Pune-based lawyers' organization -- that sought a gag on the media, citing a report by the Law Commission.  The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhusan, however, turned down the petitioners' request to place an interim ban on the media, saying it would wait for the Attorney General KK Venugopal's response. The case will be heard next on May 7.

The opposition has been trying to form a broad consensus on the impeachment since the CPM suggested the idea in January. Its notice today to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, was signed by more than 60 members from across seven political parties.  

The focus on the role of the Chief Justice came after four of the Supreme Court's most senior judges went public with the allegation that the Chief Justice was abusing his position as "master of the roster" and sensitive cases were being allocated to junior judges.

Last week, the top court called petitions that sought transparency in rostering "scandalous". "The Chief Justice of India is the highest authority and he can't be distrusted," said a three-judge bench that was led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Yesterday's order by the top court, that said there will be no special investigation in judge BH Loya's death, also drew criticism. The case was one of those where rostering process by the Chief Justice of India was called into question by the dissenting judges.

The Congress signalled its disappointment with the order, calling it a "sad letter day in India's history" and claiming "there are still questions before those who believe in the judiciary".

When he died in 2014, judge Loya was handling a murder case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused.  Some members of his family questioned the death, alleging that he was offered a huge bribe and was under immense mental pressure. The bench led by Chief Justice Misra yesterday questioned the motive of the petitioners, saying political rivalries should be settled in a democratic manner, not in courts.

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