Here are the LIVE updates about the Congress-led motion to impeach the Chief Justice of India:
- When you file a motion for impeachment and 100 members of the Lok Sabha sign it, the process of inquiry starts. A three member committee is formed over it.
- Vice President is not a judge to the cause. If 50 people have signed it and there is proved misbehaviour he can reject it. But this is only if there is "proved misbehaviour".
- This has nothing to do with any political party. We want integrity, transparency in the judiciary.
- We know why we are fighting for this. We are fighting this for our principles.
- We did not go to Manmohan Singh for signatures.
- This is not a political issue, only the process is political.
- It relates to members of parliament. Some political parties think it is not the wisest thing to sign it.
- We dont circulate the petition to every member of the political party. A lot of them dont know whats in the petition.
- I think we have a very strong and reasonable point of view. When 4 judges of the Supreme Court go to the press and say democracy is at stake, its unfortunate. On one hand they're saying this (judges) on the other hand Mr Nariman is saying something else.
- When we sit in parliament to judge the impeachment motion we do it in our personal capacity, just like we move it in our personal capacity.
Eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee today welcomed Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, saying he has "rightly applied his mind".
Mr Sorabjee said the Vice President of India has found no merit in the notice given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment and has consulted legal experts before arriving at the decision.
"The Vice President has applied his mind. He has consulted legal experts and has come to a decision. We did not want the matter hanging indefinitely," he said.
"He (Venkaiah Naidu) has gone into the matter and has found no merit in it and no ground for impeachment, therefore, he rejected it," Mr Sorabjee told a TV channel.
When asked about the procedure ahead if the opposition moves the Supreme Court to challenge Venkaiah Naidu's decision, Mr Sorabjee said he did not see the petition succeeding.
"I don't see chances of the writ petition (challenging the VP's decision) succeeding," he said.
Mr Naidu has rejected the impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra, citing lack of substantial merit in it.
"We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action," the Vice President said in his order.
Seven opposition parties led by the Congress had last week moved a notice before him for impeachment of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on five grounds of "misbehavior".
This is the first time ever that an impeachment notice has been filed against a Chief Justice of India.
Leaders of the opposition parties had met Venkaiah Naidu last Friday and handed over the notice of impeachment against the CJI bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members, who recently retired.
The parties had briefed the media after handing over the notice to the Upper House chairman.
(Source: Press Trust of India)
Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra, today initiated court proceedings at 10:45 am instead of the scheduled 10:30 am, amid speculation that they held a brief meeting on the issue of the impeachment notice against the Chief Justice of India.
CJI Dipak Misra, who usually holds his court at 10:30 am, entered the courtroom almost 15 minutes late and started hearing lawyers who wanted their petitions to be listed for urgent mentioning.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was among the first few litigants to mention his petition for urgent hearing.
The Chief Justice of India's courtroom was packed with lawyers including those who had no matters to argue for.
Besides the CJI, all other courts sat late at 10:45 am to undertake today's court proceedings. Speculation was rife among lawyers that judges held a brief, informal meeting before they started today's business.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu today rejected the notice given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment of the CJI, citing lack of substantial merit in it.
Vice President Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts, including former chief justices and judges, before taking the decision, sources said.
The rejection of the notice comes a day after he held the consultations to determine the maintainability of the motion.
(Source: Press Trust of India)
Here are 10 important updates on the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra:
- "We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action," said Mr Naidu, ascribing his quick decision to the severity of the charges directed at the Chief Justice and unnecessary speculation.
- Sources say Mr Naidu consulted legal and constitutional experts till late last evening and also spoke to K Parasaran, who was the attorney general during the Congress governments led by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
- Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra, today initiated court proceedings at 10.45 AM instead of the scheduled 10.30 AM amid speculation that they held a brief meeting on the issue of the impeachment notice against the CJI.
- The 64 Rajya Sabha members who signed the impeachment notice are likely to challenge the rejection in the Supreme Court.
- The Chief Justice of India and other judges were 15 minutes late to court today amid speculation that they met briefly to discuss the impeachment move.
- "Expectedly, Mr Naidu rejected impeachment motion. Unexpectedly, he did so within one day of returning from outstation. Hopefully, the alacrity was not intended to render infructuous calls for CJI to stop administrative work," tweeted Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
- The opposition notice had signatures of 71 lawmakers from seven parties but seven have retired since. Senior Congress leaders like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram did not sign the notice.
- Union Minister Arun Jaitley called the impeachment notice a "revenge petition", accusing the "Congress and its friends" of using as a "political tool" the impeachment notice against the Chief Justice, who retires in six months.
- The Constitution says the Chief Justice of India can be impeached only on grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- The opposition backed its demand listing five grounds, which, the Congress said, equals misbehavior. These included the assigning of sensitive cases to handpicked judges, which was raised publicly in January by four top judges who accused the Chief Justice of abusing his position as "master of the roster". The trigger for their press conference was the Judge BH Loya death case, which was later reassigned.
A move led by the Congress to impeach the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, has been blocked by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who said it "lacked substantial merit". As Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Naidu decided this morning to reject a motion signed by over 60 parliamentarians, which called for Justice Misra's impeachment six months before he retires.
The notice has "virtually no concrete verifiable imputation and doesn't deserve to be admitted", Mr Naidu said in a 10-page order. The Congress' attempt has been criticised by top jurists including Fari Nariman who say that it would set a dangerous precedent - for example, a ruling party or the Opposition could attempt to remove a Chief Justice if it doesn't agree with his decisions or verdicts. Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing cases as usual at the Supreme Court today.
In a signed order which was shared with the media, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu stated: "The allegations emerging from the present case have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of judiciary which is the basic tenet of the Constitution of India."
The order also stated that "Considering the totality of facts, I am of the firm opinion that it is neither legal nor desirable or proper to admit the notice of motion on any of these grounds."
(Photo: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, against whom the Congress and its allies had moved a motion to try and impeach him)
In an interview to NDTV, BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi slammed the Congress' move to try and impeach the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Here is what Ms Lekhi said:
- The Congress is trying to run the government from the corridors of the Supreme Court of India, rather than the Parliament.
- The office of the Vice President of India - by virtue of being the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, exercises decision making. It is not a post office.
- I express gratitude to the Vice President for applying his mind and rightly rejecting the motion to impeach the Chief Justice of India.
Former Speaker of the Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee said, "It is well within the Vice President's power (to reject such a motion - to try and impeach the Chief Justice of India). The Motion has to be approved by both Houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). This was a controversial attempt. The step should not have been taken without support of the majority. Would have been a great set back to the Judiciary, and its respect among the people. Happy that it puts an end to the matter."
In his scathing criticism of the Congress-led motion to try and impeach the Chief Justice of India, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Mishra said, "There couldn't be another decision (of rejection the motion) on this issue. He (Vice President Naidu) applied his mind, consulted legal experts and took the decision thereafter. Think citizens are happy with the decision. Nobody would stop them from moving against the decision but they know the result, no judge, no prudent lawyer would accept their plea. Can a judgement form basis for a motion? Everybody knows there was political intent behind this, with an eye on 2019. Request the Judiciary to not be made a tool for political gains."
Criticizing the Congress-led move to try and impeach the Chief Justice of India, renowned Indian jurist Fali Nariman told NDTV, "Here is a man (CJI Dipak Misra) who is remitting office in October or November. It is most unlikely that the matter (of impeachment) would conclude till then. Therefore the question is, why was the Motion brought in the first place? I can understand if he (CJI Dipak Misra) had years left. I am not thinking about Chief Justice Mishra, I am thinking about the Supreme Court of India. it is the institution that is being denigrated.
Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has been supporting Congress' plea to remove the Chief Justice of India from the high office, made serious allegations against the Vice President of India, saying: "It is astounding that the Vice President has rejected such a serious impeachment motion which carried serious charges. The Vice President has no business to go into the merits of the case, it is for the enquiry committee to decide. This is totally illegal and malafide. It is a political decision taken to protect the Vice President and to even avoid an enquiry into these charges which is what the Constitution requires."
What!! VP Naidu rejects impeachment motion against CJI signed by 64 RS MPs! On what grounds? He has no power to say that charges are not made out. That's for the inquiry committee of 3 judges. He only has to see if it's signed by >50 MPs & possibly if charges are of misbehaviour- Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 23, 2018
BJP leader Vikas Bose also reacted after the motion to impeach the Chief Justice of India was rejected by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Mr Bose said, "The motion has been rightly rejected by the Vice President. Congress is always into negativism. We have no reason to doubt the honesty and integrity of the Chief Justice of India. The Opposition is playing up a non-issue and have the motion passed. The Vice President has sent a clear message, that such negativism and attempt to create confusion would not be accepted."
Reacting to the impeachment motion of against the Chief Justice of India being rejected, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "Judiciary has to be independent. It is a critical part of the Constitution. The Congress can claim no moral ground, they appointed pliant judges. The Judiciary is an institute of eminence, they don't require advocates of political parties to tell them how it should be run."
Reacting to the impeachment motion of against the Chief Justice of India being rejected, Congress leader PL Punia said, "This is a really important matter. We don't know what was the reason for the rejection. Congress and other opposition parties will talk to some legal experts and take the next step."
This is a really important matter. We don't know what was the reason for the rejection. Congress & other opposition parties will talk to some legal experts & take the next step: PL Punia, Congress on rejection of Impeachment Motion notice against CJI Dipak Misra. pic.twitter.com/8YFu1Fq2tC- ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018
According to news agency ANI, Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu said, "I have applied my mind to all 5 charges made out in impeachment motion and have examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in the motion don't make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that the Chief Justice of India on these facts can ever be held guilty of misbehavior."
I have applied my mind to all 5 charges made out in Impeachment Motion&examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in motion don't make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that CJI on these facts can be ever held guilty of misbehavior: Vice President- ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018
Vice President Naidu went on to say, "After having perused annexures to the motion, and having detailed consultations as well as having studied opinions of constitutional experts, I am satisfied that admission of the notice of impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India is neither desirable nor proper."
After having perused annexures to the Motion & having detailed consultations & having studied opinions of constitutional experts I am satisfied that admission of this notice of #ImpeachmentMotion is neither desirable nor proper: Vice President- ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018