New Delhi: The opposition parties have moved a notice to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The notice has been signed by 60 lawmakers. Since January, several opposition parties have been pushing for impeachment of Justice Misra. The idea was proposed by the Left Front days after four topmost judges of the Supreme Court 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. The judge BH Loya case, which was initially handed to a judge low in the top court hierarchy, was one of the cases the judges had hinted at. This is for the first time in the country's history that the opposition parties have moved an impeachment motion. Calling the public discussion on impeachment of judges very "unfortunate", the Supreme Court sought law officers' views on banning media from reporting on the impeachment process against CJI Dipak Misra.
Follow live updates on the CJI impeachment motion moved by the opposition parties:
"This is undermining the constitution": Meenakshi Lekhi on impeachment
Attacking he opposing over the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dipak Misra, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said that the opposition was undermining the constitution. "The message is clear: either you pass verdicts according to us or we will move impeachment motions against you. The way these people are criticizing the government is unfortunate. The Congress and some of those standing against the BJP are disrespecting the judiciary over the Loya case. There should be some restraint against it," she said.
Kapil Sibal: "This is no small issue. Like I said, this isn't instant coffee. We deliberately didn't involve Dr Manmohan Singh, as he has been the Prime Minister. We didn't want a few others to be embarrassed as certain matters are pending."
Ghulam Nabi Azad: "We had sought an appointment with Chairman of RS (Rajya Sabha) a week back. Since the honourable Chair was steering N-E states, we couldn't meet him during that period. We were given time today. We political parties, on behalf of seven political parties in RS have signed the motion; and also on behalf of those who didn't sign, met the Chair at 12 pm. We were with him for about 40 mins. Have moved an impeachment motion for removal of CJI under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. We have sought his removal under 270 (read with 124(4)) of the Constitution."
Kapil Sibal: "When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the judiciary's independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?"
Kapil Sibal: "There have been internal grumblings resulting in open discord among members in the Supreme Court. This was manifested when four senior Supreme Court judges held a press conference in January. One of the concerns expressed by the judges was for some time the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order and many things that are not desirable have happened. All four of them were convinced, unless this institution was preserved, democracy will not survive in this country."
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in a press conference said: "... While submitting the motion to the Rajya Sabha chairman, we requested him we have the number required for the motion to be entertained. Under the Constitution of India, the number required for the motion to be entertained is 50 members. So we have submitted a motion signed by 71 members of parliament. We have also given in writing that there are seven signatures of honourable members who in the meanwhile have retired. So we said in the letter that those seven members should not be counted. I am sure that the minimum requirement for the motion to be entertained has been met and sure that chairman will take action."
The court's observation came in response to a petition that sought that the media be stopped from reporting on the issue. The petition was filed by a Pune-based lawyers' organization. The case will be heard next on May 7.
The public discussion on impeachment of judges is very "unfortunate", the Supreme Court said today, seeking the government's top law officer's views on banning media from reporting on the impeachment process against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
"A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session," the article says.
The Article 124 (4) of the Constitution outlines the process of impeachment for the Chief Justice of India on the ground of proven misbehaviour or incapacity.
Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said one cannot bring an impeachment motion against a judge "because you think he has given wrong judgment... Impeachment can be only be on ground of misbehaviour".
The Congress has signalled its disappointment with the verdict that came yesterday in the BH Loya case, which was one of the cases indicated by the dissenting judges of the Supreme Court. The party called it a "sad letter day in India's history" and claiming "there are still questions before those who believe in the judiciary".