NEW DELHI: A group of MPs from India’s main opposition parties on Friday moved parliament to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for alleged misbehaviour.
Legal sources said Justice Misra has dealt with sensitive cases including alleged corruption involving an unnamed supreme court judge. On Thursday, he foreclosed all options to press for an inquiry into the mysterious death of a junior judge who was supervising a murder case in which Amit Shah, former top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and current head of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was an accused.
Four senior judges of the apex court recently went public against Justice Misra’s decisions to assign crucial cases to junior judges when they should have been handed to the seniors.
Reports said the Congress and six other opposition parties submitted notice for the removal of Justice Misra on five grounds of “misbehaviour,” the first time in the history of India that such a motion has been initiated against the country’s top judge.
Leaders of the opposition parties, led by Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, met Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and handed over the notice signed by 71 members of the Upper House.
While seven members have retired since the time they signed the notice — it has been in the works for several weeks — it still has 64 signatories. The removal motion can be moved even when parliament is not in session, and requires the signature of 50 Rajya Sabha MPs or 100 Lok Sabha members.
Besides the Congress, those who signed the notice include members of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party and the Indian Union Muslim League. Nominated member KTS Tulsi also signed the motion.
No CJI has ever been impeached in India, and any decision on the notice by the Opposition parties against justice Misra is likely to be taken by Mr Naidu following consultations with legal experts, Hindustan Times said.
The removal has been sought under provisions of the Constitution dealing with the appointment and removal of Supreme Court judges.
A message left at the office of the CJI seeking his comment on the opposition parties’ move elicited no response.
“We wish this day had never come…. As representatives of the people, we are entitled to hold the Chief Justice accountable, just as we are accountable to the people. The majesty of the law is more important than the majesty of any office,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters after submitting the notice.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018