How Venkaiah Naidu has justified rejecting impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra

The Opposition moved the motion after the Supreme Court ruled that there was no need for an independent probe into Judge Loya’s death.
How Venkaiah Naidu has justified rejecting impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra
How Venkaiah Naidu has justified rejecting impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra
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Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, chairman of the Rajya Sabha, on Monday rejected the impeachment motion by the Congress-led Opposition parties against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The motion was rejected on the grounds that the charges were not enough to warrant an impeachment.

The VP, in his order, says that he inspected every statement in the motion passed by the Opposition to see if it would amount to a case of proved misbehaviour within the scope of Article 124 (4) of Constitution of India.

This Article allows a motion to be considered if there is either proved misbehaviour in courts or incapacity. Naidu argued that the motion uses phrases suggesting that the CJI may have been involved in a conspiracy of paying illegal gratification and indicates that the entire motion is based on “mere suspicion, conjecture or assumption”.

“The same certainly does not constitute proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, which is required to make out a case of ‘proved misbehaviour under Article 124 (4). Then conversations between third parties with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, cannot themselves constitute any material evidence against the holder of the office of the CJI’,” the ten-page order reads

He concludes by saying this is an internal matter to be resolved by the SC itself. The allegations are neither tenable nor admissible, and he argued that the case has a serious tendency of undermining the independence of judiciary, a basic tenet of the Constitution of India.

The order also says that “on careful analysis and reflection, I find that there is virtually no concrete, verifiable imputation. Either the allegations are within the judicial domain and concern the internal judicial processes, or there are unsubstantiated surmises and conjectures, which hardly merit or necessitate further investigation.”

He also criticised the Parliamentarians who moved motion, "the act of members discussing the conduct of the CJI in the press is against propreity and decorum as it deliberates the institution of the CJI".

Even though a SC judgement in the M Krishna Swami vs Union of India case, mandates that any decision should be taken after consulting persons like the CJI, Attorney General and the principal advisor of govt. In this case, he didn’t consult the CJI as the motion was against him.

The VP further says that after consulting legal luminaries, Constitutional experts, ex-law officers, law commission members, ex Attorney Generals and a few editors of prominent newspapers, he decided to reject the motion.

This is the first instance where impeachment proceedings were initiated against a Chief Justice in the history of Independent India.

As many as 64 Rajya Sabha MPs had signed a petition to initiate the  impeachment motion on Friday.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar, said there was no merit to the allegations that Judge Loya’s death was suspicious, and said that the statements made by the judicial officers who were at Nagpur with him at the time of his death were clear and consistent.

Other than the Indian National Congress, the Left parties— CPI and CPI(M), Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Muslim League took part in these proceedings.

The charges against Dipak Misra include judicial corruption and not acting upon the allegations brought against him by the four senior judges of the SC among others including abuse of power.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the notice mentions five grounds of misbehaviour for the impeachment: “Since CJI Dipak Misra came (into power), questions have been raised about his conduct. It showed in the January 12 press conference of four judges of Supreme Court. One concern of the four judges was memorandum of procedure was being unsettled.”

Sibal was referring to a press conference called in January by the four most senior SC judges.

In an unprecedented move, four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court - Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Ranjan Gogoi and Kurian Joseph - addressed the media in January, and took on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for the administration of the SC not being 'in order'.

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