New Delhi (Sputnik): Seventy-one Indian parliamentarians belonging to seven opposition parties have moved a notice for initiating impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.
The seven parties included the Indian National Congress (INC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), National Congress Party (NCP), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Misra was appointed in last August and is due to retire in October when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 65.
"We have moved a motion for impeachment against the CJI, on five grounds of misbehavior. According to the Constitution, a minimum of 50 members are required to agree to the motion," Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said in a press conference on Friday noon.
CJI Misra came under a cloud of suspicion in January this year when in an unprecedented move, the four next highest-ranking judges in the Supreme Court criticized his distribution of cases and questioned certain judicial appointments.
"Since Chief Justice Dipak Misra was appointed to the high office, there have been situations when questions have been raised about the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases and taken certain administrative decisions."," Kapil Sibal, another Congress leader said.
The notice for the Chief Justice's impeachment comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya. Congress party believes that circumstances leading to justice Loya's death indicate foul play as he was hearing a case related to an encounter wherein ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah was an accused.
Rahul Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, in a series of tweets expressed his unhappiness over the verdict. "Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP, instinctively understand the truth about Mr. Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him," Rahul Gandhi wrote in one of his tweets.
"There is no hope left, everything is managed," said Judge Loya's family. I want to tell them, there is hope. There is hope because millions of Indians can see the truth. India will not allow Judge Loya to be forgotten," Rahul Gandhi added.
On the other hand, a senior leader of the BJP and the country's finance minister Arun Jaitley accused the opposition of trivializing the provision of impeachment, describing it as ‘a dangerous event'.
"It is a revenge petition after the falsehood of the Congress Party has been established in the Justice Loya death case. It is an attempt to intimidate a Judge and send a message to other Judges, that if you don't agree with us, fifty MP's are enough for a revenge action. The charges read out are issues those which have been settled by judicial orders or by precedent. Some issues are stale, trivial and have nothing to do with judicial functions," Jaitley said.
A Supreme Court judge can be removed for misbehavior or incapacity only by an order of the president after winning a majority in both houses of parliament and after obtaining at least two-thirds of votes from the house members in the same session. The first impeachment motion was moved by Indian parliamentarians in 1993 against Justice V. Ramaswami, a high court judge, for spending extravagantly on his official residence during his tenure as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana during 1990. But the motion failed to secure the required two-thirds majority. Since then, only three impeachment motions- all against high court judges- were moved but none of them able to remove judges as two of judges resigned from the post while one removed the statement from the jjudgment against which the parliamentarians had moved the motion.