Impeachment motion against CJI: Will the opposition script history?

A petitioner had raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges

A petitioner had raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges

The parties, led by Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress party, met the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu, to move this motion on Friday.

After opposition parties moved the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, the Supreme Court while responding on this development said that discussions on impeachment were unfortunate and that it was disturbed over politicians statements against the judiciary.

Political circles were rife that the Congress had planned the move to ensure Chief Justice Dipak Misra doesn't decide the Ram Janmabhoomi case before he retires in October.

Last reports said 64 Rajya Sabha MPs from seven political parties gave the notice for the impeachment against the CJI.

Troubles for Misra, who is due to retire in October at age 65, started in January when four other Supreme Court judges launched a rare public revolt, criticizing his distribution of cases and judicial appointments. "When judges of SC themselves believe independence of the judiciary is under threat and democracy is in peril, should people of the country allow the institution to diminish?"

The apex court said it was "very unfortunate" that despite knowing the law that till a certain point, the issue of impeachment can not be made public, the politicians were holding public discussions.

The legal community seemed divided on the issue.

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).

Apparently, the Congress protagonists in the case have already factored that possibility and are said to be ready to challenge the Chairman's decision (of not accepting the motion) in court. The presiding officer can reject the motion if he is convinced that prima facie, the charges do not constitute the grounds on which impeachment can be sought. Several party leaders feel that the Congress leadership could have shot itself in the foot by dragging in the CJI. The 71 Members of Parliament (MPs) have signed the motion although the required number is 50 MPs.

After that, the Houses will send an address to the President asking that the judge be removed from office. The bench headed by the #CJI dismissed all the petitions and also passed strictures against some of the petitioners.

However, during Friday's hearing, no reference of CJI was made during brief arguments.

"We took upon ourselves to move the impeachment motion in the background set out above but on the basis of charges of acts of misbehaviour that are set out in the impeachment motion".

After a 40-minute-long meeting with Naidu, opposition leaders said they expected positive action from the Rajya Sabha chairman.

No judge in the history of the Republic of India has been impeached, let alone the Chief Justice of India has been impeached so far.

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