Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu had on Sunday held consultations after the opposition’s impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra
NEW DELHI: A move led by the Congress to impeach the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, has been blocked by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. As Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Naidu decided this morning to reject a motion signed by over 60 parliamentarians, which called for Justice Misra’s impeachment six months before he retires on five charges. The motion “doesn’t deserve to be admitted”, Mr Naidu said in his 10-page order. The Congress’s attempt has been criticised by top jurists including Fali Nariman, who says that it would set a dangerous precedent — for example, the ruling party could attempt to remove a Chief Justice if it doesn’t agree with his decisions.
Here are the top 10 updates on the impeachment motion against Dipak Misra:
- “We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action,” said Mr Naidu, ascribing his quick decision to the severity of the charges directed at the Chief Justice.
- There were unsubstantiated surmises and conjectures in the opposition’s allegations, Mr Naidu said, taking 72 hours to reject the impeachment notice.
- Sources say Mr Naidu consulted legal and constitutional experts till late last evening and also studied comments from prominent editors and by a former attorney general during Congress governments led by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
- “What was the tearing hurry?… This government is very keen that this must not be allowed to inquire into. Maybe they know what the CBI knows,” said Congress leader Kapil Sibal. “This is unprecedented and completely illegal,” he told NDTV.
- But even within the Congress, two former law ministers did not appear to be in tune with the party line. Ashwini Kumar called Mr Naidu’s order “reasoned”. Salman Khurshid’s response was cautious: “I would imagine everyone needs to be in touch with their own conscience.”
- The 63 Rajya Sabha members who signed the impeachment notice are likely to challenge the rejection in the Supreme Court.
- It’s not clear who would hear such a challenge in the top court. “If a challenge is mounted.. it can’t be rejected by the registry… According to me it should go to judge number six,” said former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
- The Chief Justice and other judges were 15 minutes late to court today amid speculation that they met briefly to discuss the impeachment move.
- The Constitution says the Chief Justice of India can be impeached only on grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- The opposition backed its demand listing five grounds, which, the Congress said, equals misbehaviour. These included the assigning of sensitive cases to handpicked judges, which was raised publicly in January by four top judges who accused the Chief Justice of abusing his position as “master of the roster”. The trigger for their press conference was the judge BH Loya death case, which was later reassigned.