Dealing a major blow to the Congress-led opposition, Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the motion seeking the removal of the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. He decided to not consider the opposition’s “impeachment motion” against Justice Misra pointing out that there was lack of substantial merit in it following consultations with legal experts.
"I have applied my mind to all five charges made out in Impeachment Motion&examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in motion don't make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that CJI on these facts can be ever held guilty of misbehavior," the Vice President said.
Naidu had held a series of meeting with the top legal luminaries including Attorney General KK Venugopal and a former Attorney General K Parasaran. Naidu cut short his visit to Hyderabad and returned to New Delhi on Sunday to discuss the unprecedented move by seven opposition parties led by the Congress.
The Vice President also discussed the “impeachment motion” with former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap, former law secretary PK Malhotra and former legislative secretary Sanjay Singh.
The Congress-led opposition had on April 20, 2018 moved a notice before Naidu for Justice Misra’s “impeachment”. The motion was signed by 64 Rajya Sabha MPs and seven members who had retired recently. The motion listed five charges against the CJI.
"The Constitution allows only one recourse to remedy the situation. Since there is no other way to protect the institution except to move an impeachment motion, we, members of the Rajya Sabha, do so with a heavy heart. 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," the notice read. Apart from the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) were backing the notice.
It was the first time ever that a motion to remove the CJI had been moved in the history of India.
While the opposition termed it as an “impeachment motion”, the Constitution of India nowhere mentions impeachment in connection with the judiciary. The term impeachment is used only in relation to the President of India under Article 61 of the Constitution.