Who said what on impeachment move against Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra

The Opposition, led by Congress, said parties had to move the removal notice with a “very heavy heart” since Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra had not “asserted the independence of judiciary in the face of interference by the executive”.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2018 21:18 IST
Agencies, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Dipak Misra,CJI Dipak Mishra
A notice to remove Justice Dipak Misra as the Chief Justice of India comes a day after the Supreme Court ruled out any investigation into the death of judge BH Loya who was hearing the alleged Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. (PTI File Photo)

The Congress and six other opposition parties on Friday in an unprecedented decision moved a notice for the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, accusing him of “misbehaviour” and “misusing” authority.

The opposition parties handed over the notice with the signatures of 71 members of the Rajya Sabha to vice-president and Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu.

Naidu will decide whether there is any merit or ground for moving such a motion. He may form a committee to look into it in case he thinks it fit or else he can reject the motion.

No Chief Justice has ever been removed in India.

Here’s what the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said:

Kapil Sibal

The Congress leader said that the notice for the Chief Justice’s removal has been moved with a “heavy heart” as Justice Misra had not “asserted the independence of the judiciary in the face of interference by the executive”.

“We wish this day had never come,” Sibal said during a press conference.

“As representatives of the people, we are entitled to hold the Chief Justice accountable, just as we are accountable to the people. The majesty of the law is more important than the majesty of any office,” he said.

“We hope that a thorough enquiry will be held so that truth alone triumphs. Democracy can thrive only when our judiciary stands firm, independent of the executive, and discharges its constitutional functions honestly, fearless, and with an even hand,” Sibal added.

Ghulam Nabi Azad

“We have moved a motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India under five grounds of misbehaviour,” the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said.

“... While submitting the motion to the Rajya Sabha chairman, we requested him we have the number required for the motion to be entertained ... I am sure that the minimum requirement for the motion to be entertained has been met and sure that chairman will take action,” Nabi was quoted as saying by television news channel NDTV.

Salman Khurshid

The senior Congress leader, however, seemed to disagree with his party colleagues.

“I hope not and believe not… impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with on the grounds of disagreement with any judgment or with any point of view of the court. I am not a party to the discussions that have taken place between the parties therefore for me to say whether the grounds are justified or not would be unfair,” Khurshid was quoted as saying by News18.com.

Arun Jaitley

The Union finance minister said the Congress party and “its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool” in a long post on Facebook.

“It is not difficult to collect fifty signatures of Rajya Sabha or hundred signatures of Lok Sabha members even on frivolous issues. To use the power as intimidatory tactics when neither you have a case of “proven misconduct” or the numbers on your side, is a serious threat to judicial independence,” Jaitley said.

“My preliminary reaction to the impeachment motion filed today is clear. 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,” he added.

“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.”

SC on public debates over impeachments

The Supreme Court said the public discussions and statements, including those made by lawmakers, on the impeachment of judges were “unfortunate” while hearing a petition filed by a Pune-based lawyers’ organisation, which has also sought a gag on the media from reporting such statements.

“We are all very disturbed about it,” a bench comprising justice AK Sikri and justice Ashok Bhushan said.

The top court asked attorney general KK Venugopal to assist it in dealing with the plea and posted the case for hearing on May 7.

(with inputs from PTI)

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 16:33 IST