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Venkaiah Naidu begins consultation process on impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra

Vice president and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu cut short his Hyderabad trip to begin the process. Justice Dipak Misra is the first Chief Justice of India against whom a notice of impeachment has been moved.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2018 08:51 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dipak Misra,Impeachment notice,Congress
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is scheduled to hear several key cases in the coming weeks. (PTI)

Rajya Sabha (RS) chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday started the consultation process with legal and parliamentary experts on a notice submitted by Congress and six other opposition parties for a motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, two Parliament officials familiar with the development said.

Vice President Naidu, one of the officials said, spoke to Attorney General KK Venugopal, former attorney general K Parasaran, former Supreme Court judge B Sudarshan Reddy, former law secretary PK Malhotra, former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap, and former legislative secretary Sanjay Singh, among others, as he decides whether to admit or reject the notice given on April 20. It is the first-ever such submitted against a chief justice.

“Considering the urgency of the situation, the RS chairman advanced his return to the Capital from Hyderabad by a day following the unprecedented move by the 64 opposition MPs and seven retired MPs,” a second official said on condition of anonymity.

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Former LS secretary general Subhash Kashyap confirmed the meeting with Naidu but declined to divulge details of what they spoke about. Giving his “personal opinion” on the matter, Kashyap said the notice does not seem to contain any substantial ground to prove that the CJI was involved in “misbehavior” and “misuse of authority” – two of the contentions cited by the Opposition.

“The notice for motion, which makes five allegations against the CJI, as reported in the media, uses words such as ‘likely’, ‘it appears’, ‘it may be…’ which are very vague. There is no prima facie case of misbehaviour to convince the RS chairman that the notice is not politically motivated,” Kashyap said.

The former secretary general added that if such motions are accepted, it will set a bad precedent. “The CJI is the highest judicial authority in the country and RS members should give due respect and maintain the sanctity of such institutions,” he said.

Former legislative department secretary Sanjay Singh also declined to talk about his meeting with the RS chairman.

If Naidu decides to admit the motion, he will have to constitute a three-member inquiry committee comprising a senior judge of the Supreme Court, a high court judge, and an eminent jurist to look into the charges levelled against the CJI.

If the committee in its report concludes that there is a case, the House will take up the motion for discussion and a vote. If both Houses adopt the motion, it is sent to the President, who will issue an order for the removal of the judge.

In six such notices moved for the removal of SC and high court judges till date, four were admitted, and only one was rejected. In one instance, the judge in question – Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta high court – resigned before the Lok Sabha could take up the motion for his removal.

First Published: Apr 22, 2018 21:55 IST