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CJI impeachment motion ill-advised, ill-conceived step | Soli Sorabjee

Any political party must accept an unfavourable order gracefully. The removal motion has raised doubts in the minds of people about the judiciary. That is not good for the institution.

opinion Updated: Apr 23, 2018 23:20 IST
Soli Sorabjee
CJI impeachment,Chief Justice of India,Chief Justice of India Congress
Opposition leaders speak to media submitting to the vice president M Venkaiah Naidu a notice seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in New Delhi on Friday.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The removal motion was an ill-advised, ill-conceived step on the part of opposition parties.

The motion was nothing but a move to embarrass and humiliate the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and, indirectly, the government.

Charges against the CJI were based on conjecture and surmise. The charges in the motion used phrases like ‘may be’, ‘appears’ and others. There was not a single thing in the motion which pointed towards an incident of proved misbehaviour on the part of the CJI. Charges must establish an event or incident of proved misbehaviour in the discharge of his duties as a CJI.

Moreover, even the opposition does not have the number either in the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha. The motion was bound to fail. Removal motions have to be based on solid, substantial grounds.

The order of the Vice President is a good one considering he dealt with the issue promptly. He could have sat on it and let the matter linger on. The Vice President has not just applied his mind, but passed an order based on the opinion he took from legal and constitutional experts.

The Vice President has taken a prima facie view that no case of proved misbehaviour is made out against the CJI in the discharge of his duties as the CJI. Prima facie, the Vice President has to be satisfied when allegations are made against individuals in such high positions.

Even if the order of the Vice President is challenged in the court, there is only a very remote chance that it will succeed. Besides, the question of whether the CJI will hear the petition is a hypothetical one. But I believe that the CJI will recuse himself.

Now, this controversy should be put to rest. Any political party must accept an unfavourable order gracefully. The removal motion has raised doubts in the minds of people about the judiciary. That is not good for the institution.

(The author is former Attorney General of India)

(As told to Ashok Bagriya)

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 23:20 IST