New Delhi, April 23: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the Impeachment Notice against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra citing lack of substantial facts.
“I have applied my mind to all 5 charges made out in Impeachment Motion and 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”, stated Naidu.
The Rajya Sabha Chairman came up with the decision after his consultation with legal and parliamentary experts on the impeachment notice.
“… we cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action,” he said in a 10-page order, holding that admission of the notice was “neither desirable nor proper”.
“I am also aware that it is imperative that we should have extraordinary, important and substantial grounds for the removal of a judge,” he stated in the order after holding legal consultations.
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) April 23, 2018
“I have also gone through the comments made by former Attorney General, constitutional experts and editors of prominent newspapers which are unequivocal and nearly unanimous that the present notice of motion before me is not a fir case for removal of judges,” Naidu said in his order.
“I have considered each of the allegations individually as well as collectively in the light of annexures annexed to the notice of the motion but also in the light of cogent, relevant material available in the form of judicial orders passed the apex court of the country. Based on all this, I have come to the conclusion that this motion does not deserve to be admitted.”
Referring to expressions “proved misbehaviour” and “incapacity” used in Article 124 (4) of the Constitution, the order said, “proved misbehaviour was an expression clearly distinguishable from misconduct as was apparent from the language of Article 124”.
The opposition led by the Congress had handed over signatures of 71 lawmakers from seven parties on April 20 under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India.
Here are the five reasons cited by Opposition to move the impeachment motion:
First, the CJI’s behavior in the Prasad Education Trust case was questionable. As the facts and circumstances relating to case show prima facie evidence suggesting that Chief Justice may have been involved in the conspiracy of paying illegal gratification, which at least warrants a thorough investigation.
Second, Chief Justice Dipak Misra dealt, on the administrative as well as judicial side, with a writ petition which sought investigation into a matter in which he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation since he had presided over every bench which had dealt with the case and passed orders in the case of Prasad Educational Trust, and thus violated the first principle of the Code of Conduct for judges.
Thier, CJI appears to have antedated an administrative order dated 6 November 2017, which amounts to a serious act of forgery/fabrication.
Fourth, Misra acquired land when he was an advocate, by giving an affidavit that was found to be false and, despite the orders of the ADM canceling the allotment in 1985, surrendered the said land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
Fifth, the Chief Justice has abused his administrative authority as master of roster to arbitrarily assign individual cases of particular advocates in politically sensitive cases to select judges in order to achieve a predetermined outcome.
According to Article 124 (4), “A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.