Opposition seeks impeachment of Chief Justice

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A decision on the admission of the impeachment notice against the CJI will be taken by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, following legal consultations.

Informed sources said the petition for the impeachment of the Chief Justice has been signed by 64 Rajya Sabha members.

The MPs who signed the notice are from Congress, NCP, CPI (M), CPI, Samajwadi Party, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and NSP.

It is the first time that political parties have sought to impeach a chief justice. Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid was quoted as saying: "Impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with frivolously on the grounds of disagreement with any judgement or point of view of the court". The CBI has registered an FIR and there were many taped conversations between middlemen, which included a retired judge from Odisha high court, where the CJI's name has been mentioned. He is also embroiled in a land allotment case in Odisha where the lease of land allotted to him was cancelled by the state government owing to irregularities in an affidavit. The CJI surrendered the land in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court.

The final charge is about "abuse of exercise of power" by the CJI by "choosing to send" sensitive matters to particular benches only.

"The Congress and other opposition parties levelled false allegations against our leaders but they are getting exposed now", she said. There is no political motivation behind it. It is not a small issue. "We didn't involve Manmohan Singh intentionally, as he is an ex-PM".

The motion will be then debated and the judge (or his representative) will have the right to represent his case. "One can not bring an impeachment motion against a judge because you think he has given a wrong judgment", he said.

Sibal said the charges as stated "suggest conduct unbecoming of a person" holding the office of the Chief Justice of India. "The Constitution has many paths". Based on the committee's recommendation, the Presiding Officer will take a call on admitting the motion.

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An impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha has to be supported by at least 50 MPs of the Upper House, while the number of MPs supporting such a motion in the Lok Sabha should be 100.

CJI Misra came under a cloud of suspicion in January this year when in an unprecedented move, the four next highest-ranking judges in the Supreme Court criticized his distribution of cases and questioned certain judicial appointments. In the Constitution, the proceedings under Article 124 deal with removal of a Supreme Court judge.

"They lamented that their efforts had failed and all four of them were convinced that unless the institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country". The public perception of the judiciary is doubtlessly suffering from the inordinate delays in the administering of justice.

Trinamul, DMK and Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal haven't yet made up their mind, although the Opposition had been working on the impeachment for three to four months.

The second member has to be from High Courts; any Chief Justice or other senior judge from the High Court.

When Arora raised the issue of gagging the media from publishing such public statements, the bench said, "the law is very clear".

"We hope that a thorough enquiry will be held so that truth alone triumphs".

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