Opposition Meets to Discuss Impeachment Motion Against CJI
The Opposition called for a meeting on Friday by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, which comes days after the party had said that the option of moving an impeachment motion against the CJI was still open.
Opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India, and the Nationalist Congress Party reportedly attended the meeting.
Congress leaders had earlier remarked that the issues raised by four senior-most Supreme Court judges have not been addressed yet by the CJI.
During the Budget Session that concluded earlier this month, the Congress had initiated a move collecting more than 50 signatures of Rajya Sabha members in a bid to table the motion, but there were reservations from parties like the Trinamool Congress.
The Congress kept the move on hold, saying it wanted to get as much support as possible from other parties. CJI Misra is scheduled to retire in October 2018.
SC Says MPs' Public Statements on Impeachment Unfortunate
The Supreme Court on Friday, 20 April, termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on impeachment of judges.
“We are all very disturbed about it,” a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said after the counsel appearing for a petitioner raised the issue of politicians making public statements on impeachment of judges.
The apex court asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist it to deal with the plea, which has also sought a gag on the media from reporting such statements.
Opposition Meets Venkaiah Naidu
Opposition leaders led by the Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad arrived at Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s house reportedly to discuss the impeachment motion against the CJI.
The Opposition has reportedly collected 64 signatures of Upper House members for the motion which it may submit to Naidu.
Watch: Congress Addresses Media on Impeachment Motion Against CJI
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that seven Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra. Azad made the announcement in the press conference after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
"71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion (against CJI) but as 7 have retired the number is now 64. We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Hon Chairman will take action." - Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress Leader
Slamming CJI Misra, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the independence of the Judiciary was under “threat”.
"Since CJI office has been taken over by Dipak Misra, the administration of SC has not been in order. This led to the manifestation of the judges holding press conference.The manner in which he (CJI Dipak Misra) has been handling cases has been in question." - Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader " When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the Judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?." - Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader
Read full press statement here.
Did Not Involve Manmohan Singh Intentionally: Sibal
Sibal, in the press conference, also said that the party did not “intentionally” involve former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, amid rumours that he was against the motion.
"It is absolutely false that Manmohan Singh did not sign the Impeachment Motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra." - Kapil Sibal, Congress Leader
Salman Khurshid Opposes Party's Impeachment Move
Senior Congress leader and former law minister Salman Khurshid opposed the party-led impeachment motion.
Speaking to ANI, Khurshid said:
"I don’t think anyone should cast aspersions on the judiciary. Not everyone will agree with the judiciary. The judiciary, in fact, doesn’t agree with itself sometimes. But this is procedure, we should respect it" - Salman Khurshid, Congress Leader "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. I am not party to or privy with discussions that have taken place between different parties. For me to reflect specifically on whether the grounds are justified would be unfair."
On Thursday, 19 April, Khurshid said that people should “respect” the SC’s verdict in the Judge Loya death case, even if they were “disappointed” with the verdict.
Disappointed and Distressed: Soli Sorabjee
Speaking to News18, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said that he was “disappointed and distressed” at the Opposition’s move.
"I am very disappointed and distressed that some members of the Opposition parties want to impeach the Chief Justice. The CJI can be impeached, but on substantial grounds. We will be striking at the very roots of the judiciary if we take this forward." - Soli Sorabjee, Former AG
Arun Jaitley Slams Cong for Using Impeachment as a 'Weapon'
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his blog slammed the Congress for using the impeachment tool as a weapon. In his blog, Jaitley wrote:
"The Congress Party and its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool. "
He further termed the Congress’s move to impeach the CJI as a revenge petition after their ‘falsehoods’ in the Judge Loya case stood exposed.
Impeachment should not be allowed to be used as political tool.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 20, 2018
Meenakshi Lekhi Addresses Press Conference
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi addresses a press conference on Naroda Patiya verdict and the Congress-led opposition's impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India.Posted by The Quint on Friday, April 20, 2018
Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani Terms Impeachment 'Mischievous Propaganda'
In an interview with News 18, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said it was ‘mischievous to name a CJI as a criminal.’
Speaking to the channel, Jethmalani said:
"The persons who have initiated this mischievous propaganda are people who have no knowledge of the law at all. Or, they know the law and they have completed ignored it."
Manmohan Singh Did Not Sign Impeachment Motion: Reports
According to an NDTV report, Manmohan Singh does not feature among the signatories in the petition seeking the CJI’s impeachment.
According to the channel, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that Manmohan was intentionally not involved in the decision, as he is an ex-PM.
Sibal also denied reports stating that Singh had refused to sign the petition.
Impeachment Move Could Have Been Avoided: Cong Leader Ashwani Kumar
Congress leader and former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar expressed his objection to the party’s move against impeachment of CJI Dipak Mishra. Kumar, who is not the only leader within the Congress ranks to express his disagreement, refused to pass any comment on the circumstances that led to it.
The Congress leader who is not a Member of Parliament at present, said he would defied his party even then.
"Would not like to get into the merits of the controversy, I am on a larger principle and the larger principle is that impeachment is the extreme remedy and that to against the chief justice, which is an unprecedented move. This move could have been avoided." - Ashwani Kumar, Congress Leader to ANI
Impeachment Notice Against CJI 'Attack on Judiciary': Vijay Goel
The notice for impeachment of the CJI given by the Congress is an "attack on the judiciary" and is "politically motivated", Union Minister Vijay Goel said on Saturday, 21 April.
Goel said the Congress was in a haste after the Supreme Court's judgment in the Justice Loya case, which was not as per its "wishes".
The opposition gave a notice under a provision of the Constitution, which only talks about removal of judges of the apex court and not impeachment, he claimed.
"According to media reports, the Congress has given a notice under Article 124 (4) (of the Constitution), but under this specific article there is only provision for removal of the Supreme Court judge and not for his impeachment. So, this is likely to be rejected,” the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs said.
VP Venkaiah Naidu Begins Consultation
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, 23 April began consultation process on impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra. As the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Naidu will decide whether the notice will be accepted or rejected.
The VP has spoken to Attorney General KK Venugopal, former Supreme Court judge B Sudershan Reddy, senior officials of the Rajya Sabha secretariat, reported NDTV.
Vice President Rejects Impeachment Motion
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, 23 April rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, moved by the Congress-led Opposition. He said that the five charges laid down by the Opposition, against CJI, were the court’s “internal matter” to resolve.
"I have applied my mind to all five 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." - Vice President Venkaiah Naidu
He said that after consulting various experts, he was “satisfied” that admission of the motion was not desirable or proper.
"We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action," Naidu said, reported PTI.
Naidu Has No Power to Say Charges Not Made Out: Bhushan
Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan questioned the grounds on which the VP Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion.
What!! VP Naidu rejects impeachment motion against CJI signed by 64 RS MPs! On what grounds? He has no power to say that charges are not made out. That's for the inquiry committee of 3 judges. He only has to see if it's signed by >50 MPs & possibly if charges are of misbehaviour— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 23, 2018
Congress Plunged into Ill-Advised Move: RS Sodhi
Retired Justice RS Sodhi, speaking on the rejection of the impeachment notice by the VP Venkaiah Naidu, hit out at the Congress and said:
"You know you don’t have any ground, you know you can’t impeach him. In spite of knowing all that still you go on and plunge into this ill-advised move. This can’t be considered as a wise act: Justice (Retd) RS Sodhi on rejection of Impeachment Notice against CJI by VP Venkaiah Naidu." - RS Sodhi, Retired Justice
Congress Slams Vice President for Rejecting Order
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted that the Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu “does not have the mandate” to decide the merits of the impeachment motion.
Constitutional process of impeachment is set in motion with 50 MP’s giving the motion.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 23, 2018
RS Chairman can’t adjudge the motion, for he has no mandate to decide the merits of the motion.
This is truly a fight between forces ‘Rejecting Democracy’ & voices ‘Rescuing Democracy’.
2/3— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 23, 2018
Within hours of 64 MP’s submitting the impeachment motion, Leader of Rajya Sabha(FM) had expressed naked prejudice by calling it a ‘revenge petition’ virtually dictating the verdict to Rajya Sabha Chairman on that day.
Has ‘Revenge Petition’ now become ‘Rescue Order’?
BJP, Cong Playing "Dirty Politics": Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant, responding to VP Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of impeachment motion, said that both the BJP and Congress were playing “dirty politics”.
"Both the parties are playing dirty politics. The way the impeachment notice was rejected is also political. He (Venkaiah Naidu) could have waited, such hurry in rejection was not needed." - Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena
CJI, Other Judges Sat at 10.45 AM to Undertake Court Proceedings
Supreme Court judges, including CJI Dipak Misra, on Monday, 23 April initiated court proceedings at 10.45 AM instead of the scheduled 10.30 AM amid speculation that they held a brief meeting on the issue of the impeachment notice against the CJI.
CJI Misra, who usually holds his court at 10.30 AM, entered the courtroom almost 15 minutes late and started hearing lawyers who wanted their petitions to be listed for urgent mentioning.
Besides the CJI, all other courts sat late at 10.45 AM to undertake the day’s court proceedings.
VP Has Applied His Mind: Soli Sorabjee
Eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee welcomed Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra, saying he has "rightly applied his mind".
Sorabjee said the vice president found no merit in the notice given by opposition parties, led by the Congress, for impeachment and has consulted legal experts before arriving at the decision, reported PTI.
"The vice president has applied his mind. He has consulted legal experts and has come to a decision. We did not want the matter hanging indefinitely. He (Naidu) has gone into the matter and has found no merit in it and no ground for impeachment, therefore, he rejected it." - Soli Sorabjee, Fomer Attorney General
Rahul Gandhi Breaks Silence on Impeachment Motion
Publicly talking about the impeachment motion against the CJI for the first time, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said, "Judicial institutions are being undermined." He was speaking at the launch of 'Save the Constitution' campaign on Monday in New Delhi.
He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is only interested in himself.
Congress Addresses Press After CJI Impeachment Motion Rejected
Congress Addresses Media After VP Venkaiah Naidu Rejects Impeachment Motion Against CJI Dipak MisraPosted by The Quint on Monday, April 23, 2018
Addressing the media on behalf of the Congress Party, senior leader Kapil Sibal said that the Vice President’s rejection of the impeachment motion was ‘unprecedented and illegal.’
"The rejection is unprecedented, illegal, ill-advised and hasty. Without consulting the concerned judges, it was ill-advised of him to have rejected it. "
Sibal then said that the party will now appeal in the Supreme Court against the Vice President’s rejection of the motion.
Congress Has History of Disrupting Institutions of Democracy: Meenakshi Lekhi
Addressing the media after the Congress delivered a press statement, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi on 23 April alleged that the opposition party had a history of “disrupting institutions of democracy.”
"Congress party has a long history of disrupting institutions of democracy. The rule of law can not be confused with the rule of dynasty. " - Venkaiah Naidu
Naidu's Move Shows Non-Application of Mind: Yechury
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the opposition's impeachment plea of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was done with a "certain degree of non-application of mind".
"I am sorry to say that about the honourable Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha (Naidu), but I think that the methods, that had been very clearly laid down – both in the constitutional procedures and the rules – have not been followed," Yechury told PTI.
He said the presiding officer of either House, in which the impeachment motion has been moved, does not have the discretion to independently decide about the validity of the motion. The motion needs to be referred to a three-member committee, which normally should include a Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and a jurist.
Decision to Reject CJI Impeachment Not Hasty: Naidu
A day after Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the Rajya Sabha chairman clarified that his decision was "timely and not a hasty one". He further added that it came after over a month of due diligence, according to sources.
"Freedom of expression allows that but ultimately truth prevails. I have done the just thing in the best possible manner expected of me. I have done my job and am satisfied with it." - Sources Quoting Naidu
Naidu said his decision was in strict conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968.
The Rajya Sabha chairman's office is not a mere post office but a constitutional functionary, Naidu was quoted as telling a group of 10 Supreme Court lawyers who met him to compliment him over the decision.
According to sources, Naidu said the CJI is the highest judicial functionary of the country and "any issue in public domain concerning him requires to be resolved at the earliest following prescribed procedures so as to prevent the atmosphere from being further vitiated."
Cong Impeachment Notice Against CJI Wrong: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday, 24 April that the Congress was wrong in giving an impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra.
The Trinamoool Congress did not support the impeachment move, she said.
"The Congress wanted us to support it. But we did not," she told News18 Bangla channel. "I told Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi not to go for impeachment."
Suicidal Future Move of the Congress: Jaitley
The Congress' intention to move the SC challenging the rejection of its impeachment motion against the Chief Justice by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, is "a suicidal future move", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
Within hours of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejecting the impeachment motion, moved by Congress and six other parties, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said on Monday that the party would move the SC to challenge the decision.
"A suicidal future move of the Congress", Jaitley said on the party's intention to approach the apex court against Naidu's decision.
The senior BJP leader said in a Facebook post that the Chairman/Speaker of either House of Parliament has the sole discretion whether to admit the motion or to decline to do so.
"The power to admit or to decline a motion is part of the legislative process of Parliament," he said, adding that Parliament is supreme in its own jurisdiction and its process cannot be subjected to judicial review.
A day after Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, the Rajya Sabha chairman clarified that his decision was "timely and not a hasty one". The Congress-led opposition on Monday had said that they will appeal against his decision.
This is the first time in the country's history that an impeachment motion was moved against the CJI, shaking faith in the judiciary.
- Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu alone had powers to accept or reject motion
- Seven Opposition parties submitted a motion to initiate impeachment proceedings against the CJI on Friday, 20 April
- 64 MPs signed the notice to move the motion
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