Vice President of India Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has reportedly rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Sources were quoted as saying that the motion, which had been signed by more than 60 Rajya Sabha Members belonging to seven political parties, did not list sufficient grounds warranting impeachment.
The motion was rejected after Mr. Naidu held consultations with several constitutional and legal experts, including Attorney General K.K. Venugopal. He also spoke to former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Mr. Subhash Kashyap, former Law Secretary Mr. P.K. Malhotra, former Legislative Secretary Mr. Sanjay Singh, and senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. In addition, he also seems to have held deliberations with Mr. K. Parasaran, who was the Attorney General during the Congress governments led by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, and was also a member nominated by the party to the Upper House.
The move comes two days after opposition parties met Mr. Naidu at his residence and handed over the motion to him. The parties that signed the notice included Congress, NCP, CPM, CPI, SP, BSP and Muslim League.
Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, along with Congress Leader Mr. Kapil Sibal, Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha member Mr. KTS Tulsi, CPI Leader Mr. D. Raja and Senior leader and media in charge of the Congress Randeep Singh Surjewala had then addressed a press conference explaining their stance.
Mr. Sibal had made reference to the unprecedented press conferenceheld by four senior Judges of the Supreme Court. He was quoted as saying“In their letter, the judges stated that administration of the court has not been proper. They said that time and again, they tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order. They lamented that their efforts had failed and all four of them were convinced that unless the institution is preserved, democracy will not survive…
…We were hoping that the anguish of the judges would be addressed by the Chief Justice and that he would set his house in order. More than 3 months have passed, nothing has changed. The Chief Justice has not asserted the independence of the judiciary in the face of pressure by the executive.”
Mr. Sibal had brought up the medical college bribery case as well, to assert that the first charge relates to the “conspiracy to pay illegal gratifications”. He, in fact, claimed that there exist several taped conversations with the CBI, in which a retired Orissa High Court judge is talking about some deals with other people. This conversation, he said, also mentioned the CJI.
The second charge, he said, related to the CJI’s exercise of administrative and judicial powers. Another charge related to the Chief Justice acquiring land when he was an Advocate.
He had then asserted that “majesty of law is more important than the majesty of any other office”, and added that the “democracy can thrive only when the judiciary stands firm and exercise its powers honestly and independently”.