India’s Congress to move impeachment motion against Chief Justice

A draft proposal for the motion has been circulated by Congress to several opposition parties

New Delhi: Backed by the Left, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and other regional parties, Congress is all set to move the impeachment motion in Parliament against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

According to sources in Congress, the motion proceedings will be initiated in the Parliament in the next few days if the party is able to collect signatures of at least 50 Members of Parliament (MPs).

A draft proposal for the motion has been circulated by Congress to several opposition parties including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Trinamool Congress (TMC).

“Congress being the largest opposition party has little belatedly initiated the proceedings for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India. In the last few days, Congress held several meetings to chalk out a strategy on the motion and reached out to like-minded political parties for support,” NCP leader Majeed Memon told media.

NCP leader DP Tripathi said several opposition parties have already signed the draft proposal of the impeachment motion.

“Many parties like Nationalist Congress Party, Left parties and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress have signed the draft proposal for the motion. We shall move it in the Parliament soon,” Tripathi told Gulf News.

According to the draft, “the proposal deems abuse of authority to arbitrarily assign individual cases to select judges as grounds for moving the impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.”

It accuses Justice Misra of illegal gratification in Prasad Education Trust case, a bribery case in which the institute allegedly gave kickbacks to judicial functionaries for clearance to set up a medical college. “Misra submitted a false affidavit in a land acquisition matter while he was still serving as an advocate,” the draft read.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nalin Kohli said the impeachment motion against Justice Misra is a direct move to politicise judiciary.

“Given the timing of the draft note, the impeachment motion is designed to curtail the Chief Justice’s role in politically-sensitive cases ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It is a direct and ill-conceived move to politicise judiciary,” Kohli told media.

There are two grounds for removal of judges, proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

The Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of Supreme Court, which is applicable to the Chief Justice as well. Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years. He/She can be removed only through a process of impeachment by the Parliament. The Constitution, armed with the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 and the Judges (Inquiry) Rules, 1969 provides for the entire process of Impeachment.

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