Impeachment proposal against CJI Dipak Misra rejected, questions raised on Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu

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Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Speaker M. Venkaiah Naidu dismissed the impeachment proposal, brought by the opposition, against Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra on Monday (23 April). Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan raised questions on Vice-President’s decision. The Congress too condemned Naidu’s decision.

Bhushan’s tweet said, “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 misbehavior.”

Congress party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala expressed his dissatisfaction too. He tweeted, “Constitutional process of impeachment is set in motion with 50 MP’s giving the motion. 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’.”

In a separate tweet, Surjewala wrote, “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’?”

Surjewala wrote in another tweet, “RS Chairman can’t decide on merits in absence of quasi judicial or administrative power (M.Krishna Swami’s case). If all charges were to be proved before inquiry as RS Chairman suggests, Constitution & Judges (Inquiry) Act will have no relevance. Don’t muzzle Constitution.”

Earlier, seven opposition parties (Congress, CPI, CPM, NCP, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Muslim League) had given an impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra on Friday. 71 MPs had signed the proposal. With 7 of the MLAs retired, the signature count came down to 64. The minimum number of signatures for the impeachment proposal should be 50.

At the same time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has described this move of the opposition parties as “scaring judges”.

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