CJI Misra gets a breather as Venkaiah Naidu quashes Impeachment Motion

Vice President Venkaiyah Naidu has shot down a petition to impeach the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Dipak Misra. Naidu arrived at his decision after reportedly holding detailed consultations with legal big wigs such as Attorney General KK Venugopal, 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.

CJI Dipak Misra
Last week, in an unprecedented move, over 60 Members of Parliament belonging to seven different opposition parties led by the Congress, submitted a written petition to Naidu, who is also Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, demanding the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The move came just the day after the SC dismissed a PIL demanding an SIT probe into the mysterious death of Judge BH Loya. CJI Misra was a member of the three judge bench that dismissed the PIL.
Misra has been in the eye of the storm since January 12, 2018, when in an unprecedented move, four sitting judges of the Supreme Court came out and addressed a press conference alleging nepotism in the apex court. They alleged that the Chief Justice was assigning important and controversial cases only to a select few judges. They feared this cherry picking could have an impact on the judgment in these high profile cases, including the case pertaining to Judge Loya’s death.
But Naidu quashed the impeachment motion stating in his order, “The Honourable Members of Parliament who have presented the petition are unsure of their own case.” He further said, “… the phrases used by the Honourable Members of Parliament themselves indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption. The same certainty does not constitute proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, which is required to make out a case of ‘proved misbehaviour’ under Article 124 (4).” 
According to Article 124 (4) of the Indian Constitution, “A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.”

The entire order may be read here.



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