Impeachment of CJI: Fissures in Congress out in the open?

Impeachment of CJI: Fissures in Congress out in the open?

After submitting the notice to Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu at his residence, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal, flanked by CPI's D Raja and NCP's Vandana Chavan, addressed a news conference at the Constitution Club of India in the national capital. On the same day, a Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan, heard a PIL regarding restraining discussion on the impeachment of the CJI.

"When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the judiciary's independence is under threat and democracy is in peril, alluding to the functioning of the office of the Chief Justice of India, should the nation stand still and do nothing?" he questioned.

It was not hard to collect 50 signatures of the Rajya Sabha or hundred signatures of the Lok Sabha members even on frivolous issues, he said, referring to the 71 MPs who signed the impeachment motion. The grounds on which an impeachment motion can be moved are misbehaviour or incapacity. A senior advocate himself, Kumar told Mirror, "The remedy can not be worse than the malaise". "We may not agree with any particular judgment, but the Constitution does not permit impeachment for any judgment". Other notables who did not sign were former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. "If I would have been a Member of Parliament, and had I been given this paper to sign, I would not have signed the impeachment motion", Kumar told news agency ANI. Several Opposition parties had also supported the motion and were signatories to the petition.

Thirdly, the process shows up cracks not only within the opposition but within the Congress itself.

The FM came down hard on the judges for publicly commenting on an ongoing case without ascertaining facts, and questioning the CJI's role. And when different courts disrupted these attempts, which have all been motivated by political interests, an impeachment motion seriously compromising judicial independence has been moved. Sibal also gave the spin that the Congress move on impeachment was not linked to the Loya order, despite its timing.

According to the provisions in the handbook for Rajya Sabha members, no advance publicity should be given to any notice to be taken up in the House till it is admitted by the chairman. But then why did the Congress wait for 2 weeks to meet RS chairman? However, this logic did not seem to cut much ice with Congress leaders.

There are two reasons why the impeachment motion is the nadir. "The Trimanool Congress, the DMK and the SP did not want to be seen linked with it".

Azad said the opposition has moved the motion under five listed grounds of misbehaviour.

"We wish this day had never come", Sibal said. The BJP feels to expect CJI to withdraw from his duties just because the Opposition has submitted a motion is stretching a little too far.

First of all, the motion is not going to succeed, as the motion can't be passed by the required majority so as to ensure the removal from office of Misra. Why should the CJI not attend to work "asks BJP's Sandeep Mahapatra".

Misra's role in antedating an administrative order to ensure mentioning can be made only in the CJI's court was also under scrutiny as was also an old allegation of surrendering a piece of land, whose allotment was cancelled in 1985, only in 2012 after his elevation to the Apex Court. "It is an attack on Orissa".

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