VP rejects Oppn's impeachment motion against Chief Justice

Vice President starts consultation process on 'impeachment' notice against CJI

Vice President starts consultation process on 'impeachment' notice against CJI

Questioned by the opposition over the speed at which he dismissed a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today told a group of lawyers his decision was "not hasty" and came after "over a month of due diligence". He had earlier maintained that it was a "revenge petition" to intimidate the CJI because the Congress is unhappy with the Supreme Court's dismissal of the pleas for an independent probe into the death of CBI Judge BH Loya.

Naidu continued with the deliberations till late on Sunday evening and spoke to K Parasaran, who was the Attorney General during the Congress Governments led by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and was also a member to the Upper House nominated by the party. "So it is illegal because the chairman of the Rajya Sabha has said that we have not been able to prove misbehaviour", he said.

Before taking the decision, Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts, including former Chief Justices and judges. The ill-conceived impeachment motion, moved by the Congress and six other opposition parties, constituted the "blackest possible day" for the judiciary, as eminent jurist Fali Nariman pointed out, and evoked widespread condemnation by several constitutional experts, including Parasaran and Soli Sorabjee.

Moreover, if the "proof beyond reasonable doubt" has to be presented at the stage of presentation of the impeachment motion, the role of the inquiry committee envisaged under the Judges (Inquiry) Act is rendered inconsequential. "Considering the totality of facts, I am of the firm opinion that it is neither legal nor desirable or proper to admit the notice of motion on any of these grounds". Sibal asked. He said the order was ill-advised because the chairman is required to consult the CJI, and as it can't be done in this case because the charges are against the CJI, the chairman was required to consult the members of the collegium.

The decision of the chairman is a big jolt to the Congress and the opposition, seeking removal of the Chief Justice Dipak Misra, following a press conference by four senior most judges of the Supreme Court.

Jaitley said the impeachment motion was also poorly drafted. Assumptions, innuendoes, conjecture and unsubstantiated charges can not become the basis for impeaching Chief Justice of the highest court of the land.

Venkaiah Naidu's image by Geospatial World (IMG_8722) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Gandhi said that institutions such as the Supreme Court, high courts, the Lok Sabha, assemblies and the Election Commission have been built on the basis of the Constitution which has been given to the country by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the Congress.

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