The Congress on Friday (April 20) said that they have moved an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra with the support of 64 MPs of the opposition. The Congress leaders, along with the leaders of other opposition parties, met Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu and told him about their decision. To move impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha, support of a minimum 50 MPs is needed. Now, the opposition has the support of 64 MPs, it is up to Naidu to accept or reject the motion.
Before meeting Naidu, the opposition leaders held a meeting of Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss the move.
"We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra..71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion (against CJI) but as 7 have retired the number is now 64. We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Hon Chairman will take action," Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that since the day CJI Misra was appointed, questions were raised about the way he dealt with certain cases.
"We wish this day had never come in the fabric of our constitutional framework," he added.
"When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the Judiciary's independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?" Sibal asked.
On March 28, it was reported that the Congress has circulated a draft proposal for moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra to the other opposition parties. It was then reported that Leaders of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) discussed the possibility of moving an impeachment motion against Misra in Parliament.
As per latest reports, The Trinamool Congress (TMC), a key opposition party, has not signed the motion. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had also backed out of the move.
How is a judge impeached in India?
A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed by an order of the President of India. The order can be issued following an address the Parliament which is supported by a special majority of each house- a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting.
- First, a removal motion has to be supported by 100 members in case of the Lok Sabha and 50 in the Rajya Sabha. The same is to be given to the Speaker of the House and it can be introduced in any of the two Houses.
- It is up to the Speaker/Chairman to admit to rejecting the motion.
- If admitted then a three-member committee is formed to investigate the charges. The Committee will comprise either the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the SC, Chief Justice of a High Court and an eminent jurist.
- If the Committee finds the judge guilty then the House in which the motion was introduced can take up the matter.
- Once the House passes the motion with a special majority, an address is presented to the President of India. The President then passes an order to remove the judge.