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Published On: Mon, Apr 23rd, 2018

Venkaiah Naidu Rejects Impeachment Motion against CJI Dipak Misra

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naidu-2-1524460417NEW DELHI : In a major development, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu rejected Congress-led Oppositions’ notice to impeach Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on Monday morning.Case based on “suspicion and conjectures”
In his 10-page order, Mr. Naidu has dealt with every charge mentioned and claimed that the Opposition MPs were “unsure” of their own case and was based on “suspicion and conjectures.”
“I have applied my mind to all five charges made out in Impeachment Motion and examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in motion don’t make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that CJI on these facts can be ever held guilty of misbehaviour,” said Naidu.
Naidu on Sunday set in motion the process of consultation on the impeachment notice and held discussions with a number of constitutional and legal experts, including Attorney General K K Venugopal, and former top law officer K Parasaran.

In an unprecedented move, leaders of Opposition parties met Naidu on Friday and handed over the notice of impeachment against the CJI bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members, who recently retired. Lawmakers from the Congress, met Mr. Naidu on Friday and handed over a notice for impeachment of the CJI.The CPI, the CPI(M), the NCP, the SP, the BSP and the IUML were the parties that had agreed to the motion.
Mr. Naidu’s order observed, “The Hon’ble Members of Parliament who have presented the petition are unsure of their own case. Page 1 of the petition uses phrases such as ‘the facts and circumstances of the Prasad Education Trust show prima facie evidence suggesting that the Chief Justice of India ‘may have been’ involved in a case of illegal gratification..”
The motion further stated with regard to the CJI that “he too was likely to fall under the scope of investigation.”“It further states that ‘the Chief Justice of India appears to have ante-dated an administrative order.’ I am mentioning this fact because the phrases used by the Hon’ble MPs themselves indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption,” Mr. Naidu’s order said.”The same certainly does notconstitute proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, which is required to make out a case of ‘proved misbehaviour’ under Article 124 of the Constitution.
Conversation between third party with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, cannot themselves constitute any material evidence against the holder of the office of Chief Justice of India,” the order further stated.
Mr. Naidu cited a Supreme Court order to reiterate that the CJI, as Master of Roster, was entitled to allocate cases as he deemed fit and referred it as an internal matter of the judiciary.”
“We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action,” said Mr Naidu, ascribing his quick decision to the severity of the charges directed at the Chief Justice and unnecessary speculation.
Rajya Sabha sources said the Chairman took a quick decision to avoid an “uncomfortable” situation for the occupant of one of the highest constitutional authorities, the Chief Justice of India.
“The Chairman didn’t want the matter to linger on as it involved the prestige and dignity of the CJI’s office. He cut short his tour and came back to Delhi on Sunday to take a quick decision,” said a Rajya Sabha official.
According to sources challenging the Chairman’s order is an option available to the party. And since the Chairman’s order pertains to the CJI, if challenged in the top court, it is likely to be heard by judges who are next in line in terms of seniority and experience.

Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra, today initiated court proceedings at 10.45 AM instead of the scheduled 10.30 AM amid speculation that they held a brief meeting on the issue of the impeachment notice against the CJI. The 63 Rajya Sabha members who signed the impeachment notice are likely to challenge the rejection in the Supreme Cour.
“Expectedly, Mr Naidu rejected impeachment motion. Unexpectedly, he did so within one day of returning from outstation. Hopefully, the alacrity was not intended to render infructuous calls for CJI to stop administrative work,” tweeted Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi. (With Agency Inputs ).

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