Rajya Sabha Members belonging to seven political parties have signed the notice for initiating impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad confirmed the same at a press conference held by him yesterday. In the history of independent India, it is for the first time that a Chief Justice of India is sought to be impeached by the Parliamentarians.
He is being sought to be removed for the following acts of his misbehaviour-
The facts and circumstances relating to the Prasad Education Trust case, show prima facie evidence suggesting that Chief Justice Dipak Misra may have been involved in the conspiracy of paying illegal gratification in the case, which at least warrants a thorough investigation.
That the Chief Justice Dipak Misra dealt on the administrative as well as judicial side, with a writ petition which sought an investigation into a matter in which he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation since he had presided over every bench which had dealt with this case and passed orders in the case of Prasad Education Trust, and thus violated the first principle of the Code of Conduct for judges.
That the Chief Justice Dipak Misra appears to have antedated an administrative order dated 6thNovember 2017 which amounts to a serious act of forgery/fabrication.
That Chief Justice Dipak Misra acquired land while he was an advocate, by giving an affidavit that was found to be false and despite the orders of the ADM cancelling the allotment in 1985, surrendered the said land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
That Chief Justice Dipak Misra has abused his administrative authority as master of roster to arbitrarily assign individual cases of particular advocates in important politically sensitive cases, to select judges in order to achieve a predetermined outcome
Clause (4) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India reads as follows:
“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.”
Article 218 provides for the applicability of Article 124(4) & (5) on the judges of the High Court. Under the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, a notice for presenting an address to the President for removing a judge has to be signed by 100 members of the Lok Sabha and submitted to the Speaker. A similar notice can also be signed by 50 members of the Rajya Sabha and submitted to the Chairperson of the House. If the Speaker or the Chairperson admits the motion, he or she must appoint a three-member committee comprising the CJI or a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, a sitting Chief Justice of a High Court and an eminent jurist. The committee then takes over and investigates the charges of misbehaviour against the judge. It is only once this committee finds the judge guilty of any charge that either house can pursue the motion.
The motion at the end mentions that the above-mentioned charges against the Chief Justice of India, have brought the judiciary into disrepute and there is sufficient prima facie evidence for initiation of impeachment proceedings against Mr. Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
It will be interesting to see whether the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha will be admitting the motion thereby causing constitution of three-member inquiry committee to inquire into the charges referred in the impeachment motion or he will choose to reject the same.