Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice-President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha rejects the motion to impeach Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra. The motion was moved by Congress and other political parties alleging Chief Justice of India for illegal gratification.
Facts of the Case
Congress in hands with other political parties has commenced the impeachment process against the CJI Deepak Mishra. The draft petition includes abuse of authority in allocating cases arbitrarily, failure to address issues raised by 4 senior most judges and allegation of illegal gratification in Prasad Education Trust cases amongst other grounds as the grounds for impeachment. The petition has been signed by leaders such as Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad and other leaders from various opposition parties. Vice-President of India however, on Monday refused to admit the motion for the following reasons:
1) No substantial proof to back 5 allegations
Vice-President said that communication with third parties with shaky credentials have been extensively relied upon and there is no substantial proof to support allegations have been brought forward. He further added that “we cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by thought, word or action”
2) Violation of Rajya Sabha Guidelines
It was found that contents of the motion were released in public domain before they were accepted by the Rajya Sabha this amounted to the violation of Parliamentary Rules as clearly written in para 2.2 of the handbook for members of Rajya Sabha.
3) Motion based on suspicion
It is reported that statements in the petition were framed in a manner which only indicated that corruption may be involved. Statements such as Chief Justice of India, that he too was likely to fall within the scope of the investigation, indicate only a mere assumption or a conjecture. The same cannot be said to be beyond a reasonable doubt which is required to make out a case of proven misbehavior under article 124.
4) MPs themselves were unsure of allegations
Chairman said that MPs signing the petition themselves seemed unconfident about the veracity of motion as page 1 of the petition uses the phrase such as the facts and circumstances relating to the Prasad Education Trust case shows prima facie evidence “suggesting” involvement of CJI in a conspiracy of receiving illegal gratification.
5) Allocation of cases an internal matter of Supreme Court
Vice-President said that as far as the question related to allocation of cases is concerned this was an internal matter of the Supreme Court and the same should be resolved by it. Moreover, He also said that allegation emerging from the petition have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of the judiciary which is a basic tenant of Indian constitution
6) No concrete verifiable imputation
Chairman of Rajya Sabha pointed out the fact that, Petition contained a number of unverified charges which need not be investigated. Either the allegations are within judicial domain and concerned with internal judicial processes or they are unsubstantiated surmises and conjectures.
Order discussed the case of Krishna Swami v. Union of India according to which factors to be taken into consideration of this decision includes the seriousness of the imputation, nature, and quality of the record and the indelible chilling effect on the administration of independence of the judiciary. The case also says that before admitting the motion to remove a judge, there shall exist factual foundation.
Congress Leader Kapil Sibal has said that he will move to the Supreme Court against this decision. It should be mentioned so far none of the judges in India has ever been impeached. In spite of the fact that 61 ministers signed the petition motion for impeachment was not admitted by Venkaiah Naidu.