File photo of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra given by the Congress-led opposition in the Upper House. Naidu rejected the notice citing lack of substantial merit in it.
Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts before taking the decision, sources said. The rejection of the notice comes a day after he held consultations with experts to determine the maintainability of the motion.
Seven opposition parties led by the Congress had last week moved a notice before him for impeachment of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on five grounds of "misbehaviour". Apart from the Congress, the group consisted of the CPI(M), CPI, NCP, SP, BSP and the Muslim League. The motion was signed by 64 sitting members of the Rajya Sabha.
This is the first time ever that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI.
How is the Chief Justice of India impeached?
The CJI can be impeached like other Supreme Court judges and constitutional positions, in accordance with the steps laid out in Constitution of India. The opposition parties moved the impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution. As per Article 124 (4), "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."
The impeachment motion requires signatures of 100 Lok Sabha MPs and 50 Rajya Sabha MPs it can be introduced in either of the two Houses.
The motion is presented to the Speaker in case it is introduced in Lok Sabha, and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha in case it is given in the Upper House. If the motion is accepted, a committee is formed to investigate the charges levelled against a Supreme Court judge or the CJI. The charges, if found true by the committee in its investigation, will be taken up for discussion in the House where the motion was introduced.
The motion will have to be passed by two-third majority after the discussion it is then presented in the other House where it has to again cross the special majority. Once the motion is successfully passed in both Houses of Parliament, it is sent to the President to remove the Chief Justice of India.