Opposition bid to impeach CJI Dipak Misra hits Cong roadblock

Opposition bid to impeach CJI Dipak Misra hits Cong roadblock

Opposition attempts to move impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra have fizzled out following a divide within the Congress on supporting the move.

A large section of the Congress, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some lawyer-MPs, struck a note of caution on removing the top judge of the country contending that institutions should be protected.

While Trinamool Congress and the BJD had ruled out support for the move, one of the early signatories to the draft motion had a change of heart and conveyed to the Congress its decision to withdraw from the exercise.

"It is not happening," a senior Congress leader said when asked about the status of the petition for impeachment of the Chief Justice of India.

"We have told them that we will not be a party to the impeachment notice. We have conveyed it to the Congress formally. Anyways, Congress on its own has the requisite number to bring a motion," DMK sources said.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was quoted in a section of the media as saying that the issue of impeachment of CJI was "closed now". However, Kharge clarified on Friday that he had said that the process was never initiated in the Lok Sabha.

As per the Judges Inquiry Act, judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court can be removed through the process of impeachment which has to be initiated by either of the Houses of Parliament.

Support  required

An impeachment petition requires support of at least 50 members if it has to be initiated in the Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, such an initiative requires the support of 100 members.

Asked about the impeachment proceedings, Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha said the issue was being discussed by political parties. "Whenever we reach a decision, we will inform you. It is pointless to discuss if there is no decision or announcement," Sharma said.

The suggestion for impeachment of the CJI was first mooted by CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. The Congress had initially ignored the suggestion, but later  took the initiative to collect signatures in its support from other Opposition parties.

However, the failure to reach a consensus within the party has prompted the Congress to put the issue on the back burner.

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