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Move to Impeach CJI Dipak Misra: Here Are The Five Charges Levelled by Opposition Parties

The charges levelled against Misra include his conduct in the Medical Council of India scam case, his decision as master of the roster and his ownership of a plot of land that he acquired using a “false affidavit.”

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Updated:April 20, 2018, 7:53 PM IST
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Move to Impeach CJI Dipak Misra: Here Are The Five Charges Levelled by Opposition Parties
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
New Delhi: Seven opposition parties led by the Congress laid out five charges against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the impeachment notice submitted to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday. Raising questions about Misra’s conduct, the parties accused him of "misbehaviour" and "misuse" of authority and said that nothing had changed in the three months since four senior judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference in January.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the notice for impeachment had been moved with a heavy heart. "As representatives of the people, we are entitled to hold the Chief Justice accountable, just as we are accountable to the people. The majesty of the law is more important than the majesty of any office," he said.

The notice bears the signatures of 71 MPs, of which 64 are sitting MPs in the Upper House. The MPs who signed the notice belong to the Congress, the NCP, the CPI-M and CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The leaders of these parties earlier met in Parliament and gave the final shape to the notice for impeachment.

The charges levelled against Misra include his conduct in the Medical Council of India scam case, his decision as master of the roster and his ownership of a plot of land that he acquired using a “false affidavit.”

Here are the charges levelled according to the statement issued by Opposition:

1. The first charge levelled against the CJI by the opposition parties is a "conspiracy to pay illegal gratification" in the Prasad Education Trust case and the denial of permission to proceed against a retired high court judge in the same matter.

The original case pertains to a Medical Council of India issue. The MCI had denied permission to Prasad Education Trust, an institution based in Lucknow, to run a medical college. The Trust then moved court and obtained an order in its favour. The CBI raided several people related to the case based on allegations that there was collusion between the Trust and the judiciary.

The impeachment notice says that it on record that the CBI has registered an FIR in the case. “There are several recorded conversations between middlemen, including a retired judge of the Orissa High Court, excerpts of transcripts of which are set out in the articles of charge. References to the Chief Justice by innuendo in these conversations are evident. The denial of permission to the CBI to register an FIR against Justice Narayan Shukla of the Allahabad High Court, when the CBI shared incriminating information with the Chief Justice was itself an act of misbehaviour. All this requires a thorough investigation,” the notice reads.

Impeachment motion

2. The second charge against the CJI is that he listed the petition against the Prasad Education Trust before himself, in which he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation and even when he was heading the Constitution bench. The opposition parties contend that doing so was against the convention.

3. The third allegation is the "serious charge" of "antedating" (backdating) of an order for listing of a petition related to the investigation against the Prasad Education Trust in the Supreme Court.

The impeachment notice submitted to the states that the practice in the Supreme Court is that when the CJI is in a Constitution Bench, and matters are to be listed, requests for listing are made before the first puisne judge.

“On November 9, 2017, when a writ petition was mentioned before Justice Chelameswar at 10:30 AM since the CJI was sitting in a Constitution Bench, the same was directed to be listed later the same day. When the matter was taken up, a note dated November 6, 2017 was placed before the judges hearing the matter by an official of the Registry. This is the basis of the third charge alleging that the note of November 6 brought to the attention of Justice Chelameswar on November 9 as the matter taken up was antedated,” the statement read.

4. The fourth charge pertains to a piece of land which Misra acquired as an advocate by giving a "false affidavit" and the plot was surrendered in 2012 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court, even though orders cancelling the allotment were given in 1985.

5. The fifth charge relates to "the abuse of exercise of power by the Chief Justice in choosing to send sensitive matters to particular benches by misusing his authority as Master of the Roster with the likely intent to influence the outcome". This was also the issue raised by four senior judges of the Supreme Court at an unprecedented press conference in January when they had raised questions about Misra’s conduct.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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