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Raj Sabha Chairman rejects Impeachment Notice against CJ

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The Impeachment Notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra moved by the Opposition was rejected by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday. He held that it was a case based on suspicion and conjectures.

His ten page order states that the honourable Members of Parliament who have presented the petition are unsure of their own case. The same certainly does not constitute proof 'beyond reasonable doubt', which is required to make out a case of 'proved misbehaviour' under Article 124 of the Constitution.

He cited a Supreme Court order to reiterate that the CJI, as Master of Roster, was entitled to allocate cases as he deemed fit and referred it as an internal matter of the judiciary.

The Order states: "The phrases used by the Hon'ble Members of Parliament themselves indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption. The same certainly does not constitute proof 'beyond reasonable doubt', which is required to make out a case of 'proved misbehaviour'.

The allegations emerging from the present case have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of the judiciary which is the basic tenet of the Constitution of India. Considering the totality of facts, I am of the firm opinion that it is neither legal nor desirable or proper to admit the Notice of Motion on any of one of these grounds.

When the foundation itself is shaken by acts which tend to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of the court by creating distrust in its working, the edifice of the judicial system gets eroded.

If such confidence is shaken or broken, the confidence of the common man in the institution of judiciary and democratic set-up is likely to be eroded, which, if not checked, is sure to be disastrous for the society.

The Hon'ble Members of Parliament who have presented the petition are unsure of their own case. Page 1 of the petition uses phrases such as 'the facts and circumstances relating to the Prasad Education Trust case show prima facie evidence suggesting that the Chief Justice of India 'may have been' involved in a conspiracy of paying illegal gratification. The motion further states with regard to 'the Chief Justice of India that 'he too was likely' to fall within the scope of investigation.

Conversations between third parties with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, cannot themselves constitute any material evidence against the holder of the office of the Chief Justice of India."

In the absence of credible and verifiable information placed before me which gives an indication of 'misbehaviour' or 'incapacity', it would be an inappropriate and irresponsible act to accept statements which have little empirical basis.

We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action. On a careful analysis and reflection, I find that there is virtually no concrete verifiable imputation.

I am of the firm opinion that the Notice of Motion does not deserve to be admitted."

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