Naidu expected to take legal opinion on impeachment motion

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New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The fate of the motion for impeachment of Chief Justice Dipak Misra rests with Rajya Sabha Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is likely to seek legal opinion before accepting or rejecting it.

If the motion is admitted, the law provides for constitution of a three-member committee comprising a Supreme Court judge, Chief Justice of a High Court and a distinguished jurist to look into the complaint.

A judge can be removed from office through a motion adopted by Parliament on grounds of ‘proven misbehaviour or incapacity’. The Constitution provides that a judge can be removed only by an order of the President, based on a motion passed by both Houses of Parliament.

The process for removal of a Supreme Court judge has been mentioned in Article 124 of the Constitution and the procedure has been elaborated in the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968.

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The impeachment motion originates when at least 50 members of Rajya Sabha (100 in the case of Lok Sabha) give a signed notice to the presiding officer. The petition given to Naidu on Friday has been signed by 64 members of the upper house.

If a committee is constituted, it frames charges based on which the investigation will be conducted and a copy of the charges is forwarded to the judge who can present a written defence.

Upon completion of investigation, the committee submits its report to the presiding officer who lays it before the relevant house. If the report records a finding of misbehaviour or incapacity, the motion for removal is taken up for consideration.

The motion for removal is required to be adopted by the both houses of Parliament by a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting.

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If the motion is adopted in both Houses, it is sent to the President who issues order for the removal of the judge.

Congress sources said that if the impeachment notice given by the seven opposition parties on Friday was rejected by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, they can seek a judicial review and the matter then would come up before the senior most judge of the apex court after the CJI.

They also hoped that the Chairman would take a decision on their impeachment motion in a reasonable time.

They noted that court rulings have laid down that decisions in case of anti-defection cases should be taken by the concerned speaker in a reasonable period of time.

They added that the tradition in India is that from the time a motion is moved, the judge must recuse himself from judicial work.

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