From Voice of America:
India’s main opposition parties are seeking to impeach the country’s top judge, accusing him of misuse of authority and acting under government pressure. Opposition leaders presented a notice to the chairman of Parliament’s upper house on Friday seeking an inquiry into Chief Justice Deepak Misra’s conduct, to be followed by a vote on impeachment.
They also accused Misra of providing false information when he bought land before becoming chief justice. Misra did not immediately respond to the opposition accusations. It is the first time that political parties have sought to impeach a chief justice. The chairman of the upper house, Venkaiah Naidu, will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for a vote by lawmakers on Misra’s removal.
Journalist Sunil Prabhu, writing for New Delhi Television, put together a ‘ten point cheat sheet‘ that covers the scandal thus far:
- “The constitution allows only one recourse to remedy the situation. Since there is no other way to protect the institution except to move on impeachment motion, we, members of the Rajya Sabha, do so with a heavy heart,” said the Congress. Seven of the Rajya Sabha members have resigned since the signatures were collected.
- Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s signature is not on the impeachment motion. “We didn’t involve Manmohan Singh intentionally as he is an ex-PM,” said Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
- The Congress emphatically denied the move was linked in any way to the decision of a Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice yesterday that the death of judge BH Loya will not be investigated. Judge Loya was deciding on murder charges against BJP president Amit Shah when he died of a heart attack in 2014.
- The opposition petition lists five “charges” including the assigning of sensitive cases to handpicked judges.
- These allegations were raised in January by four top judges who publicly criticised the Chief Justice and accused him of abusing his position as “master of the roster”. The trigger for their press conference was the judge Loya case, which was later reassigned.
See the rest at New Delhi Television.