*New Delhi: *Moving an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, parliamentarians from seven opposition parties led by the Congress have listed five allegations against the top judge. The motion signed by 71 members of Rajya Sabha has been submitted to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu who is also the chair of the upper house.
The Constitution of India says a Supreme Court judge can be impeached only on the grounds of "proved misbehavior or incapacity".
The motion has been moved on "five grounds of misbehavior", senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told a press conference.
The move, the first in the history of India , had been in the works since January when four senior judges of the Supreme Court went public in an unprecedented press conference, saying that "things are not in order" with what they described as the "administration of the Supreme Court".
"The charges suggest conduct unbecoming of a person holding the office of the Chief Justice of India ," said Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
The first allegation relates to a CBI probe into a medical college scam in Uttar Pradesh involving the Prasad Education Trust. The investigating agency had filed a case against a retired judge of the Orissa High Court and five others in the alleged corruption case. The CBI had sought permission to lodge an FIR against a sitting judge of the Allahabad high court.
"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 misbehavior," said Mr Sibal, a former Law Minister.
Opposition has listed "five grounds of misbehavior" by the Chief Justice of India Listing down its second allegation, the opposition says the Chief Justice dealt on the administrative as well as judicial side link with a petition that sought an investigation into the alleged corruption case in which "he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation".
On November 9, 2017 when the petition was mentioned before Justice Chelameswar, the No. 2 judge in the Supreme Court hierarchy, as the CJI was in a Constitution Bench,it was directed to be listed later the same day. When the matter was taken up, a note dated November 6 was placed before the judges.
The opposition alleges that the note that said that was presented before Justice Chelameswar link was antedated or dated a few days back. "The charge of antedating is by all accounts a very serious charge," said Mr Sibal.
The fourth allegation relates to the Chief Justice having acquired land when he was an advocate by giving an "affidavit which was found to be false". Despite the orders of the ADM cancelling the allotment in 1985, the Chief Justice surrendered the land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court, the opposition alleges.
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.
This allegation is similar to what the four judges had alluded to in their press conference, the immediate trigger being the petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Judge Loya.
Senior jurists say the allegations are untenable.
"You don't move for impeachment against a judge on grounds that are not tenable at all. It causes great harm to the public perception of the judiciary. The impeachment motion is totally ill-conceived," former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee told NDTV.