Indian Vice President announces decision on unprecedented petition against Chief Justice impeachment

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NEW DELHI: India’s vice president on Monday rejected an unprecedented petition by seven opposition parties to impeach the top judge for “misbehavior”, saying that the allegations were “neither tenable nor admissible”.

The decision of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who chairs the upper house of parliament, was a relief for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which had called it a “revenge petition” moved in response to a reprieve the ruling party’s chief won from the Supreme Court in another case.

The petition to impeach Chief Justice Dipak Misra for “acts of misbehaviour” and misuse of authority was signed by 64 serving members of the upper house. It had also accused him of arbitrarily using his power to allow sensitive cases and questioned his conduct in the acquisition of land.

“The allegations emerging from the present case have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of judiciary which is the basic tenet of the Constitution of India ,” Naidu said in a signed order shared with journalists.

“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 these grounds.”

Misra came under a cloud in January when the four next highest-ranking judges in the Supreme Court criticized his distribution of cases and raised concerns about judicial appointments.

New Delhi