Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has withdrawn the petition filed by two Congress Rajya Sabha MP’s in Supreme Court. The petition was filed to challenge Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the motion against CJI Dipak Misra.
The hidden agenda behind bringing the impeachment motion was to pressure CJI Misra to resign. Supreme Court of India is likely to give the judgment on the Ram Mandir dispute before next year’s Lok Sabha Elections. Congress fears that if Supreme Court rules in favour of Ram Mandir, it will prove beneficial for BJP in electoral terms. Since Ram Mandir dispute is such an important case, CJI is very likely to be a part of the bench which gives the verdict. Congress wanted CJI Misra to be removed from Supreme Court before Ram Mandir issue comes before his bench. The interesting thing is that Kapil Sibal is the lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ram Mandir issue. He does not want CJI Misra on the judgment bench of the case. This is why he is using every trick in his bag to oust CJI Misra from Supreme Court.
In a press conference, he said “a judge must recuse from judicial work after an impeachment motion is brought against him”
This shows the real motives behind Congress’ failed impeachment motion despite knowing that it does not have numbers in the parliament. Had the motion been accepted by the Vice president, Congress would have pressured CJI Misra to resign till the proceedings go on as per precedent.
The story goes back to 1993, when for the first time an impeachment motion was brought against any judge of the Supreme Court. V. Ramaswami was facing serious corruption allegations from the opposition which included BJP. An impeachment motion was filed against him. Congress did not want Ramaswami to be impeached, so they deployed Kapil Sibal to defend him. Sibal was able to defend him due to the crucial abstention by Congress MPs in Lok Sabha. On the advice of his advocate Kapil Sibal, V Ramswami had resigned from the Supreme Court the day the impeachment proceedings started.
Kapil Sibal was asked to lead the impeachment motion drive because he has prior experience in a case of such nature. Congress was divided on the issue as senior leaders Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram advised against it. They did not sign an impeachment motion despite being members of Rajya Sabha.
Congress had listed following 5 allegations on CJI Misra to initiate the impeachment motion,
- The illegal gratification towards the Prasad Educational Trust.
- That Chief Justice Dipak Misra dealt, on the administrative as well as judicial side, in the case of Prasad Educational Trust case in which he was likely to fall within the scope of the investigation.
- That Chief Justice Dipak Misra appears to have antedated an administrative order dated 6 November 2017, which amounts to a serious act of forgery/fabrication.
- That Chief Justice Dipak Misra acquired land when he was an advocate, by giving an affidavit that was found to be false and, despite the orders of the ADM canceling the allotment in 1985, surrendered the said land only in 2012 after he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
- That Chief Justice Dipak Misra has abused his administrative authority as master of a roster to arbitrarily assign individual cases of particular advocates in politically sensitive cases to select judges in order to achieve a predetermined outcome.
Congress has a long history of undermining judicial independence. Congress agrees with the judiciary as long as judges are on the same wavelengths as that of the Congress party. This step by Congress to interfere is being criticized by legal luminaries and judges. The failed attempt and lack of support from senior leaders within their own party was highly embarrassing for the Congress. To save face and keeping the upcoming Karnataka elections in mind, Congress has withdrawn the motion.