Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD on Friday said it was not in favour of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
He said while submitting the motion, the opposition party leaders did not discuss its merits but just requested that "this is our motion and the number required is sufficient under the constitution".
While the petition was signed by 64 MPs (71 signatures, of which seven have retired) from seven parties, Azad said it was also on behalf of "parties who have not signed the motion", suggesting that the move had wider backing in the political camp than the thin support indicated on paper.
Jaitley also referred to the averments of four sitting judges of the apex court on Loya's death during their unprecedented press conference in January, saying the quartet had commented on the case without adequate examination of facts.
The motion lists five charges of misbehaviour including an alleged conspiracy to pay illegal gratification in a case relating to an educational trust and the manner in which the CJI had dealt with the case by denying permission to the CBI to register an FIR against a judge of the Allahabad High Court when the CBI shared incriminating information.
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The impeachment motion comes a day after the CJI-led top court bench ruled out an independent inquiry into the death of Justice BH Loya. The political clamour for the Chief Justice's impeachment started afterwards. The Central Bureau of Investigation intercepted various phone calls where the middleman boasted of getting favorable orders from the Supreme Court. It holds that a Supreme Court judge can only be removed from office on the basis of an order of the President after it has been addressed by both Houses of Parliament and supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house, present and voting.
Asked why members of other opposition parties had not signed the motion, former Law Minister Kapil Sibal said the motion was not moved by political parties but by individual members.
Accusing the Congress of interfering with the judicial system, Lekhi reminded them that the model adopted by B R Ambedkar for the Constitution was separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary.
Supreme Court on Friday termed as very unfortunate the public statements, including those made by lawmakers, on impeachment of judges.
Azad said the opposition has more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and asserted that they were sure of the Vice President taking the action. Among the senior Congress leaders whose signatures were not on the petition for the removal of the Chief Justice of India were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and former Union Ministers P Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid.
Observing that some public interest crusaders have graduated into Institution Disruptors, Jaitley said they pick-up even false causes and pursue the falsehood with a "sense of deep commitment, indulge in intimidating advocacy, are shrill with their opposing colleagues, are rude and impolite with the judges". He said, "As such the motion on CJI Dipak Misra has upset people of Orissa. The Judiciary's independence is a constitutional imperative, without which democracy will flounder". There is hope because millions of Indians can see the truth.