VICE-PRESIDENT THROWS OUT CHIEF JUSTICE MISRA CORRUPTION CLAIMS
INDIA’S vice-president on Monday (23) threw out an unprecedented bid to impeach the chief justice, rejecting accusations that the top judge in the world’s largest democracy had abused his authority.
Politicians from India’s two biggest parties have clashed over allegations against chief justice Dipak Misra, who is accused by opponents of a range of transgressions including illegally acquiring government land and corruption.
Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu said the claims against the judge led by the opposition Congress party were “neither tenable nor admissable”, quashing the bid.
“I have come to the conclusion that this motion does not deserve to be admitted,” said Naidu, who leads the upper house, in his ruling.
Opposition members last week moved the notice in the upper house to impeach Misra – the first effort in India’s history to depose a sitting chief justice.
It came after four judges in January publicly criticised Misra over the functioning of the top court, including distribution of sensitive cases and appointment of judges. But the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the opposition of mounting a “revenge petition” and playing dirty politics.
Misra has refused requests to defer a controversial case concerning the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a centuries old mosque that was demolished in 1992 by a mob who said it was built on the site of a Hindu temple.
Congress has vowed to appeal the decision by the vice-president, declaring it illegal.
It secured the support of 64 members of the upper house – above the minimum 50 to move a motion – but the vice-president has final say on such motions.
Naidu was a minister in Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) until his appointment as vice-president last year.
Last week a panel of judges led by Misra rejected a plea to investigate the high-profile death of a lower court judge in 2014.
That judge, BH Loya, was presiding over a murder charge levelled at a ruling BJP chief. (AFP)