New Delhi, Apr 20: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have refrained from signing the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra. For now, there are a total of 71 MPs who have signed the impeachment motion against the CJI. The MPs who signed the motion belong to Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The Congress on Friday moved an impeachment motion against the CJI Misra on “five listed grounds of misbehaviour”. The initiative came a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition for an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of CBI judge BH Loya. “We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. We have sought his removal under Article 217 read with Article 124(4) of the Constitution of India,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after handing over the notice to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

Azad confirmed that a total of 71 MPs had signed the motion but since seven MPs recently retired, the number stands at sixty-four, which was more than the number required to move an impeachment motion.

“Since Chief Justice Dipak Misra was appointed to the high office, there have been situations when questions have been raised about the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases and taken certain administrative decisions,” said Kapil Sibal. He added that the initiative has been taken with a “very heavy heart”. He added that “wish this day had never come in the fabric of our constitutional framework”.

With reference to the questions raised by the four senior-most judges recently on the decisions made by the CJI regarding assigning certain cases, he said that the judiciary’s independence was under threat. “When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the Judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?” he said.

Reacting to the impeachment motion against the CJI, Union Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of using impeachment as a political tool. In a blog titled ‘Judge Loya Death Case – The One That Almost Created a Judicial Mutiny’, the finance minister stated that Amit Shah had nothing to do with the Sohrabuddin Case and Justice Loya had died of “natural causes”.

In January, in an unprecedented move, four senior judges of the Supreme Court — Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph — held a press conference and alleged that things in the apex court administration “are not in order”.

“Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. We tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and remedial measures are necessary. Unfortunately, our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice of India to take steps to protect this institution,” Justice Chelameswar had said.