New DelhiFormer Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram were among those who did not sign the impeachment notice on Friday against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Another dignitory who didn’t sign the notice was senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.
As many as 71 Rajya Sabha MPs from the Congress, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, SP, BSP and the Indian Union Muslim League signed the notice submitted to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, also the Rajya Sabha Chairman, on Friday.
However, with seven signatories having retired recently, 64 sitting MPs effectively backed the motion, for which the minimum number is 50.
The notice moved on Friday was not a united step by the Opposition or even by the Congress. There were divisions within the Congress, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh staying away from the move and senior Supreme Court advocate Salman Khurshid expressing reservations.
The notice was not backed by rival parties like Trinamool, DMK and RJD.
We deliberately kept the former prime minister away, keeping in mind that he held a top constitutional post, Congress veteran Kapil Sibal said.
“The ones who didn’t sign are those that have some case or another going on, so conflict of interest is there.”, he added.
As far as Chidambaram is concerned, the former union minister has court cases against him and his son Karti.
Digvijaya Singh reportedly didn’t sign the notice since he was participating in the Narmada Yatra, according to India Today.
The BJP had on Friday lashed out at the Congress for its move to impeach the chief justice of India, saying it was trying to “demean, degrade and denigrate” the judiciary after its “conspiracies” in the case of judge B H Loya’s death and riot charges against its Gujarat leader Maya Kodnani were exposed.
Although there were claims by the Opposition that the impeachment notice had nothing to do with the Loya case, a link between the two did not appear unlikely in the light of Congress president Rahul Gandhis assurance to Justice Loyas family that the country would not forget his death.
If the motion reaches Parliament, it will be the first instance of a Chief Justice of India facing his removal and the fourth time a judge from the higher judiciary is doing so.
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