Motion to impeach Justice Dinakaran gathers momentum


New Delhi : The move to seek the impeachment of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran has gathered momentum with more than 50 Rajya Sabha members signing a petition seeking his removal.

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This development comes as the Supreme Court panel of five senior-most judges and the union government have tacitly decided not to elevate Justice Dinakaran to the apex court.

Convener R. Vaigai of Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability told IANS Sunday that more than 50 Rajya Sabha members, cutting across party lines, have signed the petition, which will be given to Vice President M. Hamid Ansari to launch proceedings for the removal of Justice Dinakaran.

“The members who signed the impeachment petition belong to various parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Left parties,” Vaigai added.

Asked if he and his group have lent their support to the impeachment move, Communist Party of India (CPI) secretary and Rajya Sabha member D. Raja said, “Yes, yes, we are supporting the move. We have signed the petition.”

Members of the forum indicated that the petition could be handed over to the vice president in a day or two.

The Forum for Judicial Accountability, which is spearheading the move for impeachment of Justice Dinakaran, early this week circulated the petition among members of the Rajya Sabha to get their signatures. The forum earlier sent four representations against Justice Dinakaran to the Supreme Court collegium.

When the apex court collegium and the government dropped the move to elevate Justice Dinakaran to the Supreme Court, the petition was sent to all major political parties by advocate Prashant Bhushant, requesting signatures of their MPs.

A petition seeking to launch impeachment proceeding needs to be signed, under the law, by at least 50 MPs of the Rajya Sabha or 100 MPs of the Lok Sabha. After securing the required signatures, the petition is to be submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman or the Lok Sabha speaker, as the case may be.

Once the Rajya Sabha chairman gets the signed petition, he/she is required to constitute a committee of three people – a sitting Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and a jurist – to inquire into the charges and submit their report to the house.

If they find the judge guilty and recommend his removal, the matter is sent for voting to parliament where it has to be approved by a two-thirds majority of each house (present and voting) and an absolute majority of the total membership of each house.

In the infamous failed impeachment motion in 1993 initiated for removal of Justice V. Ramaswami, a three-member committee of Justice P. Sawant, Justice D. Desai and jurist Chinappa Reddy conducted the probe and indicted the judge for corruption. However, when the matter was put to vote in the Lok Sabha, the Congress party abstained.

Thus, the impeachment motion failed because it did not have the support of the house majority.