Congress challenges Vice Prez rejection of impeachment move against CJI

Clay Curtis
May 7, 2018

Two Congress Parliamentarians on Monday moved Supreme Court against the rejection of impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. "It deserves to be set aside for being wholly extraneous and ultra vires to the provisions of the Constitution of India and the Inquiry Act", stated the petition filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes.

In their petition before the top court, the Congress Parliamentarians argued that once a requisite number of MPs sign the notice for impeachment, the Vice President can not reject it and has to set up an Inquiry Committee to probe the allegations against the CJI.

The impeachment move has its genesis in the public complaint made by four senior judges of the top court- Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph- that cases with far reaching consequences were assigned to selective judges.

The petitioners, Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Yagnik, in their plea argued that once a removal motion signed by MPs is submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman, he has no option but to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the charges. Both Justice Chelameswar and Justice Kaul went into a huddle and asked Sibal and Bhushan to come today so they could take a call on the issue.

"I am aware of the procedure but it can't be mentioned anywhere else. I am just asking for urgent listing and not seeking any interim relief", ANI quoted Sibal as saying. The CJI can't delegate its master of roster powers to the Registrar. The charges against the CJI included taking a bribe, illegally acquiring land and 'choosing to send sensitive matters to particular benches by misusing his authority '.

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Earlier on April 17, Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu had rejected the notice by Congress-led seven Opposition parties to impeach Chief Justice Misra on five grounds of "misbehaviour" as he said the allegations were neither "tenable nor admissible".

The choice will be "illegal and arbitrary", said the Congress.

Their petition in Supreme Court terms Venkaiah Naidu's order as being "motivated by political consideration beyond the constitutional scheme".

He had also hoped that the Chief Justice would have "nothing to do" with the petition when it would come up for listing in the court. "Accordingly I refuse to admit notice of motion", said Naidu.

The petitioners have sought issuance of directions to the Rajya Sabha chairman to admit the motion and constitute a committee to investigate the grounds on which the removal of CJI Misra is sought.

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