Opposition leaders move SC against rejection of impeachment notice against CJI

Congress MPs move SC against dismissal of impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra | PTI

Besides challenging the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairperson, the petition filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes also assails Section 3 (1) of the Judges Inquiry Act insofar as it vests discretion with the Rajya Sabha Chairperson to reject a notice of motion for removal.

Congress MPs from Rajya Sabha- Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik, approached the Supreme Court on Monday challenging Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu's dismissal of the impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.

The MPs also raised their doubts on the consultation process undertaken by the Rajya Sabha speaker saying that the notice of the motion was given on 20 April and it was rejected on 23 April, during which period Naidu was mostly outside Delhi on vice-presidential engagements.

"It involves interpretation of pertinent constitutional provisions", Sibal told Justice Chelameswar.

Today, senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentions the matter before Justice J Chelameswar for urgent listing stating that CJI can't list it nor can decide who will hear this.

"None of the reasons given by the Chairman (Venkaiah Naidu)... carry any weight or are legally tenable".

Naidu had said that his decision conformed with provisions in the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act.

The petition called for a declaration that the Vice President as chairman of the Rajya Sabha can not exercise discretion and that he must set up an inquiry panel under the Judges' Inquiry Act, to probe the allegations against CJI Misra.

The Opposition backed its demand listing five grounds, which, the Congress said, equals misbehaviour.

"In the absence of a full-fledged inquiry, it is not possible to return any findings on the same".

In their joint petition, the MPs said that once a removal motion is signed by the requisite number of MPs the RS chairman has no option but to constitute an inquiry committee to investigate the charges.

On 20 April, as many as 64 MPs belonging to seven political parties, including Congress, NCP, CPM, CPI, SP, BSP and Muslim League, had signed the notice for removal proceedings against Misra.

The petition also questioned Naidu's decision to not "consult the judges of the Supreme Court" while studying the matter and seeking opinions from legal luminaries, constitutional experts, former secretary generals, former law officers, Law Commission members and eminent jurists.

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