2 Rajya Sabha MPs move SC on Misra impeachment issue
07 May 2018
Two Congress members of the Rajya Sabha today moved the Supreme Court challenging Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the removal motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The move comes two weeks after Naidu rejected the impeachment notice against CJI Misra (See: Venkaiah Naidu rejects 'impeachment' notice against CJI)
The MPs, Pratap Singh Bajwa from Punjab and Amee Harshadray Yajnik from Gujarat, said they had challenged the decision because the removal motion was signed by more than 50 MPs as constitutionally required, and yet Naidu rejected it.
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.
The petitioners also cast doubt on the way Naidu handled the whole situation, saying the notice by the opposition MPs was given on 20 April while it was rejected on 24 April, during which period Naidu was mostly outside Delhi on vice-presidential engagements.
Then petitioners sought a direction from the SC to the RS chairman to immediately constitute an inquiry committee under the Judges Inquiry Act to probe the charges against CJI mentioned in the removal motion.
Congress-affiliated lawyers Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan mentioned the petition by the MPs challenging rejection of the removal motion against the CJI before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, who had led the 'rebel' press conference against the CJI on 12 January.
While Justice Chelameswar initially showed reluctance, Sibal and Bhushan insisted that since the CJI as master of roster is disqualified from hearing a petition on his own removal, it needed to be heard and decided by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar.
Sibal said he is not asking for any interim order but seeking listing of the petition before an appropriate bench. The bench of Justice J Chelameswar and S K Kaul said it will pass orders on listing on Tuesday morning.
On April 20, as many as 64 MPs belonging to seven political parties signed the notice for removal proceedings against the CJI. They include MPs from the Congress, the NCP, CPM, the CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Muslim League.
On 24 April, Vice-President Naidu rejected the impeachment notice signed by 71 opposition MPs of the upper house, seven of whom retired last month, against CJI Misra, citing absence of any “proved misbehaviour” or “incapacity” on the part of the senior judge. He ruled in a 10-page order that the grounds were insufficient to admit the petition.
Sibal had earlier termed Naidu’s order as “unprecedented, illegal, ill-advised and hasty” and asserted that the party would challenge it in the Supreme Court.