SC to hear plea against rejection of CJI impeachment notice tomorrow

The petition filed in Supreme Court challenging the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu to reject the notice of motion for removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will be heard by a Constitution Bench of Justices SA Bobde, AK Sikri, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel. Just Ice Sikri, who will venture to the seat, is number six in seniority.

The senior-most judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph - have been kept out of the matter.

In what appeared to be a development related to the listing of the Congress petition before a five-judge bench, it was notified that the Constitution bench in Chief Justice's Court will not sit on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the MPs, had approached the bench of Justice J. Chelameswar, the second senior-most judge, seeking the matter's listing before an appropriate bench.

Advancing his arguments, Sibal said "I am aware of the procedure but it can't be mentioned anywhere else".

"We can not allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action", said Naidu, ascribing his quick decision to the severity of the charges directed at the Chief Justice.

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To Mr Sibal's debate, the judges answered the petition should be consumed before the main Justice, whose function as learn of their roster - the anyone to pick on assigning of cases - had been defined.

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.

"You come back to us tomorrow at 10.30am", Justice Chelameswar told Sibal.

64 lawmakers from seven Opposition parties - including the Congress - submitted the impeachment motion to Vice-President (and Rajya Sabha chairman) Venkaiah Naidu last month. It has also been prayed that Section 3 (1) of the Judges Inquiry Act be read down, and that the Court issued an order directing the Chairman to expeditiously refer the charges highlighted in the motion to an Inquiry Committee. Also, it is the first time ever a removal motion was moved against a CJI that came to be dismissed.

The bench doesn't have any of the four senior most judges who have raised a banner of revolt against the CJI Dipak Misra on the issue of listing of politically sensitive cases before "select" benches.

Arguing that the charges made in the notice of motion were extremely serious, the two MPs sought that their veracity be tested through a full-fledged inquiry and not be adjudicated in "a whimsical manner" as Naidu's order sought to do.

  • Desiree Holland