Impeachment petition listed before five-judge bench

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

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

A constitution bench headed by Supreme Court Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri will hear the Opposition's challenge to the vice-president's decision to reject an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dipak Misra. This in itself, the petition claims, renders Naidu's order untenable. "It deserves to be set aside for being wholly extraneous and ultra vires to the provisions of the Constitution and the Inquiry Act", says the petition.

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

This is the first time that a petition has been filed challenging the rejection of removal motion by Rajya Sabha Chairman. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu could constitute a committee to look into the issue.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman had on April 23 rejected the notice given by Rajya Sabha members of the Congress and six other opposition parties to seek the removal of Chief Justice Misra on grounds of "misbehaviour". He states that there was no substantial merit in it.

The CJI allegedly listed the petition against the Prasad Education Trust before himself, even when he was heading the Constitution bench, which is against the convention.

At court No. 2 Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge of the Supreme Court said that the master of the roster (the chief justice) has the authority to allot a matter.

Sibal argued that since the case involved CJI Misra, he can't set up the panel or hear the plea. I have practised in this court for the last 45 years and the procedure is that whenever there is a petition against the CJI, it is mentioned before the bench headed by the seniormost SC judge.

However after the submissions, justice Chelameswar and justice Kaul went into a huddle and asked Sibal and Bhushan to come Tuesday so they could take a call on the issue. "Accordingly I refuse to admit notice of motion", said Naidu.

He also said that the Parliament was supreme in its own jurisdiction and its process can not be subjected to judicial review and "impeachment" motion was filed on untenable grounds for a collateral goal to intimidate the CJI and other judges. Justice Chelameswar also said he was on the verge of retirement. "If a matter can not be mentioned before the CJI then it is supposed to be heard here".

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. To validate their charge, the MPs who appeared before the apex court today said none among the incumbent top court judges were consulted by Naidu while arriving at his decision.

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