Congress challenges Vice Prez rejection of impeachment move against CJI
Congress challenges Vice Prez rejection of impeachment move against CJI
Governance Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of CJI impeachment motion politically motivated 2 Congress MPs
Maneesh Chhibber 7 May 2018
07 May, 2018, 12:48
Chelameshwar asked Sibal to return with the petition on Tuesday. "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.
Two Congress MPs from Rajya Sabha - Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik filed a petition in the apex court challenging Naidu's decision.
"...it is not the Chairman's prerogative to adjudicate whether there has been any abuse by the Hon'ble CJI of his power as the Master of the Roster".
The petition said the removal was rejected despite "clear, tenable and cogent charges" and the Chairman did not form a three-member inquiry committee as contemplated under Section 3 (2) of the Judges Inquiry Act. He also held deliberations with senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, they said, adding that Naidu also spoke to former Supreme Court judge B Sudarshan Reddy.
The Congress MPs' plea said: "The impugned order proceeds on an erroneous assumption in law that the chairman/speaker, exercises quasi-judicial powers to determine whether to admit or not to admit a notice of motion and whether to constitute the aforesaid committee". The petition said the Rajya Sabha chairperson only holds discretion if the motion does not have the required number of signatures.
It is contended that this provision pertains to the genuineness and authenticity of the signatures to the Notice of Motion, and can not extend to going into the merits of the motion.
Another point made in the petition is that Naidu had quoted extensively on the minority judgment in M Krishna Swami v. Union of India to buttress his point.
"It is unusual that when the motion related to the impeachment of the Chief Justice, the chairman deemed it fit to consult legal luminaries, constitutional experts, former secretary generals, former law officers, Law Commission members and eminent jurists but had not thought it appropriate and fit to consult the judges of the Supreme Court of India".
The appeal says that the Vice-President's decision was "illegal and arbitrary".
It further alleges that the Chairman's order was based on political considerations.
The Congress had also asserted that while the constitutional process of removal is set in motion with 50 MPs giving agreement, the removal notice of the Chief Justice of India was agreed to by as many as 64 MPs.
Seven opposition parties led by the Congress had in April third week moved a notice before the Chairman for impeachment of the CJI on five grounds of "misbehaviour".
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