Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday announced that he would not appear in Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s court from April 23, The Indian Express reported. Sibal’s announcement follows the party’s demand that Misra recuse himself from hearing cases until he is cleared of allegations of misconduct that Opposition parties have levelled against him.
Sibal said the decision was in line with maintaining standards. “I will not appear in the Chief Justice’s court from tomorrow onwards… till he retires, because that is consistent with the highest standards of my profession,” he told the English daily.
On April 20, the Opposition had laid out five charges against Misra, including his conduct in the Medical Council of India bribery case, his role as the “Master of the Roster” at the Supreme Court, and his ownership of a land parcel allegedly based on a false affidavit. The impeachment motion was signed by 71 parliamentarians, seven of whom have retired.
The Congress leader played down the absence of former minister P Chidambaram’s name from the list of signatories. “We did not even ask Mr Chidambaram to sign because there are cases pending and I am there as his counsel,” Sibal said. “In fact, it is a great loss for him [Chidambaram] because I cannot appear anymore in that court.”
Sibal rejected queries that Vice-President and Rajya Sabha chairperson Venkaiah Naidu could dismiss the impeachment motion. “He (Naidu) has no jurisdiction,” Sibal said. “He cannot decide on the merits of the motion. He can only decide on the procedure.” Sibal said Naidu was not a quasi-judicial authority and that the decision to dismiss or admit would be left to the Judges (Inquiry) Committee.
Soon after this report was published, Naidu did reject the impeachment motion.