Two Congress Rajya Sabha MPs on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the rejection of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, ANI reported. Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik’s petition, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, alleged that Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu’s decision was politically motivated.
On April 20, Opposition parties had submitted a notice to Naidu to initiate impeachment proceedings against Misra under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. The motion was signed by 71 parliamentarians.
On April 23, Naidu had rejected the notice. He said he had considered each of the five allegations against Misra “individually as well as collectively” and concluded that the notice did not “deserve to be admitted”.
The Congress MPs’ petition claims that none of Naidu’s reasons are legally tenable, News18 reported. “The rejection seems to be motivated by political consideration beyond the constitutional scheme which is buttressed by the fact that one of the charges against the chief justice is that he has been partial in assigning political sensitive cases pertaining to the ruling party before particular benches of this honourable court in order to get a predetermined outcome,” the petition said.
The Congress MPs’ petition claimed that once the initiation of removal motion is signed by the requisite number of MPs, the vice president has to constitute an inquiry committee to investigate the allegations against the chief justice of India, ANI reported.
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.
The petition also questioned Naidu’s decision to not “consult the judges of the Supreme Court” while studying the matter and seeking opinions from legal luminaries, constitutional experts, former secretary generals, former law officers, Law Commission members and eminent jurists. “This by itself is a serious infirmity,” claimed the plea.
Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before Justice Chelameshwar, who is the second most-senior judge in the Supreme Court, LiveLaw reported. “We cannot mention this matter before the chief justice of India since it is against the vice president’s order rejecting the impeachment motion against him,” Sibal said while specifying that the petition had to be heard by the senior-most judge.
Chelameshwar asked Sibal to return with the petition on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan deferred a hearing on a petition seeking regulations on media coverage and statements by MPs of the impeachment motion, PTI reported.