Not mandatory to refer impeachment notice to inquiry committee: RS official

Not mandatory to refer impeachment notice to inquiry committee: RS official

The Congress has challenged in the Supreme Court the rejection of its Impeachment Move against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Justice Chelameswar, who represented the four judges in an unprecedented press conference, said they had approached the CJI with a letter but failed to convince him. None of the reasons given by the Chairman in the order carry any weight or are legally tenable.

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

They also sought that Section 3 (1) of the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, insofar it allows the Rajya Sabha Chairman and Lok Sabha Speaker to exercise discretion in accepting or rejecting a notice of motion for the removal of Judge (s) as ultra vires of the Constitution, particularly Article 124 (4) and (5). Vice President Venkaiah Naidu could constitute a committee to look into the issue.

On 24 April, Vice-President Naidu rejected the impeachment notice signed by 71 opposition MPs of the upper house, seven of whom retired last month, against CJI Misra, citing absence of any "proved misbehaviour" or "incapacity" on the part of the senior judge.

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.

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is also one of the signatories of the impeachment notice, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar.

The petition was made in the court of Justice Chelameswar, but as master of the roster, CJI has picked justices Bobde, Sikri, Ramana, Mishra and Goel to hear it. "A person maynot be considered a judge in his own cause", he explained.

Said Sibal to Chelameswar: "I have been in practice for 45 years". But this petition is against the CJI, who can not decide its listing. These included the assigning of sensitive cases to handpicked Judges, which was raised publicly in January by four top Judges who accused the CJI of abusing his position as "master of the roster".

Justice Chelameswar asked Sibal to appear before him at 10.30am Tuesday.

"I am of the view that it is imperative that we should have extraordinary, important and substantial grounds for the removal of a judge", he said.

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".This is the first time that an impeachment notice has been filed against a sitting CJI.

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